PRINCE2, Agile Project Management (AgilePM) or both? We asked our PRINCE2 and AgilePM trainer, Fabio Savarino, to answer your most frequently asked questions about the differences between the two project management methods.
What does PRINCE2 cover? What about AgilePM?
They are both project management methods. However, PRINCE2 is a traditional method whereas AgilePM falls into the category of agile methods. Depending on the type of project you want to manage (its nature, size, duration, constraints…), you are free to choose either the first or the second method, or even to integrate them into the same project.
The only point of vigilance is the correct identification of the selection criteria. Not all projects can be agile and not all projects are managed with an overly structured method.
What are the major differences between the two methods?
PRINCE2 is a formal project management method based on the delivery of a final product in accordance with the documents created. The method is very structured but it is also adaptable to all requirements.
AgilePM is a lean, flexible method based on the very frequent delivery of a part of the final solution that evolves over time. There is less rigidity in the documentation and some variables of the project have no tolerance anymore (they become fixed). But remember that AgilePM provides its own organisation (project team) as well as a set of management products (documents) that evolve over time in parallel with the design of the final product.
What the two methods have in common is adaptation. Both can be adapted to the needs of the client and/or the project manager.
What types of projects is PRINCE2 designed for? What about AgilePM? Could you give me two concrete examples?
Public administration is a good example of project management with PRINCE2 where formalism is the rule and attention is paid to the completion of traditional project activities using traditional methods. In this case, the delivery of the final product is provided in one block, at the end of the project, just like most traditional project management approaches called “waterfall method”.
I have chosen this example to demonstrate how PRINCE2 can be easily adapted and used as a traditional method.
It is clear that PRINCE2 retains the advantages of sequence management and management by exception, which allow it to manage all six project variables in a controlled way. These characteristics are not synonymous with a “waterfall” method, on the contrary.
For AgilePM, the most appropriate example is obviously that of software development, the environment in which all agile methods were born. The development of an application allows for numerous integrations, frequent improvements, details that are added little by little, and an easy interface with the end user. It often tests the quality of the product during the project to avoid waiting for the final delivery.
What is the value of the two certifications?
It is essential to take both courses. Otherwise it would not be possible to choose the most appropriate method for the project.
The value of the PRINCE2 certification is not only tangible – it can be adapted to any type of project – but PRINCE2 is also an internationally recognized certification in project management. It is absolutely comparable to other methods (e.g. PMP) but the training time is less and the economic effort less.
Similarly, the value of the AgilePM certification lies not only in its ease of use – adaptable to short and flexible projects – but also in the added value of this certification to your portfolio of project management methods. One or both of these certifications represent a significant advantage in the job market.
Are there touchpoints between the two methods? If so, can they be integrated?
PRINCE2 is a structured method that focuses on the control and monitoring of activities at the level of the project manager and the board (interface with the business, above the project manager). However, the method leaves room for the delivery part.
This means that a project can easily be managed at a high level with PRINCE2, but the delivery of its individual products could be done by “mini-projects” managed simultaneously with AgilePM.
In this way, you leverage the advantages and benefits of both methods.
The final advantage is the existence of PRINCE2 AGILE®, a different method from the two previous ones. This approach aims to facilitate the integration of the concept of agility within an organisation already structured using the PRINCE2 method.
What are the project management techniques of both (e.g. MoSCoW)?
PRINCE2 focuses on the processes to be used in project management. Therefore, the focus is on these 7 processes in order to coordinate and combine all activities to control and monitor the project products (called deliverables).
In addition to these processes, there are 7 themes that describe how to carry out the activities in the processes in practice. For example, how to manage risks, create a project plan, manage change requests, create the business case, choose the right roles for the project, etc.
AgilePM is not focused on processes (too formal in some cases) but more on iterative development techniques involving a division into short time intervals (Timebox), a prioritization of objectives (MoSCoW) and an effective communication facilitated by workshops and a daily Stand-Up.
Can you define the roles and responsibilities in the two methods?
It would be too long and complex to define in detail the responsibilities and roles in the organisation of a project in both cases… but I still want to give you a clear answer.
Therefore, I would like to point out that PRINCE2 allocates roles to different levels within the project that reflect the classical interests of the stakeholders: the company, the end users and the suppliers.
In contrast, AgilePM suggests the presence of all interests at all levels, while providing for business, management and technical roles.
As you can see these two approaches are very different and precisely for this reason, both methods should be part of the skill set of a good project manager.
QRP International is an official ATO for PRINCE2, accredited by Peoplecert on behalf of Axelos. We’re authorised to deliver PRINCE2 training courses online, on-site or in an e-learning format. QRP International is an official ATO for AgilePM. We are accredited by APMG and can provide AgilePM Foundation and AgilePM Practitioner training. For more information, visit our AgilePM certification page.
Would you like support in order to figure out the best solution for you and your team? We would be happy to provide more info on the different PM methods available – contact us!
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