The Inside PRINCE2 series continues with this look at whether you need a particular type of software to go with the methodology.
“I would like your suggestions on which software can apply the methodology of PRINCE2,” said the email from a project manager from Brazil. I love getting emails from readers, and it is good to have the opportunity to set the record straight about certain things. It was interesting that this question had been asked at all, so I thought it was worth answering here.
The short answer is that there is no software that applies the methodology of PRINCE2. PRINCE2 doesn’t work like that. This is what the manual says:
PRINCE2 is a non-proprietary method… [it] is truly generic: it can be applied to any project regardless of scale, type, organization, geography or culture.
PRINCE2 is tool-agnostic, so it doesn’t rely on any type of technology to make it work. I have used it in organizations using Niku and Microsoft Project, but that is just for producing scheduling information, and in the case of Niku, resource planning through the use of timesheets. You could use any scheduling tool. Or none at all.
If you search online for PRINCE2 software you will find some companies who say their software can help deploy PRINCE2 as a method in your organization. Project in a box, for example, or Project Progress, both have PRINCE2 ‘compatible’ software. I haven’t tried either of these (although I have had Project in a box on my radar for a while). I can’t tell you if they are any good – they might be. But they are certainly not essential for deploying and using PRINCE2. Personally I would be hesitant about using a project management software product particularly tailored to one project approach, as I have to question how easy it is to pick and choose the bits of the method you want to apply. The great thing about PRINCE2 2009 is that it is far more customisable than previous versions, and that allows project managers infinite flexibility in how they use it. I imagine that it would be far more time consuming to manage customisable options in a software product than by letting an experienced project manager get on with doing their job. If you do want to compare software, check out my project management software reviews.
How would you have answered this question?