PRINCE2 and the Combat Estimate

Submitted by Alex Smith on Fri, 03/11/2017 - 16:29

The PRINCE2 methodology and its purpose in giving structure to projects is well-documented.  And, of course, having processes to follow, documentation templates to make use of and a clear list of roles and responsibilities that need to be fulfilled is all incredibly useful stuff.

But this will only get you so far.

If your team does not understand the benefits that come from following PRINCE2’s approach to project management it is unlikely to be properly adopted. Bearing this in mind, the way in which PRINCE2 is presented to them is critical in developing the necessary buy-in you need for it to have the desired impact.

You may well be familiar with the Combat Estimate – an iterative planning process used by defence to formulate plans. In brief, it asks military personnel to consider:

  • What are the enemy doing and why?
  • What have I been told to do and why?
  • What actions/effects do I want to have on the enemy?
  • Where can I best accomplish each action/effect?
  • What resources do I need to accomplish each action/effect?
  • When and where do these actions take place in relation to each other?
  • What control measures do I need to impose?

Reduced to its barest essentials, this acts as a kind of aide memoire, ensuring that key factors aren’t overlooked during the planning process, thereby exposing the team to unnecessary, potentially serious risk and putting their chances of success in jeopardy.

PRINCE2 does much the same thing.

It should be tailored to meet your needs and one way of approaching is to consider each process it advocates as a kind of Combat Estimate in its own right – ensuring that at every point during the project lifecycle your team is focusing its attention on answering the questions that really matter – facilitating robust and worthwhile upfront planning and subsequent control, thereby increasing the likelihood of a project meeting its objectives.

For more information and advice relating to this or any other project-related matters, please feel free to contact us