PRINCE2 Agile 2016
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F.1 Different forms of success

When using PRINCE2 and agile on a project it is important to distinguish between the following three different types of success:

  • the success of the business case in terms of the benefits delivered
  • the success of the project and the project management involved
  • the success of the agile way of working.

Aside from exceptional or unusual situations, it will always be the benefits that are the most important. Different stakeholders may have their own measures of success depending on whether they are suppliers or customers and what benefits they stand to gain from the project. Even if there are problems using PRINCE2 or agile or there are complications with the project, the customer may still be very happy if the product produced sells well and achieves the benefits that were forecast. Conversely, even if PRINCE2 and agile enable the project to come in ahead of time and under budget, the customer is unlikely to be happy if the final product does not sell as well as expected.

It is important to understand the relative merits of these three areas as they have a very clear order of priority.

It is important that all of these three areas are measured, and it is a sign of an organization’s maturity as to how well this is achieved and how the results are acted upon.

When measuring these three areas, it is important that there are no overlaps or blurring of boundaries between the areas, as they are quite different.

Measuring the success of the project and the success of the business case is already covered by PRINCE2, but measuring the success of how agile has been used is not. The areas to look at when reviewing the success or otherwise are identified by the Agilometer in Chapter 24. The question to ask for each of the sliders is:

  • How much did each area help?
  • How much did each area hinder?
  • Did we assess the slider correctly at the start of the project?

When an organization invests in improving how projects are delivered, it is important to be able to assess the merits of that investment. It is also important to be able to distinguish between the benefits delivered (as a whole) by the appropriate use of PRINCE2 and the benefits delivered by agile (as a whole). It may turn out to be the case that the benefits have been achieved through using the two together, as the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

PRINCE2, agile and PRINCE2 with agile are all enablers. Their contribution needs to be measured. If it is not being measured, it will not be possible to gauge success.

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