What was a quiet murmur on online forums and communities, has recently been shouted by software provider, Project Place... "PRINCE2 is dead". Killed by the age of information and openness, or perhaps more accurately, rained down upon by the cloud. Social business is seemingly rendering the old school project management structures obsolete... so do traditional methodologies have a place in the changing landscape which is the Project battleground?
As we know, Time and Cost sit on the shoulders of every project, and can quickly turn from angels to devils with the delay of a delivery, or unforeseen increase in costs. Project Managers in the middle of a time and cost sandwich, are judged on their reaction. To respond quickly and efficiency to risks, issues, etc 'that's what it's all about, right?'
With the wealth of social business applications floating around in the cloud, Project Managers can react to concerns quicker than Usain Bolt is able to get out of the blocks. In the online world there is less and less need for meetings, since decision makers are now at the end of web conferences, or logging into systems to determine progress themselves. Project information has never been more transparent or accessible. So, in light of the new-found transparency shared by project members, are the formalities of a methodology simply unnecessary hoops which we just don’t want to jump through anymore?
Of course new tools have dramatically altered how projects are run (mostly for the better), but the answer to the question ‘why do projects fail?’ remains the same as it ever was. It comes down to the absence of controls. Social projects bring many benefits, but the devolution of control is a by-product that has to be lived with. Johan Zetterstorm of Project Place predicts the management “hierarchy will be much more flat if you embrace social business." Yet, control stems from levels of authority, and without structured sets of processes and procedures with the right people in place, a project will always run the risk of failure.
Controls are not to be feared.
PRINCE2 is alive and kicking, but whether PMs are using it is another matter. Projects continue to make the same old mistakes, some of which would be avoidable by adopting a more structured and accountable approach... after all, there’s a reason it’s called Best Practice.
So no, quickly responding to risks and issues ‘isn’t what it’s all about’. Doing the upmost to ensure they don’t crop up in the first place is. Of course it’s inevitable that a project will throw up the odd curveball, but when they occur, having high visibility and the right strategies makes it all the easier to mitigate.
For those who think PRINCE2 is dead, then perhaps the birth of PrinceLite has come just at the right time. Sure, there’s plenty of bureaucracy that can be cut out of the method, and while PRINCE2 is in no way dead, maybe there is a shift or reinvention occurring. PRINCE2 was always meant to be tailorable, now as ever, you need to use the bits that work for you.
We can’t help but feel that when Social Business meets the Method, that projects may just benefit from the best of both worlds.
Take a look – http://www.corepm.com