Lesson 01: Starting a New Project
Welcome to the course!
This course is delivered in 3 iterations. Each of them reviews PRINCE2® from a different perspective and adds more detail by building on top of the previous one.
This is the first iteration; the shortest, and the simplest one. There are only 5 lessons here to give you an overall understanding of the methodology. You don’t have to remember everything that is discussed here; they will be reviewed again in the next iterations.
Enjoy the course :)
Based on AXELOS PRINCE2® material. Reproduced under licence from AXELOS. All rights reserved.
Note: PRINCE2 2017 edition is now called PRINCE2 6th edition.
- 00:13 – And so, I will start at the beginning
- 00:17 – First, how does a project start?
- 00:19 – Well, somebody somewhere has an idea
- 00:22 – And we say that this idea is the trigger for a project
- 00:26 – This idea could be an update to a process, develop a mobile app, an office move, organizing an event or even impeaching a President
- 00:38 – So, where do you think these big, bright ideas come from?
- 00:42 – Well, they come from somebody with authority in the organization
- 00:46 – And PRINCE2 calls this the Corporate, Programme, or Customer
- 00:51 – So, corporate management is another word for senior management
- 00:56 – Portfolios or programme? Well, many large organizations will have a programme office
- 01:01 – Or perhaps the idea is requested from the customer of the organization
- 01:06 – So that’s why customer is mentioned as well
- 01:09 – So this gives us Corporate, Programme, or Customer
- 01:12 – And this is where we say ideas come from
- 01:16 – So what does this idea look like? You know, what format will it be in?
- 01:21 – Well, the project needs to have some information and this can be in a one or two-page document
- 01:28 – So, it can have many formats, according to PRINCE2
- 01:32 – For example, Richard Branson is famous for writing contracts on the back of napkins in a restaurant
- 01:38 – So, the Project Mandate - it could be like an e-mail, the minutes of a meeting, a one to five-page document, and so on
- 01:47 – So what information would you expect to find in this idea document?
- 01:52 – Well, we need to know the reasons for the idea
- 01:55 – So what problems does it solve and how exactly does this help or how exactly is it going to help
- 02:02 – So, do we have an idea of the scope and the quality expectations, and what are the expected costs/benefits?
- 02:12 – PRINCE2 calls this idea document the Project Mandate
- 02:15 – And mandate is a nice word to use as a mandate is an official order or commission to do something
- 02:22 – So, what happens next?
- 02:24 – Well, we have the project mandate which contains the why information and perhaps the costs/benefits or, hopefully, the costs/benefits as well
- 02:34 – The Corporate Programme or Customer, or CPC for short, appoints a person to look after this idea
- 02:40 – And this role will be responsible for the project
- 02:44 – PRINCE2 calls this role the Executive
- 02:48 – They are interested in value for money, so return on investment
- 02:52 – They own the business case, and they are always asking, “Is this project still worth doing?”
- 02:58 – So now the Executive is appointed, what will they do next?
- 03:02 – Well, they appoint another role and this role will be the Project Manager
- 03:06 – The Project Manager will run the project and should have a good working relationship with the Executive
- 03:13 – They should also know how to facilitate, be assertive and be risk aware and able to communicate
- 03:19 – It’s also good if they have a good sense of humor, as they will need it
- 03:24 – The Executive then needs two more roles
- 03:27 – So, someone to represent the customer who is asking for the solution
- 03:31 – And someone to represent the supplier who will actually do the work
- 03:36 – So they appoint the Senior User(s) and this can be one person or a group of people
- 03:42 – For example, for a new sales application for a sales department, they could appoint the Sales Manager and one or two colleagues who have a really good understanding of the sales process
- 03:53 – So they will be able to provide the requirements information
- 03:58 – And the Executive will then appoint the Senior Supplier(s)
- 04:02 – So this role represents the people who will create the product or service
- 04:06 – The Senior Supplier wants to make sure not to over-promise
- 04:12 – And they want to make sure to deliver a product that fits the customer needs and of course get paid for doing this
- 04:19 – So, these three roles drive the project
- 04:21 – And PRINCE2 calls this the Project Board
- 04:25 – Perhaps you have heard the name Steering Committee; well, that’s what it is
- 04:29 – They don’t spend much time on the project; perhaps 1 to 4 hours a month
- 04:34 – They are there to direct the project and make decisions
- 04:39 – The Project Manager runs the project on their behalf on a day-to-day basis
- 04:43 – And the Project Manager will seek advice from the Project Board if needed
- 04:49 – So now I’ve introduced three levels so far
- 04:52 – So the CPC, that’s where ideas come from, let’s say; the Project Board who direct the project; and the Project Manager who manages the project
- 05:02 – The first process in a project is the SU process and the main objective of this process is to review these ideas and see if they are worth doing
- 05:12 – For example, for every great 10 ideas that we might have, only 2 may be chosen to become projects
- 05:19 – So, you know that an organization has to spend its money wisely
- 05:23 – So we cannot spend it on just every idea that comes up
- 05:28 – The full name for this SU process is the Starting up a project process
- 05:32 – And this is also known as the Pre-Project Process as this process is focused on evaluating the ideas
- 05:41 – The project will only really begin if this idea is chosen to become a project
- 05:46 – And we will see an example of this later
- 05:51 – So the SU process evaluates each idea and provides a brief report about this idea
- 05:57 – Then the Project Board will be able to read this brief report and see if the idea is worth investing in or killing
- 06:05 – So what kind of information do you think the Project Board needs to decide if this is a good idea or not?
- 06:13 – Well, they need to be clear about the why, so the reasons for the project
- 06:18 – Some information may come from the Project Mandate and the Project Manager can add extra information if needed or should add extra information if needed
- 06:27 – The Project Manager will get this information or extract this information from the Senior User
- 06:34 – The Project Manager will then also create a description of the main project deliverable
- 06:40 – In fact, we call this the Project Product Description
- 06:44 – This can be like a one to three-page document
- 06:47 – It does not need to be 100 pages
- 06:49 – For example, for a new sales application, a one-page document would give a really good overview on this application or what we can expect from this application
- 07:01 – The costs/benefits information will also be added by the Project Manager into a section which we call the Outline Business Case Section
- 07:10 – And the known roles so far will be noticed, mainly the Project Board and the Project Manager
- 07:16 – We also refer to this as the Project Management Team so far
- 07:20 – So this is the main information that is gathered during the starting of a project process
- 07:27 – The name of this brief report on the idea is called the Project Brief, which is another good name
- 07:34 – So the objective of the SU process is to prepare a brief overview of the idea that was proposed
- 07:42 – In some cases, the Project Mandate will be quite detailed
- 07:46 – Which includes, which can include a good description of the main deliverable
- 07:51 – So the more detailed information in the Project Mandate, then the less work to do in this SU process
- 08:00 – The next step will be the planning stage and PRINCE2 calls this the Initiation Stage
- 08:06 – So here the Project can spend a number of weeks defining the project in detail
- 08:10 – That depends on the size of the project, of course
- 08:12 – So, it’s a good idea to have a plan for this stage
- 08:16 – And this is the first plan created in a project
- 08:20 – So this stage plan will be used by the Project Manager on a day-to-day basis to run the Initiation Stage
- 08:29 – A good way to think about each process is the inputs and the outputs
- 08:34 – So the input for the SU process is the Project Mandate
- 08:38 – And the outputs are the Project Brief and the Stage Plan for the Initiation Stage
- 08:45 – We are now finished with the starting of a project process
- 08:49 – The Project Manager will now ask the Project Board to review the idea, so to review the Project Brief
- 08:57 – This will be the first decision by the Project Board
- 08:59 – And they will read the Project Brief and discuss
- 09:03 – If the decision is no, then the project stops right here
- 09:06 – And the Project Manager can move on and perhaps evaluate a new idea, which might turn into a project
- 09:13 – If the decision is yes, then the project can begin and move on to the next stage, the Initiation Stage
Please note that the latest edition of PRINCE2, which was initially called “PRINCE2 2017 edition” is now called “PRINCE2 6th edition”.
So far, we’ve talked about starting up a project. What do you think should be done next?
- Each project has a trigger. What do we call this trigger in PRINCE2?
- What topics are usually covered in the trigger?
- What’s the name of the highest role in the project, who is responsible for the return of investment?
- What are the two main outputs of starting up a project? What topics are covered in them?
- What’s the first Project Board decision about?
- Project mandate
- Project mandate contains very high-level information about the purpose of the project, as well as its scope, quality, cost, and benefits. Remember that it’s a very simple document.
- One is the Project Brief, which covers general information about the project (reasons, scope, quality, cost, benefits, and team structure), and the other is our plan for the next stage.
- Check the Project Brief to see if it’s a good idea to proceed with this project.
About your trainer, Frank Turley
Frank is on a mission to help aspiring project managers gain practical experience. He does this through his writings, sample projects, tips, and innovative ways of teaching the PM methodologies.
He’s one of the most influential PRINCE2 trainers in the community, and has helped many learners familiarize themselves with this interesting methodology, and use it to improve their project management systems.
Besides giving training in PRINCE2 and Agile/Scrum, he’s also a co-author of P3.express, which is a lightweight project management framework that is easy to teach, to learn, and to use.
Here you can submit your questions related to the content of the course. (For other questions, use the support system). The trainer's reply will be email to you in 48 hours.
This lesson is part of the first 30% of the course, which is available for free, even without registration.
You can purchase the course to access all lessons, additional material, and coaching:
More info and purchase options