PRINCE2 - Progress

The purpose of the progress theme is to establish mechanisms to monitor and compare actual achievements against those planned, provide a forecast for the project objectives and the project's continued viability, and control any unacceptable deviations. 

Progress is the measure of the achievement of the objectives of a plan. Controlling progress is central to project management, ensuring that the project remains viable against its approved business case. Progress control involves measuring actual progress against the performance targets of time, cost, quality, scope, benefits and risk. This information is used to make decisions such as whether to approve a management stage or workpackage, whether to escalate deviations and whether to prematurely close the project, and to take actions as required. Progress can be monitored at work package, management stage and project level. 

Of PRINCE2's seven principles, the principle of manage by exception is particularly important to the progress theme. An exception is a situation where it can be forecast that there will be a deviation beyond agreed tolerance levels.Tolerances are the permissible deviation above and below a plan's target for cost and time without escalating the deviation to the next level of management. There may also be tolerance levels for quality, scope, benefits and risk.

PRINCE2 provides two types of progress control throughout the life of a project:

  • Event-driven controls These take place when a specific event occurs. This could be, for example, the end stage assessment at the end of a management stage, the completion of the PID or the creation of an exception report. It could also include organizational events that might affect the project, such as the end of the financial year.
  • Time-driven controls These take place at predefined periodic intervals. This could be, for example, producing monthly highlight reports for the project board or weekly checkpoint reports showing the progress of a work package. Monitoring and reporting requires a time-based approach, whereas control (decision-making) is an event based activity.