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Author  Dr. Andrew Schuster, Partner – Transformation Risk and Advisory, PwC Canada and contributor to PRINCE2 7

Transformation Risk and Advisory, PwC

November 2, 2023 |

 8 min read

  • Blog

The topic of project management – and the evolution of best practice methods, such as PRINCE2 7 – is crucial to the success of organizations.

While the delivery of projects remains less successful than it should, professionals and the companies they work for need to consider what they can do to become better.

Organizations aspiring to deliver projects will need a) best practice knowledge, b) specialist practitioners capable of applying it and c) vital lessons learned from doing so. PRINCE2 7 matters, as it plays an essential role in delivering all three aspects.

The project management challenge

I work with organizations in the UK and internationally – including USA, Canada and other countries in Europe – which are investing in organizational transformation. They face the perennial challenges associated with successfully delivering projects in complex environments and, often, have never delivered projects of the nature and scale required now. And these projects are fraught with danger and unforeseen risks.

Many organizations have some form of project management understanding. However, if it is based on historical methodologies that focus simplistically on project inputs and outputs and scheduling tasks, they falter.

A broader organizational and managerial approach is required: one that considers the foundational governance, processes, skills, and knowledge required to operate in an integrated way within a complex, enterprise-wide context.

And this leads some organizations to recognize the limitations of their established project and programme management approaches. Therefore, when they are looking elsewhere for best practice guidance I point them to reputable and mature approaches such as Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) and PRINCE2.

My experience with PRINCE2 then and now…

When I first trained and certified in PRINCE2 18 years ago, the project and management profession was more nascent than it is now. There were fewer university degrees, the current project management apprenticeship framework didn’t exist and the UK Government had yet to develop project management as a recognized professional category alongside others, such as financial management.

I chose to become PRINCE2-certified and it has served my needs well; developed by active, specialist practitioners who captured best practice knowledge and the lessons from applying it .

Since then, the project management research and practitioner communities have evolved their understanding of best practices associated with project management.

In parallel, PRINCE2 has evolved. With each version, the guidance absorbed lessons learned and emergent research resulting in new concepts and ways of describing best practices. Today, PRINCE2 7 retains the strengths of previous versions, while emphasizing the importance of having integrated elements for project management including principles, people, practices, processes, and the project context.

In turn, the connection between PRINCE2 training courses and the core guidance is much better, taking it beyond people just passing an exam to help them deploy the method in practice. It’s less about the process of project management and more about the approaches and dynamics of operating a project in a wider context.

For professionals who are new to the concepts, it offers a resource and point of reference they can return to repeatedly, which is a positive thing. Importantly, it maps out a journey rather than a singular event.

This is also reflected in the way PRINCE2 7 learning should be embedded within people and organizations via ongoing CPD and recertification, which places it firmly in the field of professional skills development.

PRINCE2 7 knowledge at PwC

As a partner and team leader at PwC, renewing my PRINCE2 certification is both a recognition of my professional project management achievements and a way of demonstrating competency in best practice approaches and the ability to apply them.

As more of my fellow team members undertake PRINCE2 7 training, I am confident that we will be developing a common way of thinking, founded on best practice, that our clients will value.