How do you develop a PRINCE2 Project Approach?

project approach Prince2

Helping you answer the question of how to undertake a project

Continuing my series of articles discussing the seven core project documents in PRINCE2 projects, in this article you’ll learn about the Project Approach document.

Why do you need to document the Project Approach?

Before you start any project, you’ll need to make some decisions on how you will approach it. You’ll need to define what type of solution will be developed by the project to meet its objectives, and what methods you will use to deliver the project. You will need to consider a number of factors when determining the Project Approach, including the project environment.

The Project Approach will be used when developing the Project Plan and the Project Quality Plan, as part of the Project Initiation Documentation.

Who is responsible for developing the Project Approach?

The project manager is the one responsible for the Project Approach, though the approach must be agreed with the project sponsor, and agreed with the project board and in the project initiation.

What approach options are available?

With every project, there may be several approaches that might be adopted. These should be stated within the Project Approach document, and might include the following:

  • ‘Off the shelf’
  • ‘Made to measure’
  • Contracted to a third party
  • Developed in-house
  • A partnership with a third party
  • Enhancement to an existing product or service
  • A technology-based approach

Summary of constraints

A summary of the constraints on potential project approaches should be included. For example, the above approaches may be restricted by:

  • Time
  • Cost
  • Human resources
  • Weather
  • Material resources

Examination of best practice

There may also be certain standards, best practices, and regulatory requirements that have an impact on the approach to be taken as well as the proposed activities and products of the project.

Other potential constraints

Other potential constraints that may exist include:

  • Security implications
  • Maintenance and operational implications that might affect project products and outcomes
  • Integration and interface with other projects
  • Impacts on other areas of the business

How does the project fit with the business strategy?

The project should fit with the business strategy of the organisation, and this should be summarised in the Project Approach document.

What will be the impact on the business?

The Project Approach should also outline how the approach will impact on other parts of the business. For example:

  • Who will be involved in the project
  • The critical nature of the project
  • The risks and nature of risks associated with the project


The Project Approach should also cover potential training needs required, especially any training needs of end users.

How will the project’s products be introduced?

An outline of how the project’s products will be integrated into the business should be included, including impacts on and influences from internal and external sources.

A recommendation of project approach

All of the above leads to a statement of selected project approach, summarising the reasons for this selection, and including any other information that the project manager believes to be pertinent to making that choice.

How do you know the Project Approach document is complete?

Is the Project Approach document complete? Does it do what it sets out to do? To answer these questions, simply ask four other questions:

  1. Is it reflective of the Project Brief?
  2. Does it lay the foundation upon which the project can be planned?
  3. Is the recommended approach acceptable to the user, customer, and sponsor?
  4. Does it give enough information for the project board to decide to adopt the recommended approach?


In our next article, you’ll learn how to develop a business case for a PRINCE2 project. In the meantime, contact Your Project Manager for further advice or if you need help with an upcoming project:

contact your project manager