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Project ready

Do you know the difference between Agile and a structured approach to project management? Which is best? Mike Acaster explains why a combination of both could help in business.

As any chartered accountant will appreciate, forecasted budgets can very often differ from actual spend and the return on investment may not always reflect the original business case. In today's fast-paced commercial environment, businesses are losing millions of pounds from their bottom line with projects that run over time, over budget and do not necessarily deliver against the original objectives.

To prevent this, there are a number of different structured project management methodologies in use by organisations all over the world. A structured approach to project management is designed to deliver any project of any size regardless of sector - and is focused on delivering projects on time and within budget.

Axelos - a joint venture between the Cabinet Office and Capita – has responsibility for the most widely used structured project management methodology, Prince2. Released in 1996, it was originally developed by the UK government. It has become increasingly popular and is now a de facto standard for project management in many UK government departments and across the United Nations' system.

Like other structured approaches to project management, it gives a scalable means to control of resources that can be tailored to specific projects - and the ability to manage business and project risk more effectively. It isolates the management aspects of project work from the specialist contributions and the means of delivery. The specialist aspects can then be easily integrated into a secure overall framework for the entire project. One of the key strengths of Prince2 in particular is that it requires an ongoing business justification for the investment to deliver a specific project. Because Prince2 is generic and based on proven principles, organisations adopting the method can substantially improve their organisational capability and maturity across various areas such as business change, construction, IT, mergers and acquisitions, research and product development.

This is an extract from an article in the May/June 2015 edition of Chartech, the magazine of the IT Faculty.

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