PRINCE2 Agile 2016
Previous Section   Next Section

1.2 PRINCE2 Agile is for projects only

PRINCE2 and PRINCE2 Agile are only suitable for use on projects, whereas agile can be used for projects and routine ongoing work as well. Throughout this manual, routine ongoing work is referred to as ‘business as usual’ (BAU) and covers such areas as ongoing product development, product maintenance and continual improvement.

The distinction between project work and BAU work (see Table 1.1 and Figure 1.1) is important because some of the agile ways of working need to be applied differently in each situation. Therefore, when carrying out a piece of work it is important to understand the type of work being undertaken, to ensure that it is addressed in the appropriate way and that agile is used appropriately.

1.2.1 What does BAU look like?

BAU work would typically be repeatable routine tasks that can be carried out by people with the appropriate technical skills without needing to be managed by a project manager. An example of this would be when modifications or enhancements need to be made to an existing product and the timescales are relatively short. There would usually be a long list of these tasks arriving regularly throughout the lifespan of the product. There may be an established team dedicated to this work.

1.2.2 What does a project look like?

A project is a temporary situation where a team is assembled to address a specific problem, opportunity or change that is sufficiently difficult that it cannot be handled as BAU. It may even be a collection of BAU items handled collectively. An example of a project would be where a new product or service is being created – there may be a need to engage many stakeholders and a significant amount of uncertainty exists. The project team may be based in different locations, the team personnel may change, the project may last a long time and it may be part of a wider programme of work. Importantly, it needs to be managed by a project manager.

Project characteristics BAU characteristics



Team is created

Stable team



A degree of uncertainty

A degree of certainty

Table 1.1 The different characteristics of a project and BAU work


AXELOS’s Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) provides best-practice guidance for managing related projects and activities in programmes of work that deliver business benefits through new capabilities.

Figure 1.1 illustrates the different characteristics of project work in comparison with BAU work. A project has defined stages for upfront work before any delivery activity commences. It also has layers of project management and project direction to ensure the correct output is ultimately arrived at. By the end of a project, at which point the project team disbands (or moves to other work), the product created will have gone into operational use. From then on it may be maintained and enhanced in a BAU environment.

Definition: Timebox

A finite period of time during which work is carried out to achieve a goal or meet an objective. The deadline should not be moved, as the method of managing a timebox is to prioritize the work inside it. At a low level, a timebox will last a matter of days or weeks (e.g. a sprint). Higher-level timeboxes act as aggregated timeboxes and contain lower-level timeboxes.

In a BAU environment, the list of work is prioritized in some form and may be batched into timeboxes. As the work is completed the existing product evolves, continually, over time.

Although PRINCE2 Agile is only suitable for projects, it uses a wide range of agile behaviours, concepts, frameworks and techniques that are also used in a BAU environment.


Figure 1.1 The difference between project work and BAU work

Note: PRINCE2 Agile can be used to the left-hand side of the dotted line only (i.e. for projects). Agile can be used on both sides (i.e. used on projects and for BAU).

Previous Section   Next Section