Using Prince2 in System Engineering Projects

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Abstract

PRINCE 2 is a project management methodology which is quickly growing in popularity in Australia, in both the public and private sectors, and is currently being proposed and assessed for use in the Department of Defence. While PRINCE provides comprehensive processes and products for the management of a project, it does not address the technical project issues in any detail. This paper examines how systems engineering, as defined in EIA/IS-632, can be applied within a PRINCE management environment. It concludes that while systems engineering is compatible with PRINCE, an understanding of systems engineering is essential in planning the project management approach, to ensure that the system engineering principles are not overly constrained or compromised.

Introduction

This paper considers the application of systems engineering principles within the framework of a project managed using the PRINCE 2 project management methodology. PRINCE 2 is a project management methodology which is quickly growing in popularity in Australia, in both the public and private sectors, and is currently being proposed and assessed for use in the Department of Defence.

PRINCE 2 is defined in the manual PRINCE 2 [CCTA 1997], and a short overview of PRINCE 2 is provided in the next section. In this paper all references to 'PRINCE', except where otherwise qualified, refer to the PRINCE 2 methodology.

The model used for defining systems engineering processes and products is EIA/IS‑632 Systems Engineering [EIA 632]. It is assumed that readers are familiar with this standard and it is not described in this paper.

While PRINCE provides comprehensive processes, products and techniques for the management of a project, it does not specifically address the technical project issues in any detail. Similarly systems engineering, while it specifies requirements for some management processes and products, tends to limit itself to the management of a project's technical aspects. For example, IS-632 places no restrictions on the organisational structure of the project team. In addition, PRINCE provides much more detailed guidance than IS-632 on the actual management and quality products produced in the project, the management activities themselves, and the order in which these activities should be performed.

The objectives of this paper are therefore to investigate the compatibility between PRINCE and systems engineering, and identify considerations and changes, if any, which are needed in applying PRINCE to systems engineering projects.

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