The Prenuptial Agreement
Before we try to help these two young lovers live together in harmony, it's important we understand their relative strengths, and also the type of housework they won't do!
PMBoK is strongest as a repository of knowledge, particularly of techniques and practices that can be applied to a wide variety of project situations. It is, after all, a "body of knowledge." I don’t like to say it’s a weak point, but PMBoK does not make a strong attempt to dictate the flow of processes, nor does it spell out detailed roles and responsibilities for many of the stakeholders in a project.
Now, PRINCE2 on the other hand has a strong, but flexible, set of processes that actually work. Most of the process steps relate in some way to items that can be found in PMBoK somewhere. There isn’t that much new about the ideas. That said, PRINCE2 is strongest in the way it deals with benefits management and stakeholder relationships … again, that’s just my humble opinion. I’m also a huge fan of PRINCE2 product descriptions.
So here’s a natural thing to do. If PRINCE2 has a strong process model and project lifecycle, why not set your project up based on that lifecycle? Indeed there are several gems in that process model that tend to make me get all evangelistic.
PRINCE2’s concept of separating "Start Up" from "Initiation", for example, is one of the Angel Choruses from my early project management days. All that this amounts to is having everyone agree on the basics of the project before we waste mind-numbing and expensive months planning out delivery for the wrong project. It is so blindingly obvious but something I needed PRINCE2 to tell me (and my executives) before its importance sank in.
In the diagram below, I show the outline of a simplified representation of a model I've now used successfully for a number of clients. The Execution Phase (and sometimes other phases such as Planning) can be divided into PRINCE2 Stages and, obviously, detail is needed for each organization.