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Common myths about PRINCE2

Myth: PRINCE2 is just “waterfall” by any other name

While a PRINCE2 project may be using a waterfall-based plan, that does not mean the whole project is running as waterfall. PRINCE2 is a framework for putting in place a series of processes to manage and deliver a project successfully. The answer is in the name “PRINCE2” (PRojects IN Controlled Environments). PRINCE2 is a de facto standard implemented by the UK Government and is widely recognised throughout the world. This standard of project delivery is practised in the private sector around the globe, not just the UK.

Myth: PRINCE2 is a document-driven, inflexible and bureaucratic project management framework

PRINCE2 is a framework that allows you to take the core governance pieces and still manage a project. It is only document-driven or paper-heavy if the project team make it so. For example, a simple in-scope/out-out document written in bullet fashion is easier to understand, follow and track than reams of waffle. The critical point to understand is that structured project management gives direction to a project setting distinct steps making it logical and organised; PRINCE2 is the written description of this approach.

Myth: PRINCE2 is for IT projects, generally within the UK Government

This myth or rather, misconception, is assumed to have arisen from the method’s original manifestation as a framework developed by the UK Government’s Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency during the late 1980s. This was called ‘Projects in Controlled Environments’ (PRINCE) and yes was started to support the UK government’s IT projects, but the current version, PRINCE2 can do so much more than just IT. Globally PRINCE2 is acknowledged as a ‘best practice’ project management method, having helped an incredibly varied range of businesses and organisations to manage their projects successfully. In 2017 the latest revision of the PRINCE2 manual was released, that provides additional guidance for tailoring PRINCE2 to suit different environments.

Myth: You can’t mix the best bits of PRINCE2 and run Agile at the same time

The short answer to this is “yes you can!”  This is one reason why AXELOS developed PRINCE2 Agile® – see here for more information.

Myth: PRINCE2 is a piece of software

There is no software solution called “PRINCE2”. It is a standardised PM methodology and framework to assist with delivering projects successfully.

Of course, you can use project management software like Microsoft Project, to aid you with areas as planning, a facet of any project. By the way, the latest version on Microsoft Project does more than Gantt charts, take a look you will be surprised what it can do regardless of what method you are using.

Myth: Agile is better, PRINCE2 is old fashioned

There is no one programme/project methodology that is superior to another. They all have their own strength and weakness. The key is knowing which one is going to best suit a particular piece of delivery and give the best outcome.

The comment that it is old-fashioned could be attributed to the fact that it has been around a long time, a testament to its strength! The PRINCE2 framework has been updated to take into account more agile ways of delivery while maintaining the core of this robust methodology – see PRINCE2 Agile®