PRINCE2® 7 – applying universal principles for companies of all sizes

Aleksandr Romanov, Advisor,

Veteran technology executive, Aleksandr Romanov has long been an advocate for PRINCE2. Indeed, his many certifications include both PRINCE2 Agile Foundation and Practitioner. Recently, he became one of the first people to gain the new PRINCE2 7 certification. 

“Whatever you’re working on, whether it’s a project or not, you need to know how to communicate with people and how to document what you do,” Aleksandr said. “It’s useful to learn the language, and to actually know the standards inside and out, rather than just being familiar with them from reading a couple of articles.

“Besides my full-time job, I do a lot of consulting and advisory work for companies of all sizes, from startups to enterprises,” Aleksandr explained. “I already had Agile Coach and Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) certifications, so when I saw that Agile had been introduced to PRINCE2, I was keen to learn more.” 

He found PRINCE2’s seven principles to be its most attractive feature. “They can be applied everywhere, whether it’s a project or a product, even startups need to look at the business justification: why are we doing this project? What is the feature we’re building? Does it align with the business we’re creating?”

To illustrate, Aleksandr described a small startup, in which he would typically need to scale a team of five engineers to more than 100 in less than a year. “We add more people, more responsibilities, more workflows, processes and policies, and PRINCE2 addresses all of these in a very methodical way,” he explained. “We manage by stages and by exceptions, so we don’t have to think two or three years ahead. That way, should any issues arise, we can look at how to manage them, and consider what kind of risk or change control should be applied.”

His favourite principle, however, is tailoring a project to suit the environment. “I use this a lot and my clients love it. Rather than just take a project out of a box and hand it over, we tailor it to their needs. It’s like buying a suit. You don’t just buy it and walk away; you need to spend time on it to make it work for you.”

Improvements and additions

PRINCE2 7 – the latest iteration of the guidance – is an improvement on its predecessor, according to Aleksandr: “The book is significantly shorter than the previous version and there’s a lot more information on fewer pages. It may contain fewer pages, but it’s more powerful for it.”

He also believes that PRINCE2 7 blends well with updates to the Management of Risk (M_o_R 4) and Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) frameworks. “It feels like an entire ecosystem. You can see the full picture, and how they relate to each other.”

There are other notable additions to the latest iteration. “The introduction of UN sustainability goals caught my attention immediately,” he said. “Sustainability is such an important topic across the world, and a key objective for companies of all sizes.” 
“Finally, I like how the new “people” integrated element is now at the heart of PRINCE2. With most companies’ operations becoming increasingly international, communication has never been more important.” 

Invaluable knowledge and skills

Aleksandr believes these additions and improvements will have a positive impact on his work: “I can use PRINCE2 7 as a reference when I talk about people and processes and I can back it up.

“PeopleCert is an expert in everything from portfolio to projects to risk management. It has seen the importance of focusing on people and communication; we should too.”

He believes the principles of project management can be applied also to general management: “You might be managing something that’s not a project, but you’ll still have a team, objectives and something to deliver.

“An understanding of PRINCE2 will be hugely helpful in knowing how to manage change, how to deal with stakeholders, how to manage data and more. Wherever you work and whatever you’re working on, the knowledge and skills you can gain from PRINCE2 7 will prove invaluable.”