An Overview of PRINCE2 Agile
PRINCE2 Agile is a new concept from AXELOS (the owner of PRINCE2), which is a tailored form of PRINCE2, suitable for Agile environments such as Scrum. PRINCE2 Agile does not contain an Agile delivery method, and supports the existing ones instead.
The first edition of PRINCE2 Agile was published by AXELOS on Jun 2015.
No plans are announced about a second edition, and because of the heavy investment in certification and training programs, it's likely not to have a new edition for years.
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.
PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner candidates can only use this book during their open-book exam.
The manual is not prepared by a group of experts, but by a single author. A number of contributor and reviewers have had some involvement in the process as well.
- SU: Starting up a Project Process
- IP: Initiating a Project Process
- SB: Managing a Stage Boundary Process
- CP: Closing a Project Process
- (DP): Directing a Project Process (note that not all activities in this process are shown in this diagram)
- The above image assumes that Scrum is used in the delivery level, which is not necessary.
- 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 are still set based on the management needs of the project, rather than turning into iterations. Each Stage contains one or more "release", and each "release" contains one or more "iterations". 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 Category:Management Products directly. Otherwise, the usual change control process would be run, with escalations based on tolerances. 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.
The suggested approach in PRINCE2 Agile is to have fixed time and cost for the project, similar to DSDM Atern. Consequently, the contract 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 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.
Tailoring done on PRINCE2
- Continued Business Justification Principle
- Learn from Experience Principle
- Defined Roles and Responsibilities Principle
- Manage by Stages Principle
- Manage by Exception Principle
- Focus on Products Principle
- Tailor to Suit the Project Environment Principle
Note: Principles are not supposed to be tailored in PRINCE2. The above pages only explain how each principle will be interpreted in Agile environments.
- Business Case Theme
- Organization Theme
- Quality Theme
- Plans Theme
- Risk Theme
- Change Theme
- Progress Theme
- Starting up a Project
- Initiating a Project
- Directing a Project
- Controlling a Stage
- Managing Product Delivery
- Managing a Stage Boundary
- Closing a Project
PRINCE2 Agile doesn't add, remove, merge, or split any of the original processes.
PRINCE2 Agile mentions some additional Management Products such as User Stories, but does not make it official, and for example, does not provide Product Descriptions for them. So, in this part, only the original Management Products and the way they are tailored are discussed.
- Benefits Review Plan
- Business Case
- Communication Management Strategy
- 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 baselines 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 and Responsibilities
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 team, still does not 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, or reflect any tailoring. 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.
- The Focus Areas
- Health Check
- Guidance Points
- Definition of Done
There's a PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner certification available, with the usual Practitioner level specification of other AXELOS standards such as PRINCE2 Practitioner. However, it's required for the participants to be PRINCE2 Practitioner certified before taking the PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner exam.
Participants can self-study, use eLearning courses, or take classroom courses for exam. A normal classroom course is 3 days and the exam is taken at the end of the last session. Those who self-study or use eLearning courses can take the exam online.