21.1 PRINCE2 guidance on Managing a Stage Boundary
The purpose of the Managing a Stage Boundary process is to enable the project board to be provided with sufficient information by the project manager so that it can review the success of the current stage, approve the next stage plan, review the updated project plan, and confirm continued business justification and acceptability of the risks. Therefore, the process should be executed at, or close to the end of, each management stage.
Projects do not always go to plan and in response to an exception report (if the stage or project is forecast to exceed its tolerances) the project board may request that the current stage (and possibly the project) is replanned. The output from replanning is an exception plan which is submitted for project board approval in the same way that a stage plan is submitted for approval.
The Managing a Stage Boundary process is predicated on dividing the project into management stages.
A project, whether large or small, needs to ensure that the products it creates will deliver the benefits being sought, either in their own right or as part of a larger programme. The continuing correct focus of the project should be confirmed at the end of each stage. If necessary, the project can be redirected or stopped to avoid wasting time and money.
It is also important to recognize that projects can go wrong or can be affected by external factors that invalidate the business justification. An early identifier of potential failure is the project manager’s forecast that any of the project or stage tolerances are likely to be exceeded. In such cases it is important to have a mechanism for corrective action in order to bring the project back into the right direction.
A positive decision not to proceed is not failure. However, providing insufficient information that prevents the project board from making an informed decision is itself a failure as it may lead to a wrong decision.
The Managing a Stage Boundary process provides a means by which an exception process can be implemented.