Friday, February 13, 2015

The PRINCE2 Project Manager’s Most Important Task.

Project Manager Priority PRINCE2If you casually ask people what a project manager’s most important task is, you will get many different answers. “Deliver on time, scope and budget” is a common suggestion. Other popular views are “understand critical path”, “prioritize”, “make things happen” and “plan the project”.

The tasks mentioned above are certainly important. Plans need to be realistic, understanding of critical path is essential and making things happen in prioritized order is a key to success. These things combined will absolutely help the project manager “deliver on time, scope and budget”. However, sometimes the “delivering-on-time”-obsession can cause sub-optimal return of investment. Maybe scope should have been changed, time added or more money spent to maximize an opportunity. If so, it is not the project manager’s decision to make. So what does that tell us about the project manager’s most important task?

In PRINCE2, the project manager’s most important task is to help the board maximize the value of the project. For the project board to give the best possible direction to the project, the project board members need to be well informed in a timely manner. The project board needs to get the opportunity to make decisions based on quality analysis done by the project manager on threats, opportunities, options and people.

If the proactive information fed to the project board is absent, the board’s role is limited to observing and not directing. Board members are busy and multitasking. Their limited time is spilt between multiple projects and operational responsibilities. Therefore, the information fed to the board cannot be unlimited. It needs to be correct, precise, balanced and frequent (enough).

If a scope change is surfacing in the project, make sure a description is made of why and how, analysis is done by the specialists to describe impact on time and money, and summarize this information in an issue-report.

If a significant risk is identified, assess the risk and inform the project board.

If you forecast is exceeding stage tolerances, make sure you understand and summarize the root causes, the impact and recommendation. Share the analysis with the board using an exception report.

The alternative to the above is to copy board members and stake holders on large amounts on e-mail flowing between project team members where the information might not be analyzed, precise or balanced. In this situation, the board members can easily feel bombarded with problems without solutions. 

As a PRINCE2 project manager, your most important responsibility is to make it easy to direct the Project.

Go to the PRINCE2 Organization page to read more about the PRINCE2 Project Board and PRINCE2 Roles. 

Related article:
Advice - Make the Project Board’s Job Easy
PRINCE2 Issue Report - Structure Gives You Credit

 Image courtesy of  Stuart Miles at
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