3.6 Important points about PRINCE2 Agile and this manual
PRINCE2 has been used and implemented in a wide variety of situations and has evolved significantly since it was first published in 1996. Agile has had a similar journey, but also comes in many different forms.
In order to correctly understand PRINCE2 Agile and this manual, the reader must be aware of the following eight guidance points which are intended to provide clarity where there is potential for ambiguity, and accuracy where there may be misconceptions. These points are summarized in Table 3.4 for quick reference.
- All references to PRINCE2 refer to the edition created in 2009 (Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2). This version is already enabled to work with agile; it just needs to be tailored to suit any given project. Configuring PRINCE2 in the most effective way for agile is a matter of where to put emphasis and where to add further levels of detailed guidance. Nothing needs to be removed or significantly changed, as this is achieved through blending agile into PRINCE2 and tuning PRINCE2 appropriately.
- PRINCE2 allows for any style of working, such as with environments that involve high levels of informality, collaboration and trust. It should be understood that PRINCE2 should not be thought of as a ‘traditional project management approach’ in the stereotypical sense of being predominantly ‘Waterfall’, ‘big design up front’, ‘bureaucratic’ and using a ‘command and control’ culture. PRINCE2 does not suggest that a project should be run in this way, and much of its guidance is to the contrary.
- Most of the heritage and thinking behind agile has come from IT and software development, but PRINCE2 Agile does not assume an IT context – although it can be used in an IT context, it is not an IT framework or an IT method.
- Many agile approaches and frameworks are created solely for IT situations – for example, eXtreme Programming (XP) and the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). PRINCE2 Agile will only make passing reference to IT-only frameworks (see Table 2.1 for brief descriptions).
- The most well-known agile framework is Scrum, and PRINCE2 Agile is written with the view that although Scrum can rightly be described as being ‘agile’, the converse is not the case: it is not true to describe agile as ‘using the Scrum framework’. Other frameworks exist and a framework is only part of the agile way of working.
- Although agile appears in many forms, the use of the Scrum framework and (to a lesser extent) the Kanban framework (either separately or in combination) make up the vast majority of what agile practitioners use. There are many other frameworks and approaches but when this manual uses expressions such as ‘commonly used in agile’ or ‘widely used in agile’ it will usually be referring to either of these two frameworks. It is important to note that Scrum and Kanban are not project management frameworks, and a project manager role is not defined in either. On their own, and in isolation, they cannot be used to manage a project. They can, however, be used on a project as part of an approach to delivering products, as long as they are contained within a wider project management framework such as PRINCE2.
- The term ‘agile’ when used on its own in this manual refers to a general family of behaviours, concepts, frameworks and techniques that is widely accepted throughout the agile community as being part of the agile way of working. The terms ‘behaviours, concepts, frameworks and techniques’ also encapsulate other similar terms such as methods, principles, values, mindsets and approaches.
- PRINCE2 Agile does not see working in an agile way as a binary condition (i.e. you either are or you are not working in an agile way). It always sees agile as a question of how much (or how little) it can be used according to the situation that exists. To illustrate this point, PRINCE2 Agile does not refer to ‘agile projects’ as this would infer that some projects are agile, whereas others are not. PRINCE2 Agile is written with the view that agile behaviours, concepts, frameworks and techniques can be applied to any project.
PRINCE2 (2009 version) is already enabled for use with agile.
PRINCE2 is suitable for any style of project and is not a ‘traditional’ project management approach as is typically contrasted to agile.
PRINCE2 Agile is for any project and not just for IT projects.
‘IT-only’ frameworks and techniques are mentioned in PRINCE2 Agile but not extensively.
There is much more to agile than the Scrum framework. Agile is not Scrum.
The most ‘commonly used’ agile approaches are Scrum and Kanban, but they are not suitable for managing a project in isolation. However, they can be effectively used in a project context.
The term ‘agile’ (in this manual) refers to a family of behaviours, concepts, frameworks and techniques.
Using agile on a project is not a question of ‘yes or no’: it is about ‘how much’.
Table 3.4 Summary of the key points in Chapter 3