Rameez Chikhalia, Commercial Analyst at AXELOS describes how PRINCE2 can help finance teams improve communication and collaborative working.
What’s your role within the Finance team?
I work in the Finance team at AXELOS, providing support in two key areas. Initially, my main responsibility was assisting with the company’s month-end process but I now provide business intelligence support too. This involves working with various departments within the business – from Sales and Marketing to Publishing – to analyze the data we receive and hold as a company.
How have you adopted and adapted PRINCE2 for your role?
In July 2015, I completed my PRINCE2 training and did Foundation and Practitioner accreditations in an intensive week-long course.
As you might expect, roles in finance are quite fixed and distinct; so to apply the principles of PRINCE2 I’ve broken my day-to-day responsibilities down into tasks that I view as a single project.
With the month-end, for example, there are certain deliverables that need to be completed by a certain date and then reporting that goes along with each deliverable. I’ve used these points to create different stage boundaries and apply the theory of PRINCE2.
While I’m yet to complete my formal PRINCE2 Agile® training, I’ve started to use some of the Agile methodologies too as I think the approach is very suited to finance.
For example, it’s encouraged me to look at tasks from the users’ point of view. For instance, if a user asks for data on publishing performance, I’ll work with that user to understand their requirements and then explore what data is available to meet their needs. I then go back to the user and check what I’ve provided is useful to them and then tailor the information to give more specific detail. If you break down the task like that it’s easy to see how PRINCE2 is really applicable.
Are there particular elements of the guidance that you find most useful?
There are two specific aspects that are really valuable: first, the Lessons Learned Log. Finance comprises many repetitive monthly tasks, so it’s useful to be able to review the success of what’s gone before and improve each time. It also means that any of the team can pick up a task and see how to deliver it most successfully.
I also find the reporting aspects in PRINCE2 very valuable. In terms of structure, we think of our Head of Finance as the “project board”, with a manager and me delivering the task. I work with my manager to ensure there’s clear and constant communication between us and also help identify contingencies and exceptions that the project board needs to know. The guidance and templates are useful too in creating this reporting structure and then implementing it in practice.
How does PRINCE2 help you to be more effective in your role and work within a team?
PRINCE2 helps the finance team be a smooth “cog” in the system. As two-thirds of us are PRINCE2 trained, it helps us work together and be more effective at what we do.
But as well as benefiting our team, PRINCE2 helps us understand the rest of the business much better. We work with a lot of departments, so having the commonality of PRINCE2 means we can understand how the finance team needs to contribute to the bigger picture. It stops us from working in silos and improves communication.
See our PRINCE2 and PRINCE2 Agile sections for more information about project management.
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