The 7 core project documents in PRINCE2 projects

The paperwork to drive project success

Project documents are essential pieces of the project management puzzle. Documentation allows the project manager to fully understand the project from the outset, defines the approach, helps to control the project through each stage, and provides a record from which project management lessons can be learned. However, not all projects are equal, and not all PRINCE2 project documents are needed for every project undertaken.

In this article, you’ll learn which documents must be completed, and which are dependent upon project size and complexity.

PRINCE2 key documents

There are 13 key documents which project managers might use to facilitate PRINCE2 projects. The detail included in them should be tailored to the specific project. This table shows which are the core documents, and which are recommended for different project sizes:

Document

Small Project

Medium Project

Large Project

Project Brief

Y

Y

Y

Risk Register

Y

Y

Y

Project Approach

Y

Y

Y

Business Case (Initial and Refined)

Y

Y

Y

Product Descriptions

Y

Y

Y

Quality Plan/Strategy

N R

Y

Project Plan

Y

Y

Y

PID

Y

Y

Y

End Stage Report

N

R

Y

Stage Plans

N

R

Y

Change Control Process

N

N

Y

Lessons Learned Report

R

Y

Y

En Project Report

R

Y

Y

Y= yes; N = not needed; R = recommended

The 7 core PRINCE2 project documentations described

1.      The Project Brief

This provides the foundation for project initialisation, and will be refined into the Project Initiation Project. This includes:

  • Project definition
  • Outline business case
  • Project products descriptions
  • Project management structure
  • Project approach
  • Role descriptions

2.      The Risk Register

The Risk Register captures information about threats and opportunities on all identified risks that relate to the project. The information in this document includes risk status and history.

The Risk Register captures and maintains the information (both threats and opportunities) on all the risks that were identified and relate to the project. So it provides a record of all risks, including their status and history.

3.      The Project Approach

This document defines the approach to the project, taking into account the Business Case and the operational environment.

4.      The Initial and Refined Business Cases

Stating why the project is needed, the Initial Business Case acts as an outline which is then fleshed out to become the detailed Business Case during the process of initiating a project.

5.      Product Descriptions

Product descriptions should be produced early on in the project, and clearly detail what stakeholders should expect. This makes it easier to identify and allocate appropriate resources to achieve expected outcomes.

6.      The Project Plan

The Project Plan details the lifecycle of the project, broken down into its stages and providing guidance on project evaluation. It defines roles, quality control, and risk management.

7.      The Project Initiation Document (PID)

This document is a detailed reference point for the project, and often includes:

  • Project goals
  • Project organisation
  • Business case
  • List of stakeholders
  • Risks
  • Controls
  • Reporting frameworks
  • Summary

 

In the coming weeks, I’ll be looking at these core documents in a little more detail. Meanwhile, for all your project needs, contact Your Project Manager today:

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