Project Management Methods: What are XP, PRINCE2, and PMBOK?

July 30th, 2020 in Productivity

Project Management Methods: What are XP, PRINCE2, and PMBOK?

Outlining More Project Management Methods

When reviewing project management methods, it should be noted that several methods are overlapping. Agile, Kanban, and Scrumban were reviewed in the previous article. This article will outline Extreme Programming (XP), which is a part of Agile, as well as the tandem PRINCE2 and PMBOK.

How does Extreme Programming fit into Agile project management? Why are PRINCE2 and PMBOK usually used together? Read on to learn more about these project management methods.

Project Management Methods #1: Extreme Programming

Extreme Programming was first introduced in 1996. According to Agile Alliance, it is “an agile software development framework that aims to produce higher quality software, and higher quality of life for the development team.” It is considered the most specific agile framework for appropriate engineering practices for software development.

Put in another way, Extreme Programming stresses customer satisfaction. As outlined by, this method “empowers your developers to confidently respond to the changing customer requirements, even late in the life cycle.” It emphasises teamwork where managers, customers, and developers are all seen as equal partners in a collaborative team.

There are five values of Extreme Programming: communication, simplicity, feedback, courage, and respect. The Extreme Programmers constantly communicate with customers and fellow programmers. The design is kept simple and clean. The software is tested consistently from day one, and the team receives feedback. The system is delivered to the customers as soon as possible and the changes suggested are then implemented. Each member of the team needs to be respected in order to provide adequate communication and feedback.

How to Implement:

  • Have the team meet face-to-face without communication barriers. The team should consist of people with a need and people who can satisfy the need that work together daily to accomplish a specific outcome
  • Make the work transparent to all members of the team and interested parties outside the team. Don’t overwork yourself or the team to maintain energized and focused work
  • Consider paired programming, which is where all production software is developed by two people sitting at the same machine for continuous code review and code troubleshooting
  • Host weekly cycles (iterations) to reflect on the progress and implement “stories”, or short descriptions of what the user wants to do with the product. There should be running test features based on the stories for customer feedback by the end of the week
  • Have quarterly cycles (releases) to keep the detailed work of each weekly cycle in context with the overall project
  • Implement the Ten-Minute Build, where all tests on the system are run within ten minutes
  • Continuously test code changes when added to a larger code base to fix integration issues as soon as possible (continuous integration)
  • Use the Test-First Programming to reduce the feedback cycle to identify and resolve issues. The path goes as follows:
    • Write failing automated test -> Run failing test -> develop code to make test pass -> run test -> repeat
  • Practice Incremental Design in which a little bit of work is done at the start to understand the breadth perspective of the system design. Details of a particular aspect are added in later when the specific features are delivered

When to Use it: Use Extreme Programming in software development when constant customer feedback and improvement are necessary. Apply it when there are dynamically changing software requirements and the technology allows for automated unit and functional tests. It is also applicable for small, co-located extended development teams.

Project Management Methods #2: PRINCE2

PRINCE2 stands for “projects in controlled environments.” The method is scalable and helps you determine who should be involved in the project and what they will be responsible for. The University of Ottawa explains that it integrates responsibilities “with job roles, personal reviews, objectives and planning and management systems such as the balanced scorecard.”

This method has certifications and training that can be obtained online or through an accredited university or college. PRINCE2 can be paired with PMBOK, which will be outlined further down. PRINCE2 is seen as the “how, who, and when” while PMBOK is the “what and why.”

PRINCE2 consists of six aspects, or performance goals, which include: scope, timescale, risk, quality, benefits, and cost. This method is extensive and contains a lot of principles, themes, and management products. The seven processes of PRINCE2 will be briefly outlined below.

How to Implement:

  • Start up a project in which a project team is created, an executive and a project manager is assigned, and a project brief is produced
  • Initiate a project by defining the project scope; what work needs to be done? What are the risks and benefits of the project? How will these be identified and resolved?
  • Direct the project by having the project board authorize initiation, the project itself, and its stages
  • Control stages include having a project manager assign tasks, monitor the work, resolve issues, and report on the progress to the project board
  • Manage project delivery by accepting, executing, and delivering the work package
  • Manage stage boundary by having the project manager update the project board on the project’s performance and then create the next stage with approval from the board
  • Close the project by ensuring the project has achieved its goals and objectives by the deadline

When to Use it: PRINCE2 can be applied to both small and large projects. It is applicable to a variety of projects, such as construction, IT, business, financial, and engineering. Projects can vary in length of time.

Project Management Methods #3: PMBOK

PMBOK stands for “project management body of knowledge” and it is developed from a manual published by the Project Management Institute (PMI). PMI released “A Guide to Project Management Body of Knowledge” in order to outline the recurring elements in project management processes.

Like PRINCE2, PMBOK is a part of a certification program. Unlike PRINCE2, PMBOK focuses on the human side of projects and on conflict management. It provides the tools and techniques needed while PRINCE2 offers an easily repeated and tailored method for each project.

As with PRINCE2, PMBOK is an extensive project management method. There are 47 processes and 10 knowledge areas (integration, scope, time, cost, quality, procurement, human resources, communications, risk management, and stakeholder management.) The five process groups will be briefly explained below.

How to Implement:

  • Initiate the project by setting all permits, authorizations, and initial work orders in place for future project success. Outline clear work phases, create teams, and have a budget in place. Define the initial project scope, receive sponsorship approval, and identify the stakeholders
  • Plan out the processes needed to define the project scope, set strategic workflow plans, assemble priority lists, and plan team needs. Narrow down the project’s goals and expectations while creating an infrastructure to complete the project within the timeline and budget constraints
  • Execute the project plan by managing teams, reaching benchmark goals, and following timeline expectations. Manage communications between the team and the stakeholders
  • Monitor and control the project by addressing order changes, budget considerations, and mitigating unforeseen problems. Initiate corresponding changes where they’re required
  • Close the project by completing the project on time and budget. Receive sign-off and acceptance from the customer. Review the lessons learned and archive the records

When to Use it: PMBOK can be used for almost any project. Like PRINCE2, it is a versatile project management method.


Agile Alliance. Extreme Programming. Extreme Programming: A Gentle Introduction.
Axelos. What is PRINCE2? PRINCE2 Frequently Asked Questions.
University of Ottawa. What is PRINCE2?
Project Management Institute. PMBOK Guide – Sixth Edition.

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