The importance of a correct implementation of the PRINCE2 theme : Organization

1. The who
The Organization theme helps to ensure a clearly defined structure for the accountability and responsibility of individuals working on a project. This includes not only the project team and the Project Manager, but also corporate/programme management and stakeholders.

In PRINCE2 there are three basic types of stakeholder whose interests are crucial to the success of a project: business, user, and supplier.

To create a successful project, the organisation theme needs to take account of some key considerations which are summarised below.

2. Definition of roles & responsibilities…. and making them official
It is important that agreed and authorized role descriptions are used to support all project management team roles, so that everybody is clear what is expected of them, and what to expect of each other. This means that each role holder needs sufficient guidance and training so that when the time comes, each role is understood by all.

This is particularly important for individuals with roles on the Project Board as they need to understand the processes of engagement within the project environment.

Therefore when applying PRINCE2 in a project environment, a minimum knowledge of PRINCE2 at all management levels, is a requirement as it will lessen the risk of miscommunication and/or misunderstanding, as everyone “speaks the same language”.

Furthermore good practice would be to officialise these roles & responsibilities by a sign-off and/or kick-off meeting to ensure everyone understand their responsibilities, accountabilities and ownership.
This will reduce the risk of a lack of decision taking and/or lack of commitment of resources by the Senior User (and Senior Supplier) involved in the project. This also helps ensure that the finger of blame is not automatically pointed at the Project Manager if expectations are not met.

3. The right people for the right role
PRINCE2 does not refer to people, but rather to the roles people fulfil within the project. As a consequence, one person can fulfil several roles within the project. It is however very important for that person to know which “hat they are wearing” and not to confuse the different responsibilities linked to that specific role.

4. The right (number of) people within the Project Board
The Project Board combines the three primary stakeholder interests:
– Executive (business interest);
– Senior User (user interest) and
– Senior Supplier (supplier interest).

The Executive role is appointed by corporate/programme management. Within the Project Board, the Executive is the only individual with the authority to make decisions; the Senior User and Senior Supplier carry purely advisory functions.
However as the project evolves and changes, so should the Project Board members depending on which Stage of the Project has been reached and/or the need of certain Senior Users to represent the Business in the Project Board.
It is equally important to strike a balance in terms of the size of a Project Board; it needs to be small enough to provide direction and decision making in an effective way.

In our next edition we’ll be returning to other PRINCE2 themes – let us know what you want to hear more about.

John Higham

John helps organisations blend Best Practices in their management systems to improve the way Portfolio of Change Initiatives are run.