PRINCE2 Agile blends the power and control of the PRINCE2 methodology with the flexibility of agile ways of working. Read on to learn more about this exciting agile project management approach.
About PRINCE2 Agile
PRINCE2 Agile is a sophisticated extension of the original PRINCE2. It adapts PRINCE2 to fit an Agile environment, meeting the demands of organisations that want to apply Agile methodologies within a PRINCE2 framework.
Established by AXELOS in 2015, PRINCE2 Agile was developed in response to the growing interest in combining PRINCE2’s structured project management approach with the flexible nature of Agile techniques. agileKRC Founder, Keith Richards, was the main author of the PRINCE2 Agile guidance.
While PRINCE2 focuses on project management, PRINCE2 Agile integrates Agile practices typically found in Agile methods into a PRINCE2 framework. It’s important to note that PRINCE2 Agile (like PRINCE2) is not intended for managing ongoing routine work, but rather for project-based efforts. This contrasts with Agile methods such as Scrum and Kanban which can be used in both projects and operational (business as usual) environments.
The PRINCE2 Agile guidance builds upon PRINCE2’s established principles, practices, processes, and tailoring capabilities, enriching them with Agile concepts and methods to provide a robust framework for managing projects in Agile contexts.
PRINCE2 Agile rationale
The rationale behind PRINCE2 Agile is to harness the strengths of both PRINCE2’s focus on project direction and management and Agile’s emphasis on product delivery. This hybrid offers a comprehensive model that ensures project teams are equipped to manage and deliver projects effectively within Agile environments.
What does PRINCE2 Agile cover?
PRINCE2 Agile includes guidance on:
• Adjusting performance targets to deliver on time.
• Adapting PRINCE2’s practices, processes, roles, and management products.
• Aligning common Agile roles with PRINCE2’s project management team structure.
• Integrating Agile concepts, behaviours, and techniques into PRINCE2.
• Highlighting areas of focus when using Agile.
Tailoring PRINCE2 for Agile environments
Tailoring in PRINCE2 Agile revolves around the concept of balancing fixed elements, like time and cost, with more flexible aspects such as scope and quality. It’s essential in Agile projects to prioritise scope and quality while keeping timeframes (timeboxes) consistent. This is a key idea within PRINCE2 Agile and is known as ‘fixing and flexing’.
This turns traditional project management on its head. Traditionally, the ‘iron triangle’ of time, cost, and scope, meant that one side of the triangle could not be shifted without affecting the other two sides. When scope was fixed, this inevitably meant that time and cost would increase whenever delivery problems were encountered.
PRINCE2 Agile addresses this by ‘fixing’ time and cost but making scope ‘flexible’. This is done by prioritising requirements using a backlog and delivering Product Increments at the end of every time-box, or Sprint.
Targets in PRINCE2 Agile
Behind the concept of fixing and flexing in PRINCE2 Agile lie five targets. These five targets are based upon the Agile principles and values contained with the Agile Manifesto, and include:
• Be on time and hit deadlines.
• Protect the level of quality.
• Embrace change.
• Keep teams stable.
• Accept that the customer does not need everything.
PRINCE2 Agile principles
PRINCE2 Agile maintains the seven principles from the core PRINCE2 method, interpreting them through an Agile perspective.
• Delivering customer value early via a minimum viable product (MVP) (continued business justification principle).
• Learning through frequent feedback loops and retrospectives (learn from experience principle).
• Short stages consisting of time-boxed Sprints delivering regular Product Increments (manage by stages principle).
• Adapting roles and responsibilities to suit Agile environments (defined roles and responsibilities principle).
• Fixing time and cost and flexing scope and quality (managing by exception principle).
• Prioritisation of requirements (focus on products principle).
• Assessing the suitability of the project environment for agile working using an Agilometer (tailor to suit the project principle).
PRINCE2 Agile practices
While all seven PRINCE2 themes (or practices in the latest 7th edition of PRINCE2) are adapted for Agile environments, there’s particular emphasis on planning and progress monitoring. PRINCE2 Agile suggests using Agile-specific techniques for planning, such as Sprint Planning using backlogs and sprints, release planning, and applying more flexible risk management approaches.
PRINCE2 Agile processes
The seven PRINCE2 processes are tailored to fit Agile methodologies, ensuring that stages are planned as timeboxed sprints focusing on releasing Product Increments. The aim is to empower teams to deliver features that enable expected benefits while maintaining regular collaboration and feedback.
PRINCE2 Agile behaviours
Successful PRINCE2 Agile implementation requires attention to specific PRINCE2 Agile behaviours:
• Rich communication.
• Team self-organisation.
• Willingness to explore and adapt.
These behaviours are very much based upon the Agile values expressed in the Agile Manifesto.
PRINCE2 Agile focus areas
PRINCE2 Agile emphasises certain areas requiring special consideration in Agile ways of working, advising on techniques to enhance their effectiveness. The five focus areas in PRINCE2 Agile include:
• The Agilometer.
• Rich communication.
• Frequent releases.
• Creating contracts suitable for Agile projects.
In PRINCE2 Agile, management products are used to plan, manage, and control work. To tailor these in ways more suitable to Agile ways of working, project teams can consider information radiators, Scrum boards, Kanban boards, burn charts, or many of the Agile project management software tools which are available today.
When choosing such tools consideration should be given to how they can support planning, control, and communication within projects, ensuring visibility and shared understanding of progress.
PRINCE2 Agile certification
PRINCE2 Agile certifications validate knowledge and skills in applying Agile practices within a PRINCE2 framework. The PRINCE2 Agile Foundation level assesses basic understanding, while the PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner level requires a deeper grasp of how to apply PRINCE2 in Agile projects.
PRINCE2 Agile training
Accredited PRINCE2 Agile training can be taken in traditional classroom settings or online at your own pace. Training organisations accredited by PeopleCert, on behalf of AXELOS, provide these courses, preparing candidates for the certification exams and equipping them with the knowledge to apply PRINCE2 Agile effectively.
PRINCE2 Agile resources
For a deeper understanding of PRINCE2 Agile and the benefits it offers, individuals can access resources like webinars, guidance manuals, glossaries, and exam preparation questions. These resources support learning and offer insights into how PRINCE2 Agile can enhance project management capabilities.
If you want to learn what PRINCE2 Agile is, and the benefits it can bring, watch this webinar of PRINCE Agile coach Andew Kell entitled PRINCE2 Agile: PRINCE2 is not just for waterfall projects.
The PRINCE2 Agile manual gives comprehensive guidance to applying PRINCE2 in an Agile environment. The manual is the official PeopleCert text for PRINCE2 Agile accredited training. Its content forms the basis of the PRINCE2 Agile examination questions.
A comprehensive glossary of PRINCE2 Agile exists for both PRINCE2 Agile terms and more generic agile terms.
This in-depth article compares PRINCE2 Agile and PRINCE2.
agileKRC has helped shape agile thinking by leading the teams that developed AgilePM® and PRINCE2 Agile®. We take a practical, success-oriented approach. We begin by taking the time to listen and understand your needs, before offering our real-world experience and expert guidance.