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05.04.2011 Using PRINCE2® with PMBOK® and Agile®

Companies often ask whether they should base their Project Delivery Framework on PRINCE2® (OGC Projects in Controlled Environments) , PMBOK® (PMI Project Management Body of Knowledge) or Agile®.

Unfortunately it isn’t that simple!

PRINCE2® sets out what a project manager (and others in the project management team) should do whereas PMBOK® sets out what a project manager should know. In comparison Agile® sets out how to do it.

PRINCE2®, being less prescriptive on how the job should be done doesn’t insist that Earned Value Analysis is performed or even that a Gantt Chart is produced unlike PMBOK®. PRINCE2® also omits discussion of people or contract management which are both contained within PMBOK®. Generally PRINCE2® provides guidance on the essential elements of managing a project without imposing techniques or tools. What PRINCE2® does stipulate is the use of a Business Case throughout the project lifecycle to ensure the project outputs continue to align with the needs of the business. Also PRINCE2® recommends that complex projects are broken into defined stages to allow for review and re-validation of the project before continuing with the next stage.

PRINCE2® and PMBOK both agree on using a breakdown structure (PBS for PRINCE2 and WBS for PMBOK) for breaking the project into discrete work packages or deliverables. PRINCE2® comprehensively defines the requirements and acceptance criteria of the work packages but doesn’t describe how to deliver them. This is where an Agile® approach can be very useful for work package delivery.

Several comparisons have been made between PRINCE2® and the PMBoK and if you want to know more this one from AMPG is worth a read – Pdf

Phil Reid


Philip Reid