What is PRINCE2 Agile – Everything you Need to Know

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What is PRINCE2 Agile

As the name suggests, PRINCE2 Agile is a combination of Agile project management and ‘PRojects IN Controlled Environments 2’, better known as PRINCE2. Released back in 2015, the dual framework has proven extremely popular with project management teams across a multitude of different sectors and industries.

But what are the parts that make it up? Let’s start with Agile. Speaking generally, the Agile approach is based on flexibility and iterative development. Cross-functional and largely autonomous teams work together on projects in order to provide solutions that meet evolving requirements. Practitioners know how and when to adapt without losing sight of their goals and can even amend long-term targets as necessary.

The result is often a more efficient, speedy, and aligned project timeline that creates optimized results for less. There are several frameworks that fall under the umbrella of the ‘Agile Manifesto’, including AgilePM and SCRUM.

PRINCE2, on the other hand, is a process and product-based methodology. It offers ‘Processes’, ‘Principles’, and ‘Themes’, which respectively form the ‘How’, ‘Why’, and ‘What’ of project management. While there are numerous alternatives to PRINCE2, the framework’s focus on solid planning and strategic governance has made it a popular choice worldwide. Even learning the basics of PRINCE2 can help candidates to make far more effective contributions to project teams.

Typically, project managers will choose a side in the ‘PRINCE2 vs. Agile’ debate, but while they are both effective in their own right, neither offers an entirely holistic approach. PRINCE2 focuses on strategic-level project management, with an ongoing focus on a project’s business justification. Agile practices, meanwhile, are more flexible and incremental, delivering value-generating results quickly and continually reassessing targets to optimize stakeholder and client satisfaction.

PRINCE2 Agile is designed to deliver the comprehensive management of PRINCE2 mixed with the flexibility and responsiveness of Agile environments. It offers a comprehensive approach, leading AXELOS to name it “the world’s most complete agile project management solution.”

How Does PRINCE2 Agile Work?

PRINCE2 Agile is a combination of two styles of project management. PRINCE2 focuses on strategy and upper-tier decision-making, while Agile is more about responsiveness, autonomy, and swift benefits realization. Generally speaking, the project management methodology ‘works’ by applying PRINCE2 principles and techniques within Agile environments. It could even be described as a form of PRINCE2 that is simply better suited to Agile projects.

Many critics of the framework have argued that the differences between PRINCE2 and Agile make them incompatible. However, this point of view overlooks the fact that there has always been a certain degree of overlap between them. Agile encourages users to clearly define a number of points within a project, PRINCE2 encourages flexibility, and so on. In its best form, the PRINCE2 Agile project management method simply has the two frameworks bringing out the best in each other.

For example, PRINCE2 Agile offers a ‘Hexagon Model’ that mixes clarity and control with flexibility. It has six points of focus: ‘Time’ and ‘Cost’, which should not be varied during the project management lifecycle, ‘Benefits’ and ‘Risk’, which may be flexible; and ‘Quality’ and ‘Scope’, which are highly flexible.

This model, in turn, is linked to five ‘Targets’:

  • Be on time and hit deadlines
  • Protect the level of quality
  • Embrace change
  • Keep teams stable
  • Accept that the customer doesn’t need everything

These targets, again, are flexible. However, they must still remain paramount points of focus throughout a project. The methodology allows practitioners to alter aspects of a project without impacting the budget or deadlines. Practitioners can be flexible while still working according to clear management priorities.

For managers who are already used to applying either PRINCE2 or Agile, the combined framework could simply be seen as an add-on. PRINCE2 Foundation even serves as a viable alternative to PRINCE2 Agile Foundation certification when it comes to qualifying for the PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner exam.

There is no need to start from scratch – instead, why not consider PRINCE2 Agile training an opportunity to build on what you already know?

How Can PRINCE2 Agile Certification Help My Business?

PRINCE2 Agile fully accommodates the needs of modern project management. On the one hand, project management is becoming far, far more complicated. Requirements are always changing in terms of technological capabilities, stakeholder priorities, customer expectations, competitive needs, and so on. To achieve high-quality results, project managers must have the capacity to accommodate these complex requirements and keep projects aligned with strict business justifications.

At the same time, businesses cannot afford to sit still. With competitors always circling, organizations must remain flexible enough to enjoy the benefits of change management without having to wait the months required to complete complicated projects. They must also be capable of altering projects, at least to a certain extent, in order to address any changing requirements.

PRINCE2 Agile fits these needs very well. It offers a number of significant benefits, including:

  • Adaptability – The framework is generic enough that it can be applied to virtually any industry, sector, or location. That is not to say PRINCE2 Agile provides a simple to-do list that anyone can use without thinking. Rather, it outlines crucial factors and points of focus that can apply to any project. At the same time, practitioners have the flexibility to adapt the framework further if necessary.
  • Easy to incorporate – PRINCE2 is already the most widely used project management framework in the world, and Agile isn’t exactly a new contender either! If your business already utilizes one of them, upskilling your staff in PRINCE2 Agile can help you enjoy a more holistic project management style without having to start from scratch.
  • Faster benefit realization – Agile is about completing projects in increments, generating benefits that can be enjoyed at several stages rather than just at the conclusion. This can be a great perk for projects designed to empower rapid change management, as well as those in competitive industries where companies cannot wait for benefits to come all at once.
  • Greater control – Agile project managers are excellent at getting things done at a delivery level, but this point of view can be limited. There must also be an upper tier of management to ensure project success at a strategic level. This is where PRINCE2 really shines.
  • Collaboration and communication – This is a common perk for popular corporate standards and frameworks. Practitioners will all be familiar with the same terminology and methodology, making it far easier for them to collaborate and communicate on project development teams. Not only does this keep projects streamlined, but it can also result in speedier completion without having to sacrifice quality. In the case of PRINCE2 Agile, this is enabled by clearly defining roles, responsibilities, and lines of communication at the start of each project. For this reason, many businesses will choose to upskill multiple staff at the same time.

Is PRINCE2 Agile Worth it?

Regardless of the benefits of certification, PRINCE2 Agile course costs can still put potential candidates off of studying. With that in mind, it’s important to consider the brass-tacks benefits of studying the framework.

According to PayScale, the average salary of PRINCE 2 practitioners is $98,000 in the US and £46,000 in the UK.

As PRINCE2 Agile Foundation is generally seen as being equivalent to PRINCE2 Foundation, salaries for practitioners are approximately at the same level. Naturally, PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner-certified candidates can enjoy higher-level positions and salaries.

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