PRINCE2® Agile Courses

Can you mix PRINCE2 with Agile? In the real world few projects do not involve some blending of project methods and philosophies to produce a solution which is right for a given set of circumstances.

In recognition of this the organisation behind PRINCE2 (Axelos) has published a set of best practice guidance. Regular accredited courses are also available. If you come from a PRINCE2 background you will find the insights in PRINCE2 Agile help show how blending can be implemented – without compromising the best features of each.

The 3 day PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner course explains how to tailor PRINCE2 to work in the best way possible in an agile context. It looks at how to weave the principles, processes and themes of PRINCE2 with many of the common ways of working in an agile way. It examines how to configure PRINCE2 when in different situations and how to incorporate the agile frameworks, behaviours, concepts and techniques in the best way possible to increase the chances of successful project delivery.

You need to be a PRINCE2 Practitioner to take the course and in fact there is very little time spent on recapping PRINCE2 so those with out of date knowledge or gaps in understanding will be at a disadvantage.

The PRINCE2 Agile manual is over 300 pages long and provides a valuable overview of Agile and Scrum topics. We cannot do justice to it here other than sample a few salient extracts.

What to Fix and What to Flex?
PRINCE2 Agile is built on the concept of prioritising what is delivered. In PRINCE2 language this means applying flexible tolerances to the quality criteria and the scope of deliverables. The tolerances for time and cost however are fixed.

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The reason for this is that Agile accepts that change is inevitable. There must be a response and this must be in a controlled way which protects the level of quality and does not compromise deadlines.

PRINCE2 Agile Behaviours
PRINCE2 incorporates a lot of definition of structured processes – each with its own set of inputs and outputs. PRINCE2 Agile adds a greater emphasis on behaviours.

Transparency
Share information; make it visible; encourage openness

Collaboration
Motivated and empowered teams working closely together, and with the customer

Rich Communication
All means of communication are not equal. Keep face to face where possible but use a blended approach – each form of communication has its merits.

Self-Organisation
Scrum teams often have a real “buzz” and it has a lot to do with being trusted to deliver with minimum external control

Exploration
Learn from frequent iteration and feedback

ScrumMaster and Project Manager Roles
Common Agile guidance does not have a project manager role. “Agile delivery teams should be led and coached as opposed to managed”. In practice there is always some degree of management structure and PRINCE2 Agile suggests options for integrating the Agile and PRINCE2 roles. For instance, if the Team Manager is highly collaborative and facilitates self organisation of the team he or she may be embedded within the Agile product delivery team.

Planning
Both PRINCE2 and Agile place emphasis on planning – they have many similarities but they also support different perspectives and time horizons.

Agile planning is often steered by experience or empiricism and is at the product delivery level where a series of Sprints predominate. Concepts such as “velocity” provide guidance as to rate of progress. This concept of empirical or emergent planning fits less well with a traditional mentality where a project plan with fully defined end date is the norm.

PRINCE2 is built to support any approach to a project and the tailoring of PRINCE2 Agile allows it to embrace the delivery focused planning approach whilst at the same time placing this within the total project context.

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For a range of views from leading industry experts on how far PRINCE2 and Agile can be blended read this article:
PRINCE2, Agile & Scrum – do they Mix?