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PRINCE2 in the apocalypse

  • Update: 18/04/2021

Some of you might be thinking, what is the relation between PRINCE2® and the apocalypse? Well, they are closer than you might think. PRINCE2 is a method for managing projects and is flexible and adaptable enough to be applied to any project, regardless of the environment. This also includes more unusual environments, such as an apocalyptic scenario caused by a nuclear environment or a zombie apocalypse.

But what is an apocalypse? From Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later and Richard Matheson’s I am Legend to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, popular culture has depicted the apocalypse as a world that has faced an extreme societal collapse. The story usually takes place during or shortly after the apocalyptic event, when the survivors still remember and crave the good old days. There is often safety in numbers and survivors can pool together their resources and skills, increasing their chances of survival.

PRINCE2 components in the ultimate project
Like every project, a project manager is needed to act as the team leader. Gone are the spreadsheets and suits, replaced with machetes and mayhem. Although, many projects can often feel like wading through a devastated landscape with too few resources and too little time. So, in effect surviving an apocalypse and completing a project have more similarities than at first glance.

The tailor to suit the project principle is important when discussing how PRINCE2 relates to an apocalypse. In short, PRINCE2 should be tailored to suits the project’s circumstances, regardless of how unusual those might be. For instance, many of the documents usually required in a project might become oral or implicit agreements between the characters. After all, there is little time to draft a business case when you are running away from a zombie.

Naturally, PRINCE2 should be adapted to circumstances of each apocalyptic environment. For example, weapons are necessary in a zombie apocalypse, to protect. Nonetheless, it will not protect you from radiation, which is the main concern in a nuclear apocalypse.

PRINCE2 themes can also be applied. This includes the risk theme, which recognizes that all projects contain a degree of uncertainty, but surviving an apocalypse has more risk than a typical project. In an apocalyptic scenario, this requires understanding the inherent risks in the environment and finding methods of minimizing them.

The plan theme defines how the products are delivered, as well as where, how, by who, when, and the costs. In this scenario, the plan must outline not only where the group is going, but how they will get there, and the role that each person will play. The plan must also recognize that an apocalypse is essentially unstable and dangerous.

PRINCE2 projects must also meet the processes requirements. For a simple project, there may only be two stages, which should suffice in an apocalyptic scenario. After all, the initiation stage is where the survivors gather and decide on their plan. The delivery stage is where they reach the sanctuary and effectively deliver the product. And hopefully, this final stage includes the survival of those involved…not their death.

News by Solmaz Purser - Project Editor, AXELOS

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