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Project management + Agile: problem, meet solution

PRINCE2® was conceived as a formal, structured approach to help sort out complex project management issues. Agile methods started life as a family of developer-oriented software engineering approaches. They are very different animals, so how can they possibly work together?

People are an organisation’s most important asset and there is a war for the best project management talent in today’s market. A Computerworld survey found that, in 2015, 33 per cent of organisations planned to hire project managers. Demand will be particularly high for project managers who can oversee large projects that span the enterprise, have knowledge of Agile, and whose competencies span business and technology.

Best of both

Agile and PRINCE2 have gone a long way to professionalising project management and already share many elements. For example, both focus on the need for stakeholder buy-in and the need for effective sponsorship. There was already overlap between the two approaches when it came to defining roles and responsibilities and outlining project lifecycle processes. Now PRINCE2 Agile® enables organisations and project managers to scale work to precise requirements while being agile and responsive and limiting escalation of issues and delay.

Tailored approach

Senior management embrace tools and techniques for the delivery of change as these can provide a clear process to follow to realise change, yet a key element of the new PRINCE2 Agile Best Practice guide and qualification is the ability to tailor the approach taken to each project to achieve the best result. PRINCE2 describes how to tailor the method taken, while PRINCE2 Agile sets out the need to determine the appropriate use of agile techniques. PRINCE2 Agile is part of the AXELOS Global Best Practice Portfolio alongside the project and programme management (PPM) suite of products and the ITIL® service management standard. It is assessed by exam, leading to a recognised qualification. Accredited training suppliers support its use and people who already hold the PRINCE2 Practitioner qualification can take PRINCE2 Agile as an extension.

Competition becomes collaboration

In the past it was not unheard of for PRINCE2 and Agile practitioners to be in competition, if not outright conflict, as to the best approach. Critics of PRINCE2 accused it of focusing on a tick-box approach. Agile, critics would argue, focuses on keeping decision-making embedded within a team, at the risk of lack of senior oversight. That debate is now consigned to history. PRINCE2 Agile will benefit any project where PRINCE2 would normally be used to plan and control it, but where the team wants to introduce Agile methods, or where an Agile approach needs greater control. Organisations will be more reassured that ahead of even starting a project they have a clear view of the financial controls on it and also of the benefits to the bottom line from the iterative approach of Agile and its focus on fast delivery. PRINCE2 can underpin the business case for an Agile project – surely a marriage made in heaven.


About the Author
Dimitris Nicolaides is Business Development Director at PEOPLECERT.

This article was originally published in Business Reporter, April 2016. See more at:

ITIL®, PRINCE2® and PRINCE2 Agile® are registered trade marks of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.