PRINCE2® 2017 Update: Developing best practice for today’s challenging working world

Project team sat round a desk discussing their work

The 2017 update to PRINCE2 has brought the best practice guidance up-to-date with new ways of working and thinking.

Paul BradleyRemaining current is, I believe, critical for something that has grown and become the industry standard through its flexibility and suitability to any project and industry.

Since SPOCE delivered the world’s first PRINCE2 course in 1997, the guidance has developed while maintaining its core principles of “who, what, why and when” while keeping its distance from “how” you should use it. Yes, we all need processes to assess the possible threats to our projects and have plans in place, but how we do things will differ.

By following PRINCE2’s 7 themes and 7 processes you will, in almost every case, have honoured its 7 principles. And that means you are effectively PRINCE2 “compliant”.

That core of PRINCE2 remains the same in the 2017 update. However, it’s become better still.

PRINCE2 for a changing workplace

That project managers at a base level need to coordinate plans and resources while watching risks and issues isn’t new. However, in today’s working environment, they need to be aware also of what development teams are doing, how product resources work and the impact of agile methods focused on releasing outputs much more quickly.

Businesses need to see more rapid results and the PRINCE2 2017 Update recognizes that project management needs better understanding of other project and product delivery approaches and advice on how to work with them.

Therefore, the update offers much more in terms of practical guidance, hints and tips to help project managers use the method to best effect. Now it’s even more about taking a step back, looking at the method and seeing how it should be tailored to projects. That means following the principles but making the themes and processes work for you in your particular project and organization.

The tailoring principle in PRINCE2 is now more than a chapter near the end of the book: instead, it’s now threaded through each of the chapters, allowing practitioners to scale up or down any element of the method as appropriate. Also, the update offers new advice on projects within a programme environment. In this scenario, project managers can’t be focused solely on their own projects; they need to know what development teams are doing, what the programme is doing and the impact of their project on other change initiatives.

The new PRINCE2 provides practitioners with a much wider view of what’s going on around them while ensuring that the guidance is not used prescriptively. For example, in a mature organizational environment, you can combine PRINCE2 with the project approaches and terminology already used in your organization.

The view from the frontline

We’ve been involved with AXELOS in helping the project management community to understand the changes to PRINCE2 in a series of “Ready for Change” roadshows and I’ve observed some common themes: 90% of people attending the events are already PRINCE2-certified, so it’s encouraging to see their ongoing interest in remaining current. However, only about five per cent of people have re-certified, which suggests more of them need to commit to keeping their knowledge and skills formally aligned with market trends.

As an industry, we need to be conducting professional development more frequently, especially with the coming of Chartered status in project management.

But, equally, our industry has almost completed the shift from the persona of the “accidental project manager” to the full professionalization of project management. This is not only right but absolutely essential: with 10-15% of budgets allocated to the management of a project, the distinct separation of project management from development is reaching a new level of maturity, supported by methods such as PRINCE2.

So, in 2017, PRINCE2 has received the update it needed to continue the impetus and focus on developing best practice for today’s challenging and complex working world.

See our PRINCE2 and PRINCE2 2017 sections for more information.

Read more blog posts on the PRINCE2 2017 Update

PRINCE2® 2017 Update: balancing minimum requirements and tailoring

PRINCE2 2017 Update: bringing structure to project management

PRINCE2 2017 Update: tailoring to any project

PRINCE2® 2017 Update: a good thing gets better

PRINCE2® 2017 update: an investment in you

PRINCE2® 2017 Update: aligning PRINCE2 with other best practice

PRINCE2® 2017 Update – tailoring project management for your organization

PRINCE2® 2017 Update – tailoring gets better results

PRINCE2® 2017 Update: making it easier to adopt PRINCE2

First impressions of PRINCE2® 2017

PRINCE2® 2017 Update – Training the Trainers

PRINCE2 2017 Update - right thing, right place, right time

PRINCE2 2017 – tailored for a changing project management world

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PRINCE2 2017 Core Publication

Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2 2017 Edition

Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2 2017 Edition

Our updated project management guidance places a new emphasis on the flexibility of the method and how to tailor it to your specific projects.

Buy the PRINCE2 guide >