Manage by stages

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A good way to go about doing any large task or project is to break it up into manageable chunks. In PRINCE2 we refer to these manageable chunks as stages -- actually, they are called Management Stages. A PRINCE2 Project is planned, monitored and controlled on a stage-by-stage basis. These Management Stages are separated by Decision Points (also known as “Control Points”) by the Project Board.

At the end of each stage, the Project Board assesses the performance of the last stage, the Business Case and the plan for next stage, and decides whether to proceed with the next stage. The Project Board has greater control over the project when the number of stages is high, but this also gives them more work. Fewer stages in a project indicate that the Senior Management will have less control and a lesser amount of work for the Project Board.

There are advantages to working in stages, and they provide a good approach to project planning, as they:

  • Allow the project to be divided into a number of manageable chunks.
  • Have a high-level Project Plan for the whole project and a very detailed Stage Plan.
  • Make sure that plans for future stages can learn from previous stages. For example, if one team delivers their products quicker than expected, then this can be taken into account when creating the plan for the next stage.

There are a minimum of two management stages in a project: the Initiation Stage and one further Management Stage. The Closing a Project process is then the last part of the 2nd Stage in a two-stage project. A PRINCE2 project is planned, monitored and controlled on a stage-by-stage basis.

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