PMBOK OR PRINCE2 ( A Comparative Study )

Table of contents
1. A - The PRINCE2: 4
1. B - The PMBOK: 4
2. A - The PRINCE2: 5
2. B - The PMBOK: 5
3. A - THE PRINCE2: 6
3. B - THE PMBOK: 7

Project management methodologies differ in terms of principles and considerations according to difference in work environments, project scales yet they all share the goals of achieving the job at the highest product quality, the lowest available cost and on time.
I had the opportunities of working in two projects each of them was being managed in different approach.
The Dubai Mall Construction project which was totally managed under the umbrella of the PRINCE2 where we had an English educated PM this was between the years 2004 and 2006 then from 2007 till the current time I am working in the construction of the Sidra Hospital and Medical Research Centre where my company OHL international the chief contractor is hiring an American designer who considers the PMBOK as their management guide.
Keeping in mind my previous experience with the PRINCE2 and comparing it to my current experience with the PMBOK clears the sky regarding how different the two approaches are.
This paper is aimed to compare the PRINCE2 against the PMBOK in terms of description, key features, deliverables and best use, then the paper will reach how deep knowledge of both helps approaching the best management methodologies.

1. Descriptions
1. A - The PRINCE2:
For defining the PRINCE2, I would rather go through the description of its origin the PRINCE trying to uncover the design logic of the PRINCE2 and why it was originally made for.
‘”PRINCE" stands for PRojects IN Controlled Environments and is described as a structured method for effective project management for all types of project, not just for information systems, although the influence of that industry is very clear in the methodology.´ (Wideman 2002)
From the above mentioned citation we may recognise that the PRINCE2 was designed to meet the mass need of controlling a project during its different phases.
During my work for the GPCC-Dubai our scope was to design, cast and erect the precast facade panels, work was planned in a product-based planning approach as it was controlled in stages and phases each was designed under the light of the whole job requirements and coordinated through configuration management and Total Quality Management terms.
1. B - The PMBOK:
The PMBOK which is famous for being the main teaching syllabus and guide of project management was always described as ‘The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) is an internationally recognised standard (IEEE, ANSI) that deals with the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques of to meet project requirements.’ (JAEGER 2007)
What I see our US interior designer doing in my current job is purely reflests this despription, they have like the whole job organised in task assignment sheet with deadlines with no barriers among project stages. Although they are stuck to the ANSI specifications as quality measurement, they feel free to revisit and modify their working plans in monthly meetings and coordination with other parties is truly done through corridors. It really looks like they have a guide yet they still can creat their own managent bible.
2. Key features
‘PRINCE2 project management methodology is a world-class standard for managing projects to a successful conclusion.’ (ProjectSmart, 2009) so is the PMBOK yet each of both has its own key features.

2. A - The PRINCE2:
During my previous experience in Dubai project I found the PRINCE2 which ‘...emphasis on dividing the project into manageable and controllable stages.’ (ILXGROUP, 2009) really fit to the role as our PM looked at the project from business point of view as he designed it to run in parallel with and to serve the mother organisation goals so PRINCE2 focuses on business justification considering the mother organisation construction along with the project organisational chart keeping roles clearly specified.
I would say that we confronted problems in both HR and procurement zones yet two committees were formed to fill in these gaps, but being additional to the project chart kept coordination problems rising ahead amongst those two committees from one side and other project’s teams on the other side
Looking at figure01 may help explaining the relationship between business and project when PRINCE2 is approached.
Figure 01 (Copland, 2007)
2. B - The PMBOK:
On the other bank of the river the US interior designers kept themselves fine with both HR and Procurement zones as these two existed in their initial project plan as an original and main parts of the job.
The PMBOK guides project managers to run a serial of tasks with their necessary tools in hands including HR Management tools, Procurement Management tools and the other tools for other scopes whom figure02 may brief.

Figure 02 (Ritchie, 2008)
It is here to say that the clearest weakness point of working as per a guide not clear methodology is dealing with unexpected changes, a good example in our case was the sudden change of the end-user requirements such as finishing materials and wall fixtures our interior designers really get confused when it comes to the point of change as they need to go through changes at their own risk making momentary response.
3. Deliverables
During any project’s life cycle a number of deliverables shall be produces to help tracking and reporting the progress, these deliverables differ up to the project’s nature, plan and management methodology yet each of the PRINCE2 and the PMBOK focuses on specific documents to be delivered at or by the end of the different stages of the project.
3. A - The PRINCE2:
As the PRINCE2’s framework is ‘scalable, systematic and can be used for a huge variety of different projects. It takes you through key project stages: starting up, initiation, controlling a stage, managing product delivery, managing stage boundaries and closing a project.’ (Knowledge Centre/Project Management - PRINCE2, 2009), it recommends the following managements products at or by the end of each of above mentioned stages these are briefed in Table A.

Stage Management products
Project starting up. • Project Brief.
• Outline business case.
Project initiating. • Project initiation documents.
• Business case.
Project managing. • Business case.
Project ending. • End stage report.
• End project report.
Table A: The Project Management Products when applying the PRINCE2.
3. B - The PMBOK:
On the other hand and for the same purpose of tracking and ensuring the project progress, the PMBOK give its own recommendation regarding the project deliverables.
Stage Project Deliverables
Project starting up. • Project Charter.
Project initiating. • Preliminary Scope Statement.
• Project Scope Statement.
• Project Management Plan.
Project managing. • Project Management Plan.
Project ending. • Administrative Closure Reports and Documents.
Table B: The Project Management Deliverables when applying the PMBOK.
Yet the PMBOK leaves the door open in front of creating, dismissing or replacing any of these documents subject to the project’s conditions
´There is no one-size-fits-all methodology.´ (Charvat 2003) so during this paper we found that each of the PMBOK and the PRINCE2 has its own personality including points of weakness and strength and it was not sufficient to follow any of them in its pure format modifications had to be done on each. Each was subject to necessary modifications.
A smart and creative combination of the PMBOK and the PRINCE2 may meet the project’s needs.


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George Dawson said…
I’m happy with this web based project management tool that I’ve started using. It makes dealing with my projects, tasks and teams much easier, as it helps both me and my team members understand what needs to be done to move each project forward.