PRINCE2 Agile 2016
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20.3 PRINCE2 Agile guidance for Managing Product Delivery

When combining PRINCE2 with agile, the Managing Product Delivery process and the use of work packages needs to be seen as a vital interface and linking process. It is the glue that joins together project management (where PRINCE2 provides lots of guidance) with product delivery (where agile provides lots of guidance).

It could be said that this process is more to do with ‘managing the interface’ between project management and product delivery, as opposed to ‘Managing Product Delivery’. The management of one specific work package (and the product or products contained within it) still needs to be carried out, but this is the responsibility of the team manager from within the agile team.

20.3.1 Work package definition

It is the definition of the work package that is at the heart of this interface. Therefore it needs to blend the complementary styles of PRINCE2 and agile. Blending this will vary according to the project environment, but the main guidance when defining a work package is:

  • It should be collaboratively defined by the project manager and the team manager (and the team), perhaps with agreement that there is visibility of both the team plans and the stage plans that they form part of; (this may take place as part of a sprint planning or release planning meeting).
  • The formality of reporting arrangements should be agreed (e.g. low-tech burn charts). Checkpoint reports may be done verbally or as a group. Perhaps the same information could be pulled from information on display, or the project manager could attend sprint demos.
  • Tolerance with respect to scope and quality could be defined in the work package (as well as in the product description(s)).
  • The product description(s) contained in the work package may be defined at a level that clearly describes what the team needs to deliver, while at the same time not being so detailed that they restrict the team and how they create those products.
  • Guidance on the use of appropriate agile behaviours, concepts and techniques may be appropriate if the delivery team would benefit from this.
  • Indicating the level of (internal or external) uncertainty relating to the work package would provide the delivery team with an indication of the levels of risk involved so that they could plan their approach to the work accordingly (e.g. this work package may be classed as complex and it is suggested that a lot of prototyping may be beneficial in this instance).
  • Agreement on what the work package may release (if anything) and the preferred size of the timeboxes involved – if there is more than one.
  • Agreement that the team plan will evolve, as it may be based on the self-allocation of work and because empirical forecasting is being used.
  • Guidance on the appropriate quality-checking techniques (e.g. using techniques the team is comfortable with or identifying certain reviews that the PRINCE2 quality review technique could be used for).
  • Guidance on the impact on external stakeholders (such as operations or the training department) with respect to how the frequent releases may need their involvement.

In some ways the work package is like a handshake, and if this partnership is built correctly it brings the benefits of control in a project environment, while at the same time allowing the delivery teams enough room to negotiate the uncertainties they will meet when working at the detailed level.

This process and the use of work packages may not result in significant changes in how agile teams work. The teams do need, however, to understand the role they play in a wider PRINCE2 context and also that they need to provide information in the form of reports (e.g. checkpoint reports) and logs (e.g. the quality register) in a timely manner to the project manager to enable the project manager to carry out their duties effectively.

Table 20.1 shows PRINCE2 activities for Managing Product Delivery and how they relate to agile artefacts and events (all product description references for PRINCE2 products are located in Appendix A).

PRINCE2 activities and products Applicable agile artefacts and events
  • Accept a work package:
    • Create team plan, A.16
    • Raise risks against the team plan, A.16
    • Update the quality register, A.23
    • Approve a work package, A.26
  • Artefacts:
    • Release backlog
    • Sprint backlog
  • Event(s):
    • Release planning
    • Sprint planning
  • Execute a work package:
    • Create specialist products
    • Update the quality register, A.23
    • Update the configuration item records, A.5
    • Update team plan
    • Create checkpoint report, A.3
    • Raise issues
    • Raise risks
    • Obtain approval records
  • Artefacts:
    • Sprint backlog (done/not done)
    • Information radiators, burn charts
    • Impediments
  • Event(s):
    • Daily stand-ups
  • Deliver a work package:
    • Update a work package, A.26
    • Update team plan
  • Artefacts:
    • Release backlog (done/not done)
    • Sprint backlog (done/not done)
    • Potentially shippable increment
  • Event(s):
    • Sprint review
    • Release review

Table 20.1 PRINCE2 Agile activities for Managing Product Delivery

20.3.2 How to ...

There are many behaviours, concepts, frameworks and techniques that are used in agile and referenced throughout this manual. Table 20.2 provides cross-references to some of the most relevant for use during Managing Product Delivery.

Chapter and section references

Plan releases and sprints

Chapters 12, 27, Appendix H

Planning based around features

Section 25.4, Chapter 27

Using tolerances for scope, quality criteria and work packages

Chapter 6, section 23.1

Define quality criteria and acceptance criteria

Chapter 25

Track progress

Chapter 15

Choose the quality method for a work package

Sections 11.3, 23.1

Use Scrum to help with product delivery

Appendix H

Use Kanban to help with product delivery

Section 20.4.1

Tailor any of the PRINCE2 management products

Chapter 23

Table 20.2 Relevant agile guidance for Managing Product Delivery

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