by Jurie Smith

Using Prince2 for Small-Scale Projects

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Using Prince2 for Small-Scale Projects
Using Prince2 for Small-Scale Projects

The world of business is fast paced and in recent years has gained even more speed. Decisions have to be made at the drop of a hat as any delay could lead to the loss of opportunities. This precedes an even greater challenge - change.

Enterprises have to quickly adapt to the convulsions of the industry in which they operate and position themselves to mitigate any of the negative effects thereof. Organisations as a result find themselves having to initiate large-scale projects or small-scale undertakings depending on the gravity of the ‘disruption’. This has meant that industry has to tailor certain projects to suite particular business needs in order to cater for these changes.

PRINCE2® is an abbreviation for PRojects IN Controlled Environments. It is a structured methodology that comprises of a number of logical processes which give rise to efficiency on a project if followed accordingly. 

Our primary focus here is on small-scale projects. Though being modest, small-scale projects provide a peculiar challenge in the application of the PRINCE2® methodology.

The PRINCE2® method adheres to seven principles that may be applied as best practice on projects, which are Business justification, Learn from experience, Defined Roles and Responsibilities, Manage by Stages, Manage by Exception, Focus on products and Tailored to Suit the Project Environment.

Now, in tailoring PRINCE2® to the small-scale project it is important that the seven themes are present. What may vary is the depth at which they are applied.

  • The Business Case: The business case explains the usefulness of the project in terms of why it being initiated and can be used as a tracking mechanism to determine whether the project is worth the effort or not.
  • Organisation: The roles and responsibilities are spelled out in such a way that each individual has and knows their defined function.
  • Quality: The quality standards are defined with regard to the purpose of the project.
  • Plan: The plan has to detail when the project will deliver by outlining resources, costs, assumptions, products and timelines.
  • Risk: The elements that pose a risk to the success of the project are identified and assessed with a view to limiting or preventing their impact on the project.
  • Change: All changes that occur in the project have to be controlled by identifying, assessing and seeking approval for them.
  • Progress: Mechanisms are put in place to measure the actual developments against the previously planned objectives in order to monitor and forecast the advancement of the project.

Conversely, an inexperienced Project Manager assigned on a small-scale project, will adopt the PINO approach, which is PRINCE2® In Name Only. This means the Project Manager will select the more accessible aspects of PRINCE2® for application on the project. However, the drawback of the PINO approach is that the project manager may leave out the elements of the method that are essential to the success of the project.


When adapting the PRINCE2® method to a small-scale project, all the PRINCE2® themes must be adhered to. It all depends on how formal or informal the aforementioned is applied and the level of detail that is required. 


Overall, the benefits of adapting PRINCE2® to small-scale projects are, among others, superior efficiency and effectiveness, pronounced lucidity, ease of application and quality project outcomes.




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