It is easy to choose PRINCE2 Foundations as project management method to study. In The Netherlands PRINCE2 is the most common project management methodology. Many (project) organizations appreciate it when their PMO assistant or PSO is PRINCE2 certified. Easy enough. But it is not for me. I decided to start an Agile Project Management Foundations study, based on DSDM Atern.
PRINCE2* vs Agile**
Some differences between the two methods.
|Top down management.||… management.|
|Communication on higher level only.||Communication throughout the project team.|
|Fixed end product, no matter the changed requirements.||End product agreed, but prone to changed requirements.|
|Definition of quality based on the initial agreement, even if the delivered product is overdone.||Definition of quality based on the product the client’s need.|
|Quality negotiable.||Quality not negotiable.|
|Features fixed, cost and time negotiable.||Time and cost fixed, features negotiable.|
|Testing at the near-end of the project.||Continuous testing at the end of every production timebox.|
|Sequential or waterfall approach.||Iterative approach.|
|Level of rigor high throughout the project.||Level of rigor appropriate and based on the project phase.|
I do not say that PRINCE2 is an outdated project management method. When properly set up and managed, it can be a fine working method and I do value it for what it can be. Unfortunately, a lot of projects are managed PINO; Prince In Name Only. This results in horrendous projects, which are way too expensive and do not always meet the agreed quality because the delivery date is overdue. Also, I do not say that Agile is sacred. As any project management method, it must be executed properly will the full advantage be visible. If not, the risk of a horrendous outcome is very realistic too.
When properly managed, both methods can work along each other and enhance each other’s value.
To me, it is a gut feeling. While PRINCE2 is fairly rigid and can work with several types of projects, the Agile method is flexible, fit for all kinds of projects and based on working not only for, but also with the main stakeholder in order to achieve the highest level of co-operation throughout the company, not only in the top level. It just fits me better.
* PRINCE2 is a registered trademark of the Cabinet Office.
**When Agile is mentioned with a capital A, the method according to the Atern DSDM Consortium is meant. Otherwise, it is referring to the regular interpretation of the word.