Home Project Management General PRINCE2 Implementing PRINCE2 in a Business Change Environment
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Implementing PRINCE2 in a Business Change Environment Print
Follows is the content of the submission to the APMGroup by Alvin Gardiner MBA, MAPM, Programme Manager, Registers of Scotland that won the Prince2 Prize for 2002.



Presentation by David Marsh Chairman of the Prince User Group presenting the Prize at the Prince User Group Conference held in Leicester, England in November 2002.



Registers of Scotland Executive Agency ('the Agency') is an Agency of the Scottish Executive with a turnover of around £50million per annum. Based in Edinburgh and Glasgow the Agency employs a total of 1300 staff. The organisation's main function is to register title to land in Scotland and it handles in excess of 380,000 land registration applications per year.

Throughout its history the Agency has faced numerous changes. In the distant past these changes were mainly modifications to the legislation governing how land was conveyed and registered.
More recently the Agency has been changing its business processes.
It has been progressively transitioning itself from a paper-based organisation to one that embraces developments in IT in order to deliver e-commerce and electronic internal business processes.

The Agency has also changed the way that it manages and introduces these changes.
One of the main facilitators for this is the recent introduction and use of the PRINCE2 project management method as a key component of business change activity.

The Development of Business Change in the Agency

Business Change over the last 10 years


The Agency first began introducing major business changes 10 years ago via the outputs and products from projects.
It was recognised that there were varying degrees of success in achieving project delivery and in realising business benefits from projects.

During 2000 the Agency conducted Post Implementation Reviews (PIRs) on four of its major projects. All of the projects reviewed had overrun both in terms of time and cost and the following weaknesses were identified which contributed to this:

  • Poor project governance
  • Lack of budgetary control
  • Lack of programme management
  • Poor communications
  • Poor project management
  • Limited IT involvement
  • Lack of effective risk management
  • Poor quality & incomplete testing
  • Resource constraints

The PIRs signalled to the Agency that a change was required in the way that projects were managed and controlled.

Running in parallel with the completion of these projects was the initiation of the RegIS (Registers of Scotland Information System) Project.
Established in 1999 its remit was to examine and propose changes to the business processes and the supporting IT infrastructure.
More importantly it was the first project in the Agency where PRINCE2 was employed comprehensively.

Recognising the importance of appropriate Project Management, Alvin Gardiner, following training on PRINCE2, implemented a PRINCE2 framework for the management of the RegIS Project.
This was done in agreement with Frank Manson (Managing Director) the RegIS Project Board Executive.
Given the size of the project, external consultancy support was secured from the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) to quality assure the Project and provide comment on its management.
This project delivered on its 4 key deliverables within cost and timescale.

The RegIS project was the ‘guinea pig’ for PRINCE2.
The project employed the method comprehensively but also assessed its various components in order to make an informed decision on whether the method was suitable and could be tailored and scaled for future projects.

Future Business Change

Like any business the Agency faces the challenge of ongoing change.

The McCartney Report on Successful IT: Modernising Government in Action highlighted a number of recommendations which public sector organisations needed to take account of in the future management of IT Projects.
In particular recommendation 8 which stated that:

'The Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) of each project must ensure that a formal approach to project management, such as PRINCE2, is applied'.

As a result of the above, and the re-defining of the Agency's operational management structure, a new Business Change Management organisation was established in May 2001 (see Figure 1 overpage).
Frank Manson was a key driver for securing agreement of this at Management Board level and in the delivery of detailed guidelines for the future of managing business change. This involved the implementation of a Programme Management structure to deliver future projects.
A Programme Office was set up to provide support to all major business projects and a Business Change Team has also been formed to manage the implementation of change into the business to ensure benefits realisation.

Alvin Gardiner as Programme Manager and PRINCE2 Champion was tasked with ensuring that all future business change projects within the Programme would be managed using PRINCE2.

From the lessons learned in the RegIS Project, PRINCE2 was chosen as the standard Agency project management tool for the following reasons.


  • Is recognised as the UK government standard for Project methodology
  • Provides flexibility to be tailored for smaller business Change projects
  • Provides a structured solution to resolve the issues raised in the Post Implementation reviews particularly with regard to roles and responsibilities, budget and resource management and managing risk
  • Provides for the staging of projects to ensure controlled management
  • Provides a mechanism for formal Project closure


However the decision to use PRINCE2 was only the beginning.

The PIRs of the Agency's previous projects highlighted other aspects of project management that required attention. Utilisation of PRINCE2 is seen as the way to address criticisms contained in the PIRs and provide benefits in the following areas.

Project Organisation

Although the pre PRINCE2 projects had a defined organisational structure the responsibilities attributed to each role were not clearly defined and understood.
Boards had members who were 'representatives' from their particular discipline within the Agency. Structures for securing decisions were not defined and Project Managers were frequently left to 'do' the project rather than manage the project.
Projects were not staged (another recommendation from the McCartney Report) and tended to drift with limited control in place.

Following the adoption of PRINCE2, all personnel involved in the project from Project Board to team member are aware of their specific roles and responsibilities.
The appropriate project assurance role is identified and each project now works to the overarching Programme Quality Strategy which is based on PRINCE2.


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