Prince2® or Agile: Which is Right for Your Project?

by Andrew Barker / 3/9/2017 2:39:25 PM

Tuesday the 21st of February saw the offices of LINKIT host the second IT NOW MeetUp - looking at the subject of the  “Agile Carnival”. Guest speaker Andrew Barker (Project and Change Management Enthusiast) researched the extent to which PRINCE2® can still be applicable in projects and in which situations PRINCE2 or Agile (or both) is preferred. Andrew's co-speaker, Marjan Venema (Software Developer and Agile fanatic) looked at the importance of trust()in(g) within project environments.

In ths follow-up article to the event, Andrew Barker explains the key trends in this hotly debated arena, and explores what practitioners are really thinking.

Since the release of the “The Manifesto of Agile Software Development” in 2001, the war between PRINCE2® and Agile has been slowly brewing, with plenty of support for both sides…“there is plenty of agility in PRINCE2®”, “PRINCE2® is dying!”, “Why pick a side? Mix and Match!”… “PRINCE2® is Waterfall therefore is not Agile”.

In recent times the war has bubbled over from behind the project management scenes into a more public environment: these and similar statements are all over the business social media channels at the moment. As companies strive to remain relevant and competitive in the wild corporate jungle, new ways of working have been developed, and new methodologies for project management created.

It is true that in order to survive companies must have better agility in responding to customer needs, be they internal or external; but what's the truth behind the so-called "death" of PRINCE2®? Is it a thing of the past and from now on should project and change initiatives only ever follow an Agile approach? 

Across the North Sea, the Agile Holland community group in The Netherlands held a workshop to dive into this topic further. With over 60 Agilists present, the session helped answer some of those questions and more as they looked at the history of these methodologies, looked at best-practise examples of both and decided as a group the potential answer to whether projects should still work according to PRINCE2® or not.

Surprisingly, in a group comprised mainly of software developers, dev ops, product owners, etc. only 20% of the group believed Agile to be truly better than PRINCE2® whilst 80% remained neutral for a variety of reasons. (Less surprising no-one thought PRINCE2® to be better than Agile… sadly there were no master builders present).

The most interesting result of the evening was the result to the question “Is PRINCE2® dead (or dying)?”which split the group (almost) right down the middle... (see image).

Following a final breakout session looking at the question “Why still work with PRINCE2®?”, resulting in a whole wall littered with pros and cons, it was clear that whilst Agile remains the go-to methodology for Software Development, overall there are still plenty of advantages to using PRINCE2®, especially when relevant to the project and the business need at hand.

About the Author:

Andrew is a Brit living in Holland and working across Europe on international projects. With over 10 years’ experience working in project management environments, Andy eventually qualified as a PRINCE2® & Agile Practitioner and for the past four years has been a full-time Project Manager at Iron Mountain. He also runs a Side Hustle at KER and KER for troubleshooting and advice on the subjects of Projects, Change and Processes.

For more information about the Agile Holland workshop and its results feel free to contact Andy via e-mail or LinkedIn:

Latest Book

Cover for Management of Portfolios