The suitability of PRINCE2 for engineering infrastructure

Stephen Keith McGrath, Stephen Jonathan Whitty


The view that PRINCE2 was not suitable for application to infrastructure was identified in a study done for a separate purpose, namely to examine project governance and methodology, which is not reported in this paper. It was asserted by several participants in interviews conducted with a sample of experienced practitioners across a range of industries and disciplines. This paper follows up on those comments by conducting an examination of PRINCE2 from an engineering infrastructure perspective to investigate the validity of this assertion. It takes a deductive, definitional approach to determine if there are any features in it that would cause difficulty for engineering infrastructure use. 17 features were examined and 15 were found to have difficulty in application to the project management of engineering infrastructure. The remaining two found inconsistencies that were unlikely to cause too much difficulty. The features causing difficulty include non-generic terminology for the terms project, lifecycle and stage, using a product rather than a project based process, use of an iterative product delivery process unsuited to predictive projects, use of a  delivery process for all project phases, assumption of a board governance model with inappropriate accountabilities, lack of clarity around use of the project plan, and absence of a lifecycle appropriate for engineering infrastructure, with PRINCE2 effectively self-declaring its need for a higher-level project lifecycle/ methodology from somewhere else. The paper concludes that PRINCE2 is quite poorly suited to managing engineering infrastructure projects and identifies that some of the reasons for this are likely to also cause difficulty for many ICT projects as well.


project management methodology implementation; project governance; change management; PRINCE2


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