Project and Programme Management training from QA

The PRINCE2 2017 update and tailoring

AXELOS expert talks about the new changes to PRINCE2 and the new emphasis it makes to tailoring


QA | 11 July 2017

The principle of “tailoring” is not new to the PRINCE2 project management method. However, it has been re-booted for the 2017 version.

Tailoring occupied a stand-alone chapter in the previous (2009) version of PRINCE2 though, for such an important principle, it was neither prominent enough nor featured elsewhere in the guidance.

Therefore, the 2017 update needed both new emphasis on tailoring and for the principle to run throughout the book itself.

And it’s important to know that this wasn’t done on a whim: the feedback AXELOS has been gathering from the project management community since the last version was launched highlighted certain “hotspots”. The PRINCE2 community informed AXELOS that tailoring needed to be more widely understood and that it should be examined.

Equally, they shared their concern that PRINCE2 was becoming more process-based than principle-driven. We couldn’t ignore these observations and so – working with authors, mentors and almost 4,500 comments from reviewers worldwide – we’ve designed the new PRINCE2 guidance and exams.

PRINCE2 2017 – what’s new?

To run a PRINCE2 project you must understand PRINCE2 principles: they are the glue that binds the method together.

So, PRINCE2 2017 places much more emphasis on the principles, themes and – above all – we have ensured the tailoring principle is threaded through the entire book. This means it’s now much clearer what is mandatory when running a PRINCE2 project; that’s vital because it’s where the value lies.

Understanding how to tailor the guidance, and why tailoring is important, will help project managers avoid the trap of believing they need to use the entire PRINCE2 method to obtain value from it. This new focus also recognizes the coming of agile product delivery approaches and how they fit with PRINCE2, something that was less important back in 2009 but essential now.

The new PRINCE2 gives its practitioners more to work with: explaining the sections of themes chapters you must be using to be sure you’re running a project using PRINCE2 and what additional guidance is available.

The structure of the book makes it clear what elements of the guidance can be tailored, what can’t and who takes responsibility in a project environment. Tailoring runs through both the method and Practitioner examination level.

But what is just as important as what’s new is what remains the same about PRINCE2.

The core guidance – founded on 7 principles, 7 themes and 7 processes – hasn’t changed. That means if you don’t use the principles, you’re not project managing according to PRINCE2. Why does that matter? For example, the principle of having a continued business justification informs whether you’re ready to go to the next stage in your project; learning from experience means you are taking lessons from previous projects into account. In other words, PRINCE2 principles ensure you’re doing the right thing for the project.

What’s in it for PRINCE2 practitioners?

PRINCE2 2017 means practitioners will have a way of going into an organization, tailoring the method better to the project environment and bringing greater value immediately to the business.

Let’s face it, projects can be scary places! PRINCE2 provides an established method that takes the heat out of the project situation, provides you with a way of managing the project and gives you a better chance of project success, whatever organization and industry you work in.

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