Here in this week's instalment of 'A Good Night Out with PRINCE2®', lead PRINCE2® trainer at SPOCE Project Management, Richard Lampitt takes us through the final PRINCE2® stage. 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 'Closing a Project', the acceptance and handing over of the projects products.

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!

Closing a Project

Purpose

Gains acceptance for & hands over the project’s products. Ensures a controlled close to the project, evaluates the project’s performance and agrees any follow-on actions.

Looks to bring the night to a nice smooth ending, with hopefully no ongoing issues or risks!

Reports back to the Project Board on the performance of the night out using an (End Project Report) (Progress Theme) which also includes information on what went well and not so well, if you want to be open and honest! (Lessons Report) (Progress Theme). Establishes if there’s any unresolved (issues) (Change Theme) to be addressed and any potential problems (risks) (Risk Theme),perhaps due to consuming far too much food and drink, and ensures they are managed appropriately after the night out (the project) has ended, (passed on as Follow-on Action Recommendations as part of the End Project Report) (Progress Theme). This project performance information, lessons, follow-on action recommendations etc will all be summarised in an email and sent to all interested parties.


Ensures there’s benefits reviews agreed (Benefits Management Approach) (Business Case Theme) to check, over the next couple of days or so, whether the night was a beneficial success for everyone involved, from what they can remember of it! Can we see measurable improvements (benefits) (Business Case Theme) in the people who attended? e.g. people are measurably happier and more relaxed than they were before the night out, which can be measured by a pre and post night out survey, and that the evening managed to raise a minimum of £500 for charity. This will be a simple table in a document showing the expected benefits and when, how and by whom they will be reviewed.

Communicates to any interested people (stakeholders) (Organisation Theme) who need to know what implications, if any, the night has had on them, e.g. inform people about the money raised for charity. And perhaps let your employer know that you may not be in work the next day due to over indulgence! (I’m certainly not endorsing this one though)! This communicating will be done either verbally, by email, or text message, depending on the situation!

So, there we have it. Just a few examples of how PRINCE2 is very adaptable, showing that it can easily be tailored and applied to organising a simple pub crawl, sorry, what I mean to say is… “A Good Night Out”!

Examples of tailoring (shown in blue text) included verbal reporting and work instructions, sending progress updates by text message, combining of roles (for example, one person performed the roles of Project Manager, Project Support, Team Manager and was also part of the Change Authority) and the format and combining of management products (for example, the Daily Log was simply an App on a mobile phone and was also used to capture ‘Lessons’, ‘Issues’, ‘Risks’ and ‘Quality activities’, basically meaning the Daily Log, Lessons Log, Issue Register, Risk Register and Quality Register were all combined in one simple place)!

We’ve used simple checklists for our Plans, straightforward reasons, costs and benefits statements for the Business Case and all the management approaches were simple statements, for example, of the procedures to follow if anyone identifies any issues (the Change Control Approach) or risks (the Risk Management Approach).

But is this truly PRINCE2? PRINCE2 is principles-based. These principles MUST be supported/applied for a project to be deemed as a ‘genuine’ PRINCE2 project. The question is, does this tailored project example support PRINCE2’s principles? Let’s do a quick check:

Principles

Principle: Continued Business Justification

Supported? Yes

Example: We created and reviewed some form of business case to ensure there’s justification, as well as a way to review the realisation of the expected benefits.

Principle: Learn from experience

Supported? Yes

Example: Lessons were looked for at the outset, a lessons log used and lessons were passed on.

Principle: Defined roles and responsibilities

Supported? Yes

Example: All the roles and responsibilities were assigned and all 3 categories of stakeholder (business, user and supplier) were engaged with.

Principle: Manage by stages

Supported? Yes

Example: There was the minimum of 2 stages, which were planned, monitored and controlled, one at a time, and decisions were being made at stage boundaries.

Principle: Manage by exception

Supported? Yes

Example: Tolerances were set for the performance targets of time, cost, quality, scope, benefits and risk.

Principle: Focus on products

Supported? Yes

Example: Product descriptions were written for each product which included the product’s quality criteria and included in the plans.

Principle: Tailor to suit the project

Supported? Yes

Example: This entire tailoring article shows how this principle was applied and supported! This principle clearly states that information doesn’t necessarily mean ‘documents’ and decisions doesn’t necessarily require ‘holding meetings’.

In addition to supporting the Principles shown above, all 7 Themes were applied, namely: ‘Business Case’, ‘Organization’, ‘Quality’, ‘Plans’, ‘Risk’, ‘Change’ and ‘Progress’, as shown throughout this article, and all of the managsment products required to support the ‘minimum requirements’ of each Theme were created and maintained, albeit very basic and simplified content to them; but if that’s sufficient for the needs and nature of your project, then that’s fine.

We’ve even applied, albeit simple, techniques/procedures for issue/change and risk management, as well as straightforward checks/reviews on the products for quality control purposes, as well as the MoSCoW prioritization technique for setting scope tolerance.

We applied a ‘product-based’ approach to planning by identifying the products to be produced by the project and creating Product Descriptions for each of them.

So, there we have it, I think this example supports PRINCE2’s requirements reasonably well and shows that PRINCE2 can indeed be tailored to suit even a small and simple project to organize and hold ‘A Good Night Out’, without any bureaucracy!

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...

 

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