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Combining The Best of PMBOK® and PRINCE2™

PRINCE2™ needs experience and the depth of PMBOK® to fill it out, so it makes sense to study the PMBOK® and get a PMP. But after Project Managers receive their PMPs, they often ask “Where do I start? How do I put all of this together to actually run a project?” PRINCE2™ becomes useful at this point, because, as a methodology, it can shape and direct that knowledge. Here are a few approaches to getting value out of PRINCE2™. PRINCE2™ was designed in an integrated manner, so a project manager can get the most out of it when it is used in its entirety. But there are elements of PRINCE2™ that can be lifted and applied directly in any project environment. Neither of these approaches requires deviating from a “PMP”or “PMBOK®” environment.

Use it for its unique approaches and insights into project management. Read the PRINCE2™ manual, or read the manual and take a PRINCE2™ course. Get a grasp of how the “package” as a whole works. Focus on the elements that can be most easily transplanted into your current environment. The most straightforward elements are: Product Descriptions, Change Control, Issue Management, Quality Reviews and Work Packages (all discussed under “The Strengths of PRINCE2™”). None of these require “permission” from authorities outside the project, so they are easily implemented by the Project Manager. They can even be used by project teams or in sub-projects. As these approaches and techniques become accepted by stakeholders and others on the project, consider using other aspects of PRINCE2™. Because of PRINCE2™’s integrated approach, if you use most of PRINCE2™’s approach to a specific piece in the first round of implementation, you can add features in almost a plug-and-play manner.Features like Project Boards can be powerful when implemented, but require greater buy-in and commitment from stakeholders to succeed — so put these off until greater interest is shown by management.

Use it as the proven, low-cost basis for your company’s methodology. Get to know PRINCE2™ and consider using it as the core of your company’s new project management approach – perhaps along the lines of “PMBOK® and PRINCE2™ – Together”. Suggest it to management, selling it through its credibility wherever it has been implemented (internationally, including by such organizations as the United Nations Development Programme), and its open (no-fee) availability. Remind management that, when used in an integrated manner, it will support your company’s fulfillment of any future “maturity” plans. Propose that a small group create a prototype project management methodology built around PRINCE2™, to build understanding and to plan out how to integrate it into your organization’s environment. (You can do research on how PRINCE2™ has been used via the website of the accrediting body, the APM Group [].They also have case studies on how to implement it.) Your core group should consider getting themselves accredited in PRINCE2™, so you are all sure your team understands how to use it most effectively. (You will also become the Project Office/resource team for all future work under PRINCE2™.) Remember that you will need to bring pieces of the PMBOK® into this methodology to make it complete, so while you’re learning about PRINCE2™, think forward towards how you will combine the two. PRINCE2™ doesn’t have to be used “as-is” – but understanding how to implement it to cover critical quality areas will help ensure that your company will meet later “maturity” accreditation requirements.

By using the PMBOK® and PRINCE2™ together you are taking advantage of the two most respected project management approaches in the world today, and are getting the best of both!

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