9. Theme: Plans
The Plans Theme - Part 1

The course focuses on the components of the method and how they help to structure project delivery. Delegates should note that evening work will be assigned which is not expected to exceed two hours per night.

Specific course content will include:

PRINCE2 Overview

  • The structure of the method and the guide will be introduced before we discuss the context within which a PRINCE2 project operates.
  • Principles
  • The seven PRINCE2 principles provide the framework for managing the project and are built on good practice developed from successful and failed projects.
  • Themes and Processes


The seven PRINCE2 themes are aspects of the project that must be continually addressed and integrated as the project journeys through its life cycle.

  1. Business Case
  2. Organization
  3. Quality
  4. Plans
  5. Risk
  6. Change
  7. Progress


The seven PRINCE2 processes encompass the chronological activities that are required to direct, manage and deliver the project successfully. The activities include pre-project, initiation and delivery, and end with project closure.

  1. Starting up a Project
  2. Directing a Project
  3. Initiating a Project
  4. Controlling a Stage
  5. Managing Product Delivery
  6. Managing a Stage Boundary
  7. Closing a Project


PRINCE2® is a [registered] trade mark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.

The Swirl logo™ is a trade mark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved


- Welcome to module nine, part one. This is the Plans Theme. And in this theme we're going to be looking at the purpose for the plans theme, types of plan that you are recommended to use in PRINCE2, the approach to planning that they recommend. We're going to take a look also at the different management stages and the differences between management stage and delivery stages. What are the requirements for PRINCE2? We'll talk about those. And we're also going to talk about the product-based planning techniques. It's quite a lot here, so we've got a number of videos for you. Let's take a look at the purpose. And the purpose of the plans theme is to facilitate communication and control by defining the means of delivering the products. So it's about communication and control. So we'll create a plan to give to other people, so we do communicate it. And by using it and trying to follow it, we keep control of the project. And so we will be defining how we're going to deliver the products in that plan. And the kind of questions we're answering in our plan, here we have it, what, where, who, why, when, how, how much. So all of those are going to be in the mind of the project manager when they write their project plans and stage plans. And then in the team manager when they write their team plans. So lots of big questions to be honest with there. I'm now gonna talk about the different types of plan that you come across in PRINCE2. We are going to influenced by the corporate programme or customer's plan. They may have a five year plan, maybe shorter, but what is common to have at the corporate level at least, a five year plan of what the company wants to achieve. And so therefore, they send out project mandates to investigate the viability of different projects. And that really starts the ball rolling for us in PRINCE2. Once we've got that mandate, that request to investigate a project, we are in our starting up a project process. And one of the products that we have to create is the initiation stage plan. That's the very first plan that we make in PRINCE2, it's for the initiation stage. So how long does it take? How much is it gonna cost? Who's doing what to initiate the project? Now, that initiation stage plan will go to the board and if they think this project is desirable, viable and achievable 'cause we'll also send up a business case as well, and they like the initiation stage plan, then we'll get busy in the initiation stage. And in the initiation stage we will write the project plan. Now, the project plan will cover the rest of the project, the delivery stages. And it will explain who's going to make what product, roughly speaking anyway. How much we think it's going to cost over the life of the project, and so forth. Answering those questions that we saw previously. But the project plan is intended to be quite high level and not very detailed. Because your plans and your projects certainly can carry on for many months, sometimes years. And most people tell me if they're in a fairly stable environment that they can maybe plan two months in advance, maximum maybe three if you're really pushing it. And then things get, because of unpredictability and teams changing and goal post moving, et cetera, et cetera, they can't really plan any further than that with any accuracy. So we can't manage the project's day-to-day with the project plan. We're going to have to break it up into manageable stages. And we will need a more detailed plan for each of those stages. So we have a high level project plan for those remaining stages, and detailed stage plans for explaining what detail, what we're going to do, how much it's gonna cost, et cetera, et cetera. And the project manager will be making all of these. So they make the stage plans, whether it's for the initiation or subsequent stages, they make the project plan. And all of these plans will go up to the board eventually to be approved when we need to, at the relevant time. Now, as well as having the more detailed stage plans, the third level of plan within PRINCE2 is the team plan. The project manager will have to negotiate with the team manager on work packages, and some of those work packages are going to be quite complex. Some of them might be fairly straightforward and quite easy to do. And the team manager who is responsible for creating those products will look at that work package and think, okay, now that's very straightforward. I know what to do, I don't need a plan. But if they look at the complexity of that work package and think yes, this is going to be tricky. We've got a large number of team members to help us make this one, we need to keep better control of this, we need to communicate the plan, they will probably write a team plan. Now, they may or may not show this team plan to the project manager. It's really, whatever the project manager wants and some project managers insist on seeing the team plan before they approve the work package. But the team plans are optional. And they're made by the team manager for their team, so their team understand how to make their work packages. So there are three levels of plan but there are four types and the fourth type is the exception plan. Now, the exception plan is created by the project manager as necessary. We might not have any exception plans required in the project. It really depends on what's happened. An exception plan is created when the project board tells us to make one. And they might tell us to make one because we've had a major exception. The project manager has come across an issue. And to resolve that issue, they know what they would like to do, but they may not have enough tolerance to do so. So they might not have enough money left or enough time within their tolerance to correct it. So the project manager escalates that up to the project board. If the project board have the ability to resolve it, then they will, otherwise they'll go up to the corporate programme or customer level, to get a decision from them. By the way, the project board will tell the project manager what the project manager has got to do. And they may tell the project manager, oh, it's fine. We'll just give you more time, more money, and you can just go correct it, no need to see every revised plan, you just go do it's fine. They may tell you to close the project prematurely. We hope that's not the case or sometimes maybe we do. It depends greatly on how this project is going and whether or not it's still desirable. But the third option is that the board request that you create in an exception plan. And the exception plan, basically explains how we're going to resolve this deviation. How we're going to get back on track. And the project board then we'll have to examine the exception plan. And if they like what they see, anything, yeah, this is going to work, then they'll allow you to continue with the rest of the stage. So the exception plan may replace the stage plan. But if it was a really very serious exception, project level exception that would delay the whole project beyond its tolerances, then this exception plan may replace the project plan. So this is why you have this connection between the project plan, exception plans, and the stage plan to exception plans because the exception plan could replace a project plan or a stage plan. It depends on what tolerance was breached. So that means you have to be careful, this language there are three levels of plan with the PRINCE2, but there are four types. And then of course, you still have to be aware of the corporate programme or customer's plan, which is up there outside of our PRINCE2 environment. Let's look at an example of how the plans might work in terms of a timeline. It will all start with the maybe five year corporate programme or customer's plan and they want your project to deliver products that will allow them to change the way that they work in some way. So they ask you to investigate this idea for projects. And one of the things that the project manager is going to do at this point, is to create an initiation stage plan. What are we going to do in stage one or initiation stage? So this plan will include the who, why, what, where, when, how much, of the initiation stage. So how much is it gonna cost? How long is it going to take to create our approaches our project plan, our updated and detailed business case and our benefits management approach. So we need to have a plan for that. And certainly for the large and more complex projects, initiation can take a really long time. So definitely very useful to have a plan for that. So we'll have our initiation stage plan. When the initiation stage plan is completed, that is going to go up along with our project be, up to the board and the board are going to look at the documentation they've been given including our initiation stage plan. And they are going to decide whether or not we should go ahead. So then they think this is a great idea, off we go. So we use our initiation stage well. When we have created all the things that we have planned to create in the initiation stage, then we give all of these documents up to the board and they decide whether or not we proceed with the rest of the project. And one of the things they've got to approve is the project plan. So we make the project plan in the initiation stage. And corporate programme and customer, they might love that plan or they might not. If they don't, you go back and you work it until they do. And they will then allow you to have authorization to start the project. But we cannot start making products yet because the project plan is not detailed enough. What we really need is a stage plan for the next stage. So yes, we've got a project plan, the board like that, but we need to make our first delivery stage plan. So this is actually now the stage two, the stage two plan, our first delivery stage. So the stage two plan will in more detail, explain what's going to be produced in stage two, how much it's gonna cost, what work package is going to have, et cetera, et cetera. And so the project manager has then got to give that to the board. The board have got to say, we like that, we don't like that. They'll negotiate until they get to stage two plan that the board want to approve. And so now we're talking, we've got a project plan that the board like, and we've got a stage two plan that they like, now we can start work. And it's now the project manager's job to liaise with the team managers, and give them work packages. So that doesn't just happen overnight. They need to negotiate that. And when we've got situations and terms and conditions and things like agreement, some cost and efforts with the team managers, the team managers can start work. But if it's a complex work package, the team managers may need to write team plans. So in stage two, we might have several work packages, but maybe a few of these work packages are fairly straightforward. Maybe only three of them actually require a team plan. And now the project managers getting busy. They are trying to manage the project, keeping these work packages and teams on track. And they're gonna get regular reports so they understand what's going on. And they might even be able to see the team plans that the team manager has made. But they're really concerned with keeping the stage two plan on track. And eventually, we get to the end of stage two, we need to start thinking about what's gonna happen in stage three. And let's say that that is actually the last stage in this project is quite a short. The project is three stages. The project manager then creates a stage three plan, shows it to the board, hopefully the board will approve it, and then we can get going the stage three, that will need to be the same as stage two, where we negotiate our work packages with the teams and some of them will need team plans. So the team manager go make the team plans, they make the products and they're regularly reporting up to the project manager who can track their progress against a stage three plan. And then near the end of that stage, hopefully we've made our products and we can have a hand over the customer and we can all go home. So these showing you here certainly in the red and the green are the different types of plan that will be required in this three stage project. So I'm hoping that's makes it a little clearer to you about how these plans work in PRINCE2. And so that's the end of part one, thank you.

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Learning Paths

A hard working, self-motivated and dedicated IT Consultant with extensive experience and a proven track record in the areas of Management, Networking, Communications and Security. A capable organiser, quick to grasp and make good use of new ideas and concepts. Reliable and conscientious in all work aspects. Possesses exceptional interpersonal skills and utilises communicative abilities to build, develop and maintain effective relationships. A motivational and inspirational manager, who enjoys being part of a successful and productive team, and thrives in highly pressurised and challenging working environments.