Tailor to suit the project environment

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A PRINCE2 project should be tailored to suit the project’s size, environment, complexity, importance, capability and risk. If your project is a small one, such as to host a workshop with 10 people, or a very large one, like building a nuclear power plant, then you should tailor PRINCE2 to suit the project, as PRINCE2 can be applied to any type of project.

One criticism most project managers often get is that, “We don’t need a Project Method. Our projects are not that big and a project method will add a lot of unnecessary paperwork to each project.” This would happen if you try to follow PRINCE2 like a robot, but that is not the way to use PRINCE2. I often use the popular TV program, The Apprentice, as an example. This is usually a 2 day project, where 2 teams compete with each other and each team has a Project Manager. You can see that PRINCE2 can be used by each Project Manager and the paperwork can be just a checklist with some notes. You can also see that most Project Managers keep making the same mistakes week after week. This shows that they don’t understand the principle of Learn from Experience or Lessons Learned.

The purpose of tailoring is to:

  • Ensure that the Project Method relates to the project’s environment (i.e. if working in a financial environment, then align it with the existing management structure).
  • Ensure that the project’s controls are based on the project’s scale, complexity, importance, capability and risk. (Note: If there is a lot of risk in your project environment, then more time should be spent on dealing with Risk).

The Project Initiation Documentation (PID) should describe how the PRINCE2 method is tailored for that particular project.