PRINCE2 and Scrum Combined

Many managers think that Prince2 and Scrum are two totally different things, aiming at totally different objectives while others talk about combining them so here is another post to the series on Agile Development where I am not solely discussing about Scrum rather how Prince2 and Scrum could work together in an organization. I have introduced more than one options of combining Scrum and Prince2 but I will focus more on my tried and tested recipe which has never let me down and has proved to be very effective in all sorts of projects.

So lets start !! If you wish to work with Scrum and Prince2 simultaneously you can definitely do it using one of the various ways of combining PRINCE2 and Scrum:

1- Use Scrum and use some of the “stabilisers” from Prince2 such as Risk Log, Issue Log, and Highlight Reports. Helpful for organisations that are still new to Scrum and want some additional assurance. Using the stabilisers still comes at a cost though and these should be included as Sprint Backlog items to illustrate to the Product Owner how much effort they are costing.

2-Scrum is only used for the delivery of a work package (i.e. a Prince2 work package). The work package may equate to one or many sprints, but Scrum is just used to execute the work package, the rest of the project management is done in the Prince2 method.

3- Using Scrum internally but to outside organisations/departments providing a Prince2 wrapper, facade or interface. All an outside organisation will see is the Prince2 wrapper you are providing. And it is a way that some organisations adopt Scrum from the bottom up (i.e. without management knowing about it).

The much more common approach for trying to combine Scrum and PRINCE2 is to limit the use of Scrum to Execute a Work Package activity as part of the Managing Product Delivery process i.e. the option 2 given above i.e. use scrum only for the development and delivery of the work package in order to make sure that the development process is agile and the delivery is on time. While all the documentation can be done according to the Prince2 framework for an organisation. Prince2 provides the management frameworks, roles and responsibilities for project management, program executives, users, suppliers, and project managers, team leaders etc.

Scrum is an iterative and incremental agile software development framework focused predominantly in delivering. Scrum is all about fast and effective delivery. Projects require certain level of organisation and governance, which could be nicely provided by Project Management methods or frameworks such as PRINCE2. PRINCE2 is all about managing the projects’ process while within PRINCE2 the delivery process is a black box. This makes Scrum a natural fit to the PRINCE2 for ‘Managing Product Delivery’ process.

Scrum is a great methodology to use for project management but sometimes there is a huge gap that exists between the ideal agile approach and the reality. So taking too many optimistic assumptions can lead to project failure. This makes PRINCE2 the project management wrapper around Scrum.

PRINCE2 wrapper around the Scrum makes its implementation much easier and moreover their combination can add value to the customers. Hence Scrum and Prince2 complement each other and make project management relatively easy.

By successfully completing various projects using this combination of Prince2 and Scrum I can conclude that this combination provides the agile delivery and effective management during different stages of the project life cycle.