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PRINCE2 Agile - Right product, right time, right now

How can PRINCE2 be Agile when PRINCE2 has a perception of Bureaucracy?


Ian Clarkson | 13 July 2015

PRINCE2 Agile™

A buzz in the industry

On 30th June 2015, I facilitated a seminar on PRINCE2™ Agile in conjunction with AXELOS and Keith Richards (Lead PRINCE2® Agile author). It was a warm evening in London and we had a great turn out – showing the interest there is at the moment in this new scheme, and the buzz around the industry about it.

This “buzz” is exciting, as Agile is becoming more and more in demand, yet I have heard people say that PRINCE2 Agile is actually an oxymoron – “how can PRINCE2 be Agile, when maybe PRINCE2 has a perception of bureaucracy”? The reality is, as Keith explained, that PRINCE2 is already ‘Agile enabled’ which makes the link to Agile even more natural – something I, if am being honest, I don’t think is understood enough.

Project Management Professional

So, you’re a ‘Registered’ PRINCE2 Practitioner, and looking for what professional certification is the next natural step to take. There are plenty of options in the P3M (portfolio, programme and project management) space:

but you have been asked to get involved in a project that uses Agile, and you are not working in IT! Outrageous! What is this ‘agile interloper’?

Making the change

Keith made a really great point in his session that organisations nowadays don’t have a choice of whether to do agile or not (we’re not holding a ‘referendum on Agile’), rather ‘how much agile is to be used – a rather excellent concept in PRINCE2 Agile called the ‘Agilometer’.

There are options out there for Agile, to name a few:

  • AgilePM – for generalist project managers (i.e. not PRINCE2 Practitioners), with a focus more on DSDM
  • BCS Agile Foundation – an overview of different agile approaches, mainly targeted at IT professionals
  • Scrum – probably the most well-known of all the agile approaches, but is ‘chocolate ice-cream’ rather than ‘Neapolitan ice cream’. i.e. a particular flavour of Agile rather than a bit of all flavours.

yet you and your organisation have taken the decision to adopt PRINCE2 (or a tailored version of it). I am not saying you can’t do the above, yet is there something that follows on from your preferred project management approach.

Now there is – PRINCE2 Agile. PRINCE2 Agile is ‘Neapolitan ice cream’ and not just for IT! In the same way PRINCE2 is applicable to all industries, so is PRINCE2 Agile. Designed as a follow-on module for PRINCE2 Practitioners, PRINCE2 Agile regards agile as a ‘family of behaviours, concepts, frameworks and Techniques’ – a broad view recognising that more than just a set of processes are required to adopt and implement agile. Whilst I am not an agile specialist, this PRINCE2 Agile view resonates deeply with what I see from my experience of working with lots of organisations in project management – for all the process, techniques, frameworks that exist in project management, are individual and organisational behaviours conducive to adopting an approach? Think about your own organisations at the moment – can you see this in your own companies?

As the ‘Agilometer’ shows, it is not a question of ‘if agile’, rather ‘how much agile’, and given the industry trend at the moment, PRINCE2 Agile really is the Right Product, Right Time, Right Now!

PRINCE2 Agile™ is a Trade Mark of AXELOS Limited. PRINCE2®, MSP® are Registered Trade Marks of AXELOS Limited


QA Training | Ian Clarkson

Ian Clarkson

Head of Project Management

Dr Ian Clarkson is Head of Project and Programme Management at QA, providing business direction and ownership of QA’s portfolio, programme, project and risk management curriculum. Ian is an experienced lecturer, author, speaker and consultant, having delivered programmes and projects in all industry sectors. This extensive hands-on experience coupled with a background in education has made Ian well-known and highly respected in his field. Ian currently works with a team of highly experienced lecturers and consultants helping organisations excel in all aspects of portfolio, programme, project and risk management.
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