15.1 The PRINCE2 approach to the Progress theme
The purpose of the Progress theme is to establish mechanisms to monitor and compare actual achievements against those planned; provide a forecast for the project objectives and the project’s continued viability; and control any unacceptable deviations.
Two of the principles of PRINCE2 are managing by stages and continued business justification. The Progress theme provides the mechanisms for monitoring and control, enabling the critical assessment of ongoing viability.
The Progress theme provides such mechanisms for all management levels (delivering, managing, directing) within the project management team, and for corporate or programme management outside the project.
15.1.1 What is progress?
Progress is the measure of the achievement of the objectives of a plan. It can be monitored at work package, stage and project level.
15.1.2 What are progress controls?
Progress controls ensure that for each level of the project management team the next level of management can:
- Monitor progress
- Compare level of achievement with plan
- Review plans and options against future situations
- Detect problems and identify risks
- Initiate corrective action
- Authorize further work.
15.1.3 Exceptions and tolerances
An exception is a situation where it can be forecast that there will be a deviation beyond the agreed tolerance levels.
Tolerances are the permissible deviation above and below a plan’s target for time and cost without escalating the deviation to the next level of management. There may also be tolerance levels for quality, scope, benefit and risk.
Progress control involves measuring actual progress against the performance targets of time, cost, quality, scope, benefits and risk, and then using this information to make decisions (such as whether to approve a stage or work package, whether to escalate deviations, whether to prematurely close the project etc.) and to take actions as required.