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This will be a placeholder for my PRINCE2 foundation exam preparation, with aim to place all core learning material in a single page for on-the-go. Disclaimer: This is not intended to serve as a substitute for your learning, and below contents are largely based on Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2, published by Office of Government Commerce in United Kingdom.


Project: a management environment that is created for the purpose of delivering one or more business products according to a specified Business Case.
  • Projects have specific business context, a temporary structure, a life cycle
  • benefits can take form of financial(increase profit), strategic, legislative(fulfill legal requirement)
  • stakeholders: customers, users, suppliers, sub-contractors


Starting up a Project

Objective: authorities exist, sufficient info. available, appointment of roles, plan project initiation, inform the organisation
  • SU1 Appointing an Executive and a Project Manger 
    • ratify the key elements of the Project Mandate(information created externally to the project that forms terms of reference) 
    • identify Executive & Project Manager, and their responsibilities 
    • confirm availability, acceptance, commitment, then appoint to respective roles 
  • SU2 Designing a Project Management Team 
    • define project management team structure - appropriate size 
    • identify candidates - draft job descriptions, determine responsibilities & requisite skills for each position 
    • consider creating a supplier forum where there are many suppliers 
  • SU3 Appointing a Project Management Team 
    • define roles and responsibilities/accountable - consider appropriateness of training & availability of time 
    • reporting and communication lines 
  • SU4 Preparing a Project Brief 
    • establish quality expectations, Acceptance Criteria(product description), initial risk log 
    • forms outline of Business Case 
    • Output - to be signed off by Executive 
    • Project Brief - include high-level information on what needs to be done, why, who will be involved in the process, how & when will be done 
    • Daily Log - informal record of any events, decisions, agreements, monitoring tasks 
    • Risk Log - initial list 
    • might be sufficient to for initiation stage in small project 
  • SU5 Defining Project Approach 
    • decide how the work will be approached - buy the solution, made to measure, developed in-house, contracted to third party, build from scratch, based on specific technologies 
    • identify constraints - time, money, quality, resource, availability, security 
    • identify range of options, best practice on product, existing solutions, training needs, decision authority delegation to supplier 
    • evaluate possible options & select the best fit 
  • SU6 Planning an Initiation Stage 
    • initial Stage plan - how to produce Project Initiation Document(Project Brief+management team details, Project Plan, Risk Log) 
    • reporting & control arrangements for initiation

Initiating a Project

first stage of the project, triggered by Authorising Initiation(DP1)
  • IP1 Planning Quality
    • assess applicability of system & standards possessed by customer & supplier
    • assemble Project Quality Plan: expanded Acceptance Criteria, change control procedures, responsibilities, procedures, change budget, documentation
    • refine Acceptance Criteria, establish quality assurance, set up a Quality Log(hold details of all planned & actual quality checks
  • IP2 Planning a Project
    • draft Project Plan - major products, activities, risks, estimation of timeline, resource requirements & costs
    • assess complexity, dependency or inter-department involvement, coherency with other documents
    • update Risk Log - prepare appropriate contingency plan, likelihood of each risk occuring
    • update Business Case - measurement of benefit, summarise different option considered from SU5, sensitivity analysis, in line with corporate standards
  • IP3 Refining the Business Case and Risks
    • ensure Business Case answers why project need to be done
    • update Risk Log with any extra items identified during the process
  • IP4 Setting up Project Controls
    • Communication Plan - establish decision-making procedures, confirm stage boundaries, escalation process, identify tolerance level for each party
    • project controls - establish monitoring mechanisms, resource req. for monitoring, identify external stakeholders, procedure for reporting
    • try to restrict external communication requests to copies of existing project reports
  • IP5 Setting up Project Files
    • objective - institute a system of storing & retrieving all information relevant to the project management, quality checking, assign filing responsibility
    • Issue Log - issue #, type, author, date, description, priority, status
    • Lessons Learned Log: record aspects that go well or badly, contain cause of abnormality, performance of specialist method used, recommendation for future, effort measurement
  • IP6 Assembling a Project Initiation Document
    • focal point at which all information relating to the 'what, why, who, how, where, when & how much' gathered for agreement by the key stakeholders, then for guidance
    • precursor to SB & DP2
    • Project Initiation Document(PID) - project organisation structure, job descriptions, project definition, elements compatibility, narratives, background

Directing a Project

Senior management to make key decisions in project requirement, funds authorisation, resource commitment, communication with external parties
Ad-hoc direction, project re-evaluation, management by exception, general advising
  • DP1 Authorising Initiation - confirm team appointment, approve plan to develop PID, commit resources, request necessary logistical support 
  • DP2 Authorising a Project
    • expenditure granted only after Business Case approval, risk assessment, time & cost estimation
    • Decision whether to proceed with the project
    • PID components
  • DP3 Authorising Stage or Exception Plan - overlooks cs stage
    • Output: approved stage plan, exception plan, progress information
    • reassessment of risk situation, project progress
    • Objective: to prevent surprises, inform board members whose attention is harder to get in later stage 
    • Time and budget tolerances exceeded raised as exceptions to determine whether to continue on with current project
  • DP4 Giving Ad Hoc Direction
    • Board advice on clarification needed on options, resolve conflict, potential impacts, organizational changes
    • Ensure project remains focused, progress according to plan, make decisions, escalation of progress report to upper management
    • Interference should remain within boundaries stated at start
  • DP5 Confirming Project Closure
    • Formal handover of responsibility/ownership of products to end users
    • Operational and support environment in place
    • Record lessons learned(establish future method of result verification), release resources, project closure notification

Controlling A Stage

core activities: allocate work, check on progress, ensure quality, control issues, monitor risks, report on progress, watch for plan deviations
  • CS1 Authorising Work Package(:set of instructions issued to the Team Manager, in conjunction with MP1)
  • CS2 Assessing Progress
    • minitor resource utilisation, product development, review quality log, update Stage Plan and Product Checklist
    • output: Product Status Account(status information of the Work Package products), stage status information(progress summary)
  • CS3 Capturing Project Issues - enter issues in the Issue Log as soon as they are identified; assess whether issue is general, request for change, Off-Specification, a new risk 
  • CS4 Examining Project Issues - assess issue's effect on costs, timescales, value, risks, requirements, quality; devise/recommend alternative courses of action
  • CS5 Reviewing Stage Status - balance between planning ahead & reacting to events
    • objectives - check periodically that current stages is kept within tolerances, review project status
    • identify variation on progress, future resource availability, check for problems, review external developments, trigger CS1 to authorise any new work
    • output - plan deviation, tolerance threat, stage end notification, trigger for project end, work trigger
  • CS6 Reporting Highlights - produce/distribute Highlight Report to the Project Board
  • CS7 Taking Corrective Action - implement actions to resolve deviations, trigger corrective action via CS1, or request for advice
  • CS8 Escalating Project Issues - triggered by tolerance threat, PM should always present a recommendation when escalating issues
    • Exception Report: situation description, business impact, options identified, compromise with cost, timeline, scope, quality, benefits, risk appetite
    • other outputs: trigger for premature close, Exception Plan request, concession
    • speed in notifying the Project Board in 3-steps - a brief statement, supporting information, exception planning
    • CS9 Receiving Completed Work Package - check receipt, complete Quality Log entries, quality file records, product transfer to configuration management

Managing Product Delivery

Objective - to allow team manager(supplier) to agree work, accomplish delivery, then hand it back to PM
  • MP1 Accepting a Work Package - agreement on what to deliver, constraints, tolerance margins, reporting requirements, approval how-to, communication plan, Team Plan(allocation, planned/actual effort, progress), risk analysis, planning, resourcing, updates to the Quality Log, requirements viability, Product Description
  • MP2 Executing a Work Package - Checkpoint Reports(:progress reports to PM at defined frequency)
  • MP3 Delivering a Work Package - obtain acceptance for developed products, handover completed products, inform PM for Work Package approval

Managing Stage Boundaries

plan the next stage before the end of each stage, along with review&update of Business Case, risk situation, Project Plan
  • SB1 Planning a Stage - ensure detail sufficiency for day-to-day control against the plan, commitment of the board & PM, board awareness; produce Next Stage Plan
  • SB2 Updating a Project Plan - reassess/refine Project Quality Plan & Project Approach; record audit trail between cause & effect if the project scope has changed
  • SB3 Updating a Project Business Case - reassess timeline, cost, benefits, corporate environment, external resources/suppliers; review Exception Plan
  • SB4 Updating the Risk Log
  • SB5 Reporting Stage End - request for authorisation to proceed, produce End Stage Report; 'no surprises'
  • SB6 Producing an Exception Plan - replaces the current Stage Plan when project is forecast to go outside the tolerance level; careful not to overestimate ability to recover

Closing a Project

ensure the original objectives have been met, current project has run its course, operational regime takes over or become inputs to subsequent project/larger programme
  • CP1 Decommissioning a Project - confirm delivery, quality assurance, check operational/maintenance environment in place, notify closure, disbanded resources; handover to support group 
  • CP2 Identifying Follow-on Actions - document all unfinished work, re-examine quality, effectiveness of benefits after a period
    • Post-Project Review Plan - what/when/who/how benefit achievements are to be measured
  • CP3 Evaluating a Project - assess quality & risk management, identify lessons learned, document End Project Report(:evaluation of PID objectives, management performance)


provides information on requirement, how & by whom, resources needed, when events will happen
  • PL1 Designing a Plan - decisions on approach to planning
    • decide on presentation & layout(diagram vs. text), planning tools, estimating/monitoring methods, levels of plan, recipients, update frequency, contingency budget
  • PL2 Defining and Analysing Products - identify specialist/management products, product description & quality requirements, sequence in logical order of creation
    • output: Product Breakdown Structure, Product Descriptions/Configuration Item Records, Product Checklist, Product Flow Diagram
  • PL3 Identifying Activities and Dependencies - identify all necessary activities, establish interdependencies between activities, internal/external dependencies
  • PL4 Estimating
    • resource types - skills, experience levels, from where
    • estimate effort/duration - depends on detailed understanding of the activity, product, level of assumptions in place
  • PL5 Scheduling - smooth resource usage under time constraint, identify additional resource effort needed, calculate total cost
    • draw an activity network - list of activities & durations based on dependencies, assign earliest/latest start/finish time, duration, total float
    • assess resource availability - specific information such as percentage availability, to be noted
    • produce a draft schedule & assign responsibilities - allocate resources in order of ascending float, prioritise zero float activities on the critical path (Gantt chart as alternative)
    • level resource usage, confirm control points, calculate costs, finalise Schedule
  • PL6 Analysing Risks - examine each resource with potential risk content (e.g. holidays, training), mitigate by more frequent monitoring for early warning
  • PL7 Completing a Plan - add narratives on plan explanation, constraints, external dependencies, assumptions made, risks identified, countermeasures, tolerances applied
    • Gantt chart does not show why & how it will happen


Business Case: description of reasons & justification based on estimated costs, risks & benefits, savings
  • covers entier scope, drives decision making processes, used continually to align progress
  • composition - reasons, options, benefits expected, risks, cost, timescale, investment appraisal, evaluation(GAP analysis - good, average, poor)


  • four layers of management: corporate/programme management, Project Board, Project Manager, Team Managers
  • three project interests - business(business need, value for money), user, supplier
  • Project Board - executive(key decision maker, Business case development, project organisation, progress monitoring, problem referral, formal closure, post-project review), senior user(providing user resources, ensure user requirements are captured & benefits delivered by products, senior supplier(accountable for product quality)
  • Project Manager facets - line management, strategy, customer, team work, planning, monitoring, user needs, changes, product/project needs, product status, quality, communication, funding
    • role to manage the work, not to do it, must avoid becoming involved in low-level detail to myopic extent
  • Team Manager - ensure production of products to an appropriate quality in timescale at acceptable cost
  • Project Assurance - monitoring performance & progress independently of PM
  • Project Support - administrative help, support with specific planning, control software, configuration management
    • Configuration Librarian


  • identify whether targets are achievable, resources & activities required, problems & risks associated
  • benefits - avoid ad hoc decisions, think ahead, how to measure progress, communication, gaining commitment, provision of personal targets
  • elements - products, activities needed to create, validate the quality, resources & time needed, dependencies between activities from outside, timeline, monitoring points, tolerances
    • sequence - products -> prerequisites & quality requirements -> assumptions -> activities -> resources -> risks -> control points/revised activities & resources -> time & cost
  • narratives should explain - plan scope, planning approach, implementation approach, monitoring plan, management reports to be issued, identified constraints/risks/dependencies, assumptions, tolerances to be applied, quality control methods
  • Project Plan - baselined at the end of each stage to reflect: progress already made, changes in circumstances, revised forecast of cost/duration
  • Stage Plan - close to the time, at shorter duration, developed with knowledge of the performance of earlier stages
  • quality plans - identify products, specify who will check at what points
  • Exception Plan - normally produced to replace Stage Plan when exceed agreed tolerance levels
    • also sensible to add resources needed to impact assessment on change requests 


  • purpose - project remains viable against Business Case, producing required products in accord. to quality criteria, carried out to schedule under cost plans
  • enable management to monitor progress, compare achievement with plan, review plans & options, detect problems & identify risks, initiate corrective action, authorise further work
  • event driven: control occurs because a specific event has taken place; e.g. PID completion, creation of Exception Plan
  • Project board controls - DP, Highlight Reports, Exception Reports
  • PM - day-to-day basis control within a stage, adjustments within defined tolerances, uses Work Package authorisation to allocate work to others
  • Tolerance: permissible deviation(small problems & estimating error) from a plan without bringing the deviation to the attention of Project Board
    • two standard elements - time & cost, can be plotted on cost/time tolerance graph
    • others - scope(divided line between essential/desirable features), risk appetite(risk PB is prepared to take), benefit(applied to Business Case), quality
    • contingency: budget including time&money set aside to carry out a contingency plan, which will only be invoked if a linked risk actually occurs
    • change budget - used to pay when users change their minds on specification
  • Product Descriptions, Work Package, quality control, Quality Log, Risk Log
  • change control - requirement change, specification revising due to legislation change, addition of acceptance criterion, extra features suggest themselves for inclusion, resource availability, sub-contractor failure to meet commitment
  • Highlight Report: achieved in current period, expectation for next period, issue & new risks & resolution suggestions
  • Exception Report - warning that a serious problem(deviation outside tolerance margins) exists that needs a decision
  • Stages: partitions of the project with management decision points; a collection of activities & products whose delivery is managed as a unit
    • peer review - by other personnel/organisations to carry out independent assessment; introduce a fresh perspective
    • gate review - formal end stage assessment where external scrutiny is applied to assessment, to determine whether project should continue or not
    • management stages - according to key decision points, time scale, risk scale
    • technical stages - typified by use of particular set of specialist skills(e.g. spec., design, build, training)

Risk management

  • risk: uncertainty of outcome
  • access to reliable/up-to-date information, decision making process supported by risk analysis & evaluation, risk monitoring process, balance of control
  • principles - assess risk appetite, assign responsibilities, ownership
  • Project Board responsibilities - notify PM of external risk exposure, make decisions on PM's recommended reactions to risk, balance between risk & potential benefits, notify corporate/programme management
  • risk management cycle
    • risk analysis - identify -> evaluate -> suitable responses -> select
    • risk management -     ↑<- monitor & report <- plan & resource <-↓
    • evaluation - impact assessment on probability, effect scale, time, cost, quality, scope, benefit, people/resources
    • select - balance beween cost of action vs. probability & impact of risk occurring
  • risk profile - plot with probability & impact as axes
  • assess risk interdependencies across different levels, with other projects
Quality in a project environment
quality assurance: creates & maintains the quality system, ensure quality system operation, quality requirements satisfaction
Project Quality Plan: quality methods for the whole project, criteria determined by Product Description, composed during IP1
Acceptance Criteria: definition in measurable terms of the characteristics
quality policy - quality management system & quality organisation structure
Quality Log - details of all quality checking activities

Configuration management
purpose - to manage assets, combination of products developed & managed
specify versions of products in use/existence & hold information on: status, ownership, relationship with products
control changes, audit the records
baseline: snapshot of a product & any component products, frozen at time for a particular purpose, never discarded
basic functions
    planning - how/where products will be stored, filing&retrieval security, version identification, responsibilities
    identification - project created from, type of product, title, latest version number
    control - product submission, issue, issue copies
    status accounting - written/approved/ready, report from Configuration Librarian
    configuration audits - look for discrepancies, process standard, normally carried out at the end of each stage

Change control
assessment of impact of potential changes, their importance, cost, judgemental decision by management
Project Issue management - anything that could have an effect on the project including: change in requirements, customer/supplier, legislation, new risk, implementation error/problem
procedure - capture/log the issue, assess to decide on issue type, investigate required action, document actions/confirm completion, review Issue Log regularly to monitor progress 
    Request for Change: cause a change to the specification or Acceptance Criteria, additional cost to carry out the change normally funded by the customer
    Off-Specification: error or omissions found in work already conducted/planned, additional cost normally fall on suppliers


Product-based planning
  • Product Description of the final product - first task to assist the customer to write
  • Product Breakdown Structure: hierarchical structure that breaks down a final product into its constituent sub-products
    • makes easier to estimate effort, resources, timescale needed, specific quality criteria, avoid omitting products
    • grouping helpful when too many components show up in a single level
  • Product Descriptions - aids understanding of purpose & estimation, define quality criteria, determine how to test quality
    • ensure clarity, specify quality checks(checklists)
    • in accordance to standards set by user/customer
    • elements: title, purpose, composition, derivation, format & presentation, allocated to, quality criteria/method/tolerance/skills(mandatory vs. desirable features)
  • Product Flow Diagram: sequence of development of products and any dependencies in-between
    • composition & derivation sections, check naming consistency
    • e.g. business requirements/procurement process/supplier information -> ITT -> bids -> product evaluation reports-> selected product -> training/test strategy/product development -> accepted product -> fully operational
  • types of product - specialist product(development), management product(reports, issues, plans)

Change control to specialist products
if a product is to be changed, Product Description should be checked for any necessary changes
upon product approval, PM should not authorise any work that would change it without PB approval
Changes: request to change deliverables/specifications, suggestion to improve products, record of current/forecast failure to meet requirement(off-specification)
every issue to be logged as a Project Issue in the Issue Log
prioritise - a must, an important change, a nice-to-have but not vital, a cosmetic change(of no importance), does not involve a change
impact analysis - identify, what needs to change, effort needed, impact on Team/Stage/Project Plans, BC, risks, whether deviation beyond tolerances
for Off-Specifications beyond tolerance margins, PM follows the exception procedure, escalate(CS8) to PB attention(DP4)

Quality review technique
assess whether product is fit for purpose or conforms to requirements, when presented for review
benefits - early identification of defects, objective measurement, collaboration to improve quality, user willingness to commit
review chairperson - check readiness for review, review session organisation, ensure actions/results are agreed, provide final review sign-off
producer - creators of the products, answer questions about product, agree action to resolve, obtain sing-off from reviewers
reviewer - assess product against quality criteria specified in Product Description, ensure errors are fully understand, sign-off any follow-up action list items
scribe - assist chairperson, take notes, read back the agreed actions & action owners at the end of the meeting
Project Assurance - check everyone performs their role, ensure quality review procedure is followed, check that follow-up actions are properly monitored, log & report
Quality review planning - identify products subject to review, timescale for each quality review, identify reviewers & add them to resource plans
follow-up - notification to PM of result, plan of any remedial work required, followed by sign-off, update Quality Log


summarise contents from ILX supplements

Study Plan

Showing 9 items
January 27, 2013 1-3.Introduction, 22.Product-based planning   
January 29, 2013 Ch.4 SU recorded in wiki  
January 30, 2013 Ch.5 IP issue log, lessons learned  
February 3, 2013 Ch.6-8 DP, CS, MP  
February 4, 2013 Ch.9-11 SB, CP, PL   
February 5, 2013 Ch.13-16 components Business case, organisation, plans, controls  
February 6, 2013 Ch.17-24 Components+techniques risk management, quality, configuration, change control, product-based planning  
February 7, 2013 practice exam 39-44 range, need review on components  
February 8, 2013 12:00 Foundation exam Actual exam almost identical to practice exam. Will record explanations to sample exam questions to better exploit patterns  
Showing 9 items