10 February 2011

Prince2 and Scrum (Agile). Can they co-exist?

There are many papers on the internet which detail how the agile methodology of Scrum could be integrated into Prince2 but from what I have found many of these sites do not go into deeper detail on how this is to be achieved. Many of them suggest that Scrum should only be addressed in the ‘Managing Product Delivery’ process of Prince2 however whilst this is possible the author does not believe this is sufficient in its entirety.
Before diving into detail on how this is to be accomplished (and more so tailoring Prince 2 to Scrum) we must ask ourselves why we would want to integrate Scrum and Prince2.

With the dawn of 2011 most job boards in the UK and Australia seem to be flooded with job descriptions for ‘agile project managers’ where project managers are sought with formal project management skills (such as those in Prince2 and via the PMP / PMBOK) as well as those with formal training in Scrum (the leading agile methodology today, preferably being Certified Scrum Masters). This is somewhat peculiar given the Scrum framework removes the role of the project manager from its project environment. From the conversations I have had with such organisations that seek ‘agile project managers’ as well as recruitment agencies seeking to fill these roles, what I deduce is that most organisations are not entirely comfortable removing the role of the project manager from their organisation. This may be due to either resistance to change or perhaps there are other reasons, such as Prince2 being considered the tried, tested and prevailing norm within government bodies in the UK, Australia and certain parts of Europe. Prince2 does have its major successes and companies are not keen to waiver from this. Without focusing on the justification of the role of a project manager within an organisation what must be remembered is that Prince2 is not a project management function alone. Prince2 is a framework for the entire organisation. Prince2 is an organisation structure that has the capacity to deliver projects successfully. It provides management frameworks and roles / responsibilities for project executives, programme management, users, suppliers, project managers, team leaders, etc.

Prince2 states that a project must be tailored to fit its environment. Within this ‘tailoring’ it is possible to use Scrum to deliver projects. Why would you want to integrate Prince2 and Scrum? Prince2 provides structure, roles, responsibilities, a framework and the necessary documentation that is required on many high-end projects such as government or funded NGO projects. Scrum provides a delivery mechanism built by the ‘builders’ that focuses on the best possible ‘building’ technique that places customer orientation as key and embraces change. Both frameworks embrace change, customer orientation and delivering in stages or iterations.

This paper (please contact Johann@MasterBusinessChronicles.com for the full paper) presents a framework for Prince2 and Scrum to exist and succeed in the same environment. It answers the questions –

•    Is it theoretically possible to implement Scrum within a Prince2 environment?
•    How do we implement Scrum within a Prince2 environment?
•    Does a project environment remain Prince2 when you implement Scrum?