Project Management

Introduction to Project Management Best Practices: PMBOK and PRINCE 2

Between PMBOK and PRINCE2, more than a few comparisons have been made over the past 20 years. Yet instead of trying to tackle the sum of differences, CA Clarity software architect Haydn Thomas sticks to the fundamentals. In his to-the-point article for ITBusinessEdge, Thomas reviews each approach separately, allowing the reader to draw his or her own comparisons.

The Skinny on PMBOK

According to Thomas, the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK) is the most broadly used PM best practice method across markets and across departments. Its title: “Book of Knowledge” admittedly reads like some ancient text. But many institutions in the sectors of finance and government take its wisdom seriously enough to require staff certifications. In its 3rd edition form, PMBOK specifies the 5 main process groups of Initiating, Planning, Executing, Controlling & Monitoring, and Closing. Thomas recommends, in addition to staff certifications, procedural training for key employees as well as the maintenance of “Enforcer” and “Supporter” roles after training, to ensure smooth product delivery.

The Low-Down on PRINCE2

Projects in Controlled Environments (PRINCE2) method, the 1986 brain-child of the UK Office of Government Commerce (OGC), has proven especially effective for controlling the chaos of product delivery in the IT sector. Focused on risk reduction and project success, the PRINCE2 method is broken-down into 8 process groups catering to the three central techniques of “Product Based Planning”, “Quality Review”, and “Change Control”. Being generic is a major strength. The scalability of PRINCE2 makes it a global standard, as it can be retrofitted to a variety of organizational structures.

Training a Must

Though the pros and cons of using either PMBOK or PRINCE2 are well documented, Thomas highlights the need for training regardless of which methodology is used:

Training is vital. The PMO needs to be trained on methodology. Review of the method (PMBOK or PRINCE) is a lengthy process, but subsequent payoff in execution support is equally large.

PRINCE2 training is supported by several accredited organizations (including APM Group Ltd) while PMBOK certifications are given through the Project Management Institute (PMI).

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Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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