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Five targets of PRINCE2 Agile

by Simon Buehring
This article explores the reasoning underpinning the five key focus areas in PRINCE2 Agile, shedding light on the transformative impact the approach can have on project management practices.
Five Targets in PRINCE2 Agile |


The integration of PRINCE2 with Agile methodologies has taken shape through a distinct ‘fix and flex‘ perspective applied across its six key objectives: time, cost, quality, scope, risk, and benefits. This adjustment is not a mere tweak but a significant shift from traditional PRINCE2 practices, steering towards a method that champions adaptability and responsiveness.

At the heart of the ‘fix and flex’ model lie the five targets of PRINCE2 Agile. Designed with the dynamic essence of Agile projects at their core, these areas emphasise the necessity for ongoing flexibility.

We will look at the underpinning principles of these five core areas, shedding light on the transformational capabilities of PRINCE2 Agile methodology.

The five targets

There are five targets in PRINCE2 Agile. These are:

  • Be on time and hit deadlines
  • Protect the level of quality
  • Embrace change
  • Keep teams stable
  • Does the customer need everything?

Be on time and hit deadlines

Adhering to schedules and achieving deadlines is not merely commendable – it’s the linchpin of proficient project management. The advantages of on-time project completion are broad, surpassing the immediate gratification of meeting targets.

Advantages of delivering on time

  • Achieving timely delivery allows stakeholders and clients to rapidly leverage the project deliverables, facilitating quick realisation of the investment’s value.
  • Adherence to planned timelines simplifies the forecasting for upcoming project stages and maximises resource allocation efficiency.
  • Maintaining a record of punctual deliveries cultivates stakeholder confidence, reinforcing their trust in the project’s progress.
  • Certain projects are subject to external time constraints; in these cases, adherence to deadlines is paramount.
  • Progress delays can escalate costs; thus, punctuality is a key factor in controlling potential overrun expenses.
  • Consistently meeting deadlines positively impacts an organisation’s reputation, enhancing its image among clients and competitors.
  • No matter the duration – be it a swift two-week Sprint, a two-month phase, or a six-month endeavour – the principle of punctuality remains constant, underscoring its vital role in project management practices.

Protect the level of quality

Maintaining quality within traditional project management frameworks

All project management approaches aim for the delivery of high-quality outcomes. Traditional methodologies such as the waterfall model, which segregate projects into discrete stages, often fall prey to early phase extensions. This delay exerts pressure on succeeding stages, creating a time crunch.

This scramble typically leads to quality being compromised—a strategy that may appear beneficial short-term but is detrimental over time. A frequent manifestation of this issue is the curtailment of testing periods to meet looming deadlines.

How PRINCE2 Agile maintains quality

PRINCE2 Agile takes an alternative route to uphold the quality of the final product. It advocates delivering a reduced scope or using non-critical quality metrics when necessary, but never at the cost of fundamental quality. Taking shortcuts in quality can result in numerous downstream challenges.

Problems arising from quality compromises

Reduced usability – Products not fully vetted for quality may fail to satisfy user requirements.

Increased support needs – Products of low quality typically result in a surge of after-sales support to rectify numerous issues.

Diminished performance – Absent thorough quality control, the final product may perform below par, failing to meet stakeholder expectations.

Lowered user engagement – A product that fails to uphold promised quality can lead to a decline in user engagement and trust.

PRINCE2 Agile carefully avoids these common traps. It promotes a methodology where deadlines are respected without compromising the intrinsic quality. Its guiding principle is to strive for the consistent delivery of superior quality, even if it necessitates scope reassessment.

Embrace change

Navigating change in project management

Change is an inevitable part of project management. Rather than opposing it, success lies in forecasting, adjusting, and converting change into an asset. Change adoption facilitates the refinement of the final deliverable, increasing the likelihood of meeting user expectations.

A one-size-fits-all strategy isn’t applicable to change, and understanding the subtleties is key.

Handling minor changes

At the micro-level, subtle shifts often don’t significantly impact the overarching project structure. These changes are typically Agile and can be managed swiftly with minimal disruption. A common approach involves re-prioritizing requirements to interchange one for another of comparable magnitude, allowing for real-time adjustments without derailing the project.

Addressing major changes

Such changes have an impact on the fundamental project baselines. They require a more formalized response, invoking predefined change control mechanisms to ensure each significant modification undergoes thorough evaluation and approval before implementation. There are times when changes are so substantial they necessitate a re-evaluation of the project’s overall feasibility. In rare instances, if the underlying business justification is undermined by these changes, it may even necessitate the cessation of the project.

Change is a testament to the fluid nature of projects. By embracing it, the final output evolves to reflect not only the initial vision but also the accumulating wisdom and insights gained throughout the project’s lifecycle.

Keep teams stable

The drawbacks of expanding project teams

In conventional project management, a common reflex to a project falling behind is to increase team size. However, this often brings about a counterintuitive result: a further delay as newcomers integrate into the project. Consequently, within the PRINCE2 Agile framework, there is a zero tolerance for cost excess, which typically equates to adding human resources.

Agile’s take on team size and composition

Agile methodologies value informal communication, self-organising teams, and the decomposition of work into short, controllable cycles. These methods can be particularly disrupted by changes in team size.

Drawbacks of introducing new team members

Induction period – Acclimatising new members to the project demands time, which can cause initial slow-downs.

Complexity in communication – Each new member increases the intricacy of the communication network, potentially hindering the efficacy of information dissemination.

Resource redistribution costs – Transferring a member from another project or area may inadvertently hamper that original area’s progress.

Impact on team chemistry – Pre-existing teams have cultivated a synergy; new individuals can disturb this dynamic, triggering a need for recalibration.

While there are scenarios that might justify altering team makeup throughout a project’s life, PRINCE2 Agile underscores the value of team consistency, especially in brief iterations. It discourages the instinct to bolster staff numbers as a direct solution to project delays, recommending the optimisation of the current team’s performance instead.

Does the customer need everything?

Managing requirements in an Agile project environment

The onset of new projects often leads to stakeholders compiling comprehensive lists of desired features that encapsulate their vision for the project’s outcome. Yet, it’s clear from the usage patterns of common products that many functionalities go unused or barely touched by end-users.

PRINCE2 Agile poses a critical query: Are all the items on our requirement lists absolutely necessary? More often than not, the answer tilts towards a resounding “not quite”.

Streamlining for efficiency

PRINCE2 Agile advocates for the consideration of product features as prime areas for adaptation to manage project constraints. This does not imply that PRINCE2 Agile initiatives commence with the intention of reducing quality. In fact, the framework highly values timely delivery and unaltered quality. However, when limitations arise, it suggests revising the scope of deliverables rather than allowing deadlines to lapse or quality to deteriorate.

Benefits of a more streamlined model

This mindset frequently results in the early delivery of a ‘Minimum Viable Product (MVP)’. Although minimal, the MVP captures the essential value and features the customer truly needs. Subsequent iterations and the incorporation of user feedback allow for the addition of further features and improvements that align with actual user requirements, rather than speculations.

At its core, PRINCE2 Agile distinguishes between the ‘must-haves’, ‘should-haves’, ‘could-haves’, and ‘won’t-haves’, thus maintaining focus on the real priorities within a project.


The five targets within PRINCE2 Agile are key for modifying PRINCE2 to fit an Agile setting. These areas ensure a balanced approach to project management challenges, highlighting the need to sustain quality while managing timelines, and accepting the natural evolution of project objectives.

Coupled with PRINCE2 Agile’s emphasis on collaboration, these targets facilitate an effective Agile project management approach. This approach is designed to optimize productivity, reduce waste, and generate value, cementing PRINCE2 Agile as an efficacious framework for today’s project demands.

Within the PRINCE2 Agile framework, these five areas are instrumental in guiding project teams to harmonize the various pressures of project delivery while preserving expected standards of quality. The ability to incorporate changes enhances the suitability of the end product for user requirements.

Moreover, they place importance on team consistency, avoiding disruptions during a work iteration, and scrutinize whether the full scope of initial project requirements is essential.

Collectively, the quintet of PRINCE2 Agile targets empower the project to heighten team efficacy, cut down on redundancy, and provide customer value from the outset and consistently through the project’s lifecycle. This positions PRINCE2 Agile as a formidable asset for navigating the intricate and unpredictable terrain of today’s dynamic digital marketplace.

Learn from agile leaders

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.

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