In this, the first of a series of blogs on the use of PRINCE2 outside of traditional project management roles, we speak to Dan Verghese, Head of Digital at AXELOS, on how the guidance helps in the management of digital projects.
How have you used PRINCE2 during your career?
I completed my PRINCE2 training early on in my career in digital marketing and, since then, I’ve used the guidance in a variety of ways and across a broad range of roles.
In my previous job I often acted as a Project Manager, responsible for delivering a variety of small to medium-sized digital projects with external agencies. In this position, I worked to a project plan and Project Initiation Documentation (PID), allocated actions and work packages to teams and regularly reported on progress using the PRINCE2 concept of highlight reports. So while not a typical project management role, it’s easy to see how the processes and guidance within PRINCE2 were extremely applicable.
Now I’m Head of Digital within the AXELOS marketing team, overseeing all of the business’ digital communication channels. Today, I act more as a senior user for the business, working specifically alongside dedicated IT project managers to deliver projects.
Are there particular elements of the guidance that you find most useful?
Management by Exception is probably the principle I find most valuable and use most commonly. As my role has developed, I’ve learnt the importance of not bombarding the senior team with too much detail between the difference stages of a project. PRINCE2 guidance gives clarity on handling these exceptions and, in turn, helps ensure projects are delivered as efficiently as possible without governance becoming overly bureaucratic.
I also use the management products within PRINCE2 to apply the best practice guidance on every project. I find the PID template particularly useful as it’s vital to define the business case and key project outcomes early on during the start-up and initiation phases, as well as to agree how success is to be measured. On longer projects, having a PID with a robust business case is especially beneficial and I continually revise and revisit it throughout the lifespan of the project.
As my role includes repeated web development projects, PRINCE2’s Lessons Log is another great resource and helps you to record, reflect on and then take forward thoughts and feedback to the next activity.
Increasingly, my role is encompassing different types of projects, yet the universal nature of PRINCE2 means that I’ve been able to adopt and adapt the guidance and governance structure regardless of whether a waterfall or agile approach is used.
How does PRINCE2 help you to be more effective in your role?
Without PRINCE2 training I think my role, and working within a project team, would be much more challenging. The guidance ensures there’s rigorous project control that reduces risk and keeps you on track to achieve your objectives.
As everyone on my team is PRINCE2 trained too, we speak a common project management language and this ensures there is clarity and creates clear duties and roles. This is especially key in projects involving cross-discipline teams where you have a range of people with different skills and experiences. As everyone is working to the same terminology and processes, it reduces tension and misunderstanding. PRINCE2 is the glue that holds the project team together.
See our PRINCE2 and PRINCE2 Agile® sections for more information about project management.