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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.

The purpose of tailoring is to:

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

Simplified PRINCE2

PRINCE2 is designed to support all types of project, which makes it a little too complicated to simple projects. Therefore, you need to simplify it in your tailoring process, when you want to use it in simple projects. There’s an open-source project with this goal: is a minimalist project management method inspired by PRINCE2, the PMBOK® Guide, DSDM, and XP, designed to support simple projects. It can be considered a highly tailored version of PRINCE2, and can be considered an extreme example.

General Approach to Tailoring

There are many who think that they don’t need a project management method because their projects are too small or there is too much overhead in using a method. They don’t realize that they could or rather, should tailor the project method to suit their project and not increase the complexity in their project to suit PRINCE2.

People’s first impression of tailoring is to choose bits from the PRINCE2 method and use them to manage a project; however, these bits become isolated and it is not a PRINCE2 project anymore. The objective is to apply a level of project management that does not overburden the project but provides an appropriate level of control.

If the method is not tailored for a project, then the project is not being run efficiently. This is also known as robotic project management where the method is followed blindly.

Tailoring is about thinking how best to apply the method to a project to get a good balance of project control and low administration. Some of the things you will consider are:

What to change when tailoring

Here is a list of all the major parts of PRINCE2. I will comment on each with regard to what to change when tailoring PRINCE2 to suit the current project:

Level of Experience to Do Tailoring

If you are new to PRINCE2 and project management, then the subject of tailoring can be difficult to understand at first. Just realize that Tailoring does happen. It will become easier to understand as you get more experienced with PRINCE2.

If you already have had the opportunity to work on a project, then a good place to start is by asking what the Project Manager would do different if they were to do the project again.

It becomes much easier to tailor projects for PRINCE2 if you have both good project management and PRINCE2 experience.

discussion icon PRINCE2 wiki is open-source and published for free under a Creative Commons license.

discussion icon Written by Frank Turley (his LinkedIn profile)