Here in his new weekly blog series, lead PRINCE2® trainer at SPOCE Project Management, Richard Lampitt takes us on a 'Good night out with PRINCE2®.' If a good night out was a project and we wanted to run this PRINCE2® style, how would it all look?  This week he takes us through the very first stage of our project 'night out', SU (Starting up a project).

It’s said that PRINCE2© is adaptable and can be tailored to suit any type and size of project in any environment. So, let’s put that to the test shall we and see how the various elements of PRINCE2, such as the Processes, Themes, Roles and Management Products relate to a small, straightforward project involving the organising and hosting of ‘A Good Night Out’, perhaps in my home county of Dorset! The following are just some examples, NOT the ‘full’ detailed picture!

Tailoring examples are shown in blue text.

Starting Up a Project


Answers the question:  is it a viable & worthwhile project?

Ensures sufficient information is prepared to set a firm foundation for the initiation of the project.

Objectives/Activities Addressed

Applicable PRINCE2 elements, i.e. the ‘themes’, ‘roles’ and ‘management products’ are shown in (bold in brackets).

Assigns someone to be the main decision-maker for the night out, who can secure the funding for the night out (Executive role) and someone who will plan, organise and manage the hosting of the night out (Project Manager role). Being such a simple/small project, the chosen Project Manager will also undertake the responsibilities of (Project Support role) and the (Team Manager role).

The Project Manager has installed an App on their mobile phone to use to make notes/reminders of actions to take during the project etc, which will be their (Daily Log) (Progress Theme). They will also use this App to make a note of any (issues) (Change Theme) and (risks) (Risk Theme) that arise and need managing.

Considers what went well/not so well on previous nights out and capture those lessons in a (Lessons Log) (Progress Theme). Perhaps too many people were invited the last time, which caused problems with seating arrangements? The Project Manager will also use the App (Daily Log) on their phone to capture such lessons.

Considers who may like to attend the night out, as in the ‘users’, and who else the night out may be of interest to and/or it may affect them in some way (stakeholders) (Organization Theme), perhaps other family members need to be consulted about the attendees, or ‘users’, getting home late?!

The people attending the night out will be the ‘users’, so someone should ensure the night out will be the sort of night out they would like and will meet their needs/requirements (Senior User role).

Note that, whoever’s the main decision-maker (Executive role), if they understand the needs of the attendees (users), theycould also take on the responsibility of ensuring the night will meet the needs for those people attending (Senior User responsibility), so that one person could therefore take on ‘both’ the Executive and Senior User roles. Alternatively, the Project Manager could be the Senior User if they understand the needs of the attendees.

Considers which venue will have sufficient resources to feed and entertain the attendees. This venue will be the supplier environment. The chosen venue’s manager will be the (Senior Supplier role), as they and their staff will besupplying the required resources, e.g. venue, venue staff, food, drinks, bar games, as well as creating the products, e.g. the food menu, drinks menu, invites and bar games list etc. The Project Manager will directly liaise with the venue staff regarding the products they need them to create, e.g. the food and drinks menus, so will also be acting as the (Team Manager role).

Note: The Senior User, Executive and Senior Supplier are collectively the (Project Board) and they will be doing their own (Project Assurance roles of

Business Assurance, User Assurance and Supplier Assurance). All of these and the above roles and interested parties (stakeholders) are relevant to the (Organization Theme). There are 10 PRINCE2 Project Management Team roles in total.The total number of people assigned to fulfil all of the roles in this project is just three! The Project Board also ensured the business (those with a financial interest), user (the attendees) and supplier (the chosen venue staff) stakeholders were represented throughout. Who’s fulling which role/roles was shown as a simple table of responsibilities to suit nature of the project.

Considers what the project product will be, in this case it will be an ‘Organized and Hosted Night Out’. This will have a (Project Product Description) (Quality Theme and Plans Theme) written for it andwill simply include the purpose of, scope of, e.g. what major products need to be produced, and quality expectations (Customer’s Quality Expectations) (Quality Theme) of the attendees, as well as their overall criteria (Acceptance Criteria) (Quality Theme) which the night must meet for it to be ultimately acceptable to them. They set tolerances (Progress Theme) for some of the Acceptance Criteria.

Decides what the main objectives are that we want to achieve during the night out and within what cost and timeframe.Works out if there’s enough good things (benefits) (Business Case Theme) to be gained from having a night out compared to what it’s likely to cost, and that the evening isn’t going to be too risky (Risk Theme). Ultimately ensures there’s a (desirable balance of benefits vs costs and risks) (Business Case Theme), e.g. the benefits of the night out could be: measurably happier and relaxed people and a sum of money to be raised for charity. The Business Case (Business Case Theme) will be a simple half a page statement outlining why the night out is needed, what it’s estimated to cost and what benefits it’s expected to generate. They set a benefits tolerance ‘below’ the fund raising target, but no maximum tolerance was set, and quite rightly too!

All the above information (apart from what will go in the App (Daily Log) on the phone) will be assembled as a (Project Brief) (ALL PRINCE2 Themes are relevant). This will be a simple (brief) 2, or 3 paged document which will outline the project’s objectives and be used to help initiate the project.

A quick outline of what will be done during the initiation stage (Initiation Stage Plan) (Plans Theme) will also be produced. This will be shown as a simple ‘checklist’ of tasks to be carried out during the initiation stage. Basically showing what needs to be done during the initiation stage in order to plan the project and set-up the various project’s controls. (SEE THE NEXT PROCESS, INITIATING A PROJECT, FOR MORE INFO).a nutshell…this process answers the questions…”is the night out (project) going to be affordable and worthwhile”? And, “will the benefits be greater than the costs and potential risks of having the night out”?

In next weeks blog Richard takes us through 'Initiating a Project'.  This part of the project 'Plans the project and sets up the project management controls/approaches to ensure a solid foundation is set for the project. Ensures all the key stakeholders understand what we’re going to do, why, where, when, who’s involved and at what cost.'

Richard is the lead PRINCE2 trainer at SPOCE Project Management and runs many of our classroom and virtual classroom courses. If you are interested in finding out more about project sucess and the fundamentals of planning then why not contact us on...

Call; 0800 177 7623 / 0800 17 SPOCE