An Overview of PRINCE2 Agile®
PRINCE2 Agile is a relatively new concept from AXELOS (the owner of PRINCE2®), first published in 2015. It’s a tailored form of PRINCE2, suitable for What is Agile? environments such as Scrum. PRINCE2 Agile does not contain an Agile delivery method, and supports the existing ones instead.
PRINCE2 Agile is described in an official manual with the same name, which is available in hardcopy and PDF at the TSO webshop, and other online book stores such as Amazon.
The PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner exam is open book, but candidates can only use this book during their exam.
- SU: Starting up a Project
- IP: Initiating a Project
- SB: Managing a Stage Boundary
- CP: Closing a Project
- DP: Directing a Project
- The above image assumes that Scrum is used in the delivery level, which is not mandatory.
- The number of stages, releases, and Sprints are just examples, as well as the exception in the third stage.
- The diagram is schematic and many details are not shown.
Stages, releases, and iterations
Stages are NOT Agile iterations, but similar to the normal setup in PRINCE2 are set based on the management needs of the project. Each Stage contains one or more “release”, and each “release” contains one or more “iterations”. Following the DSDM terminology, iterations are usually called “timeboxes” in PRINCE2 Agile.
Plans are created as usual, with the default responsibilities. Then Work Packages would be the basis for creating the release plans and iteration plans (Team Plans), while their high-level aspects have been defined in the Project Plan and Stage Plans from the beginning.
Delivery team members are empowered to decide on minor changes, as long as they do not affect the baselined management products. Otherwise, the usual change control process would be run, with escalations based on Targets. Therefore, a limited level of adaptation exists in the delivery layer, and higher-level adaptation would happen in the higher layers, and specially in the Managing a Stage Boundary Process.
Fixed time, fixed scope projects
The suggested approach in PRINCE2 Agile is to have fixed time and cost for the project, similar to DSDM. Consequently, the Contracts would be fixed-price. When the customer asks for a new feature, they have to swap it for one (or more) of the initial features mentioned in the contract, with the same size.
PRINCE2 Agile defines What is Agile? as a set of behaviors and practices rather than the use of an adaptive lifecycle, and consequently, the manual is focused on providing generic guidelines on common behaviors in Agile environments rather than providing a complete integration between the PRINCE2 process model and Agile lifecycle.
PRINCE2 Principles in Agile Projects
Principles are not supposed to be tailored in PRINCE2. The following pages only explain how each principle will be interpreted in Agile environments:
- Continued Business Justification
- Learn from Experience
- Defined Roles and Responsibilities
- Manage by Stages
- Manage by Exception
- Focus on Products
- Tailor to Suit the Project Environment Principle
Tailoring PRINCE2 Themes for Agile Projects
All themes need to be tailored to be useful in Agile projects. The following pages describe some of the general considerations in tailoring them:
Tailoring PRINCE2 Processes for Agile Projects
PRINCE2 Agile doesn’t add, remove, merge, or split any of the original PRINCE2 processes, but gives a description of how they can be tailored for Agile projects:
- Starting up a Project
- Initiating a Project
- Directing a Project
- Controlling a Stage
- Managing Product Delivery
- Managing a Stage Boundary
- Closing a Project
Tailoring Management Products for Agile Projects
The following are the official management products in PRINCE2 and PRINCE2 Agile:
- Benefits Management Approach
- Business Case
- Communication Management Approach
- Configuration Management Strategy
- Plan (including Project Plan, Stage Plan, and Team Plan)
- Product Description
- Project Brief
- Project Initiation Documentation (aka PID)
- Project Product Description
- Quality Management Strategy
- Risk Management Strategy
- Work Package
Changes in the baselined products are managed formally, while other changes (e.g. on user stories) are managed informally by the delivery level. More on this on the Change Theme.
Roles in PRINCE2 Agile
All default PRINCE2 roles still exist in PRINCE2 Agile, and their responsibilities have not changed much, except for the recommendation to empower the delivery team.
While PRINCE2 Agile frequently mentions the Scrum roles such as Product Owner and Scrum Master, as if they are a fixed part of the system, however, it doesn’t considers them as default roles, and uses the more generic roles mentioned below. More on this in the Organization theme’s page.
- Original Roles
- Additional Roles
The original PRINCE2 responsibilities tables have not adjusted to include the new roles. The new roles are not even mentioned much through the manual and it’s not clear how they are supposed to be used, and how they are connected to the rest of the methodology.
PRINCE2 Agile introduces the following additional concepts, which are useful in Agile environments:
- Health Check
- Guidance Points
- Definition of Done
- User Stories
- The Focus Areas
There are two levels of certification for PRINCE2 Agile:
- PRINCE2 Agile Foundation: It assumes no knowledge of PRINCE2 and Agile, and covers both of them in a basic level. The exam doesn’t have any prerequisite.
- PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner: It assumes that the candidate is familiar with PRINCE2 and Agile, and focuses on tailoring PRINCE2 for Agile environments. Candidates should have a PRINCE2 Foundation, PRINCE2 Practitioner, or PRINCE2 Agile Foundation certificate before taking the exam.
Both exams are available online, and candidates can take them after taking a classroom, elearning course (e.g., this elearning course from the author of this wiki), or even after doing self-study. Vouchers for the exam can be bought directly from PeopleCert (the examination institute for AXELOS certifications), or from one of the accredited training organizations (such as Management Plaza), which is usually more affordable because of the discounts the training organizations have.
Written by Nader K. Rad
This is (and will be) a work in progress: More details will be added in the future, depending on the feedback.
This wiki is developed and managed by an accredited trainer, independent of AXELOS. While aligned with their guidelines, it’s not an official resource.