Manage by stages    

People rarely have an overview of large matters: big amounts of money, many activities, many risks. What we as human beings are better capable of is chunking: small may be beautifull, it certainly is surveyable. Predicting the future is also better feasible for a short period.

In projects this is also true. Therefore PRINCE2 advises to divide the project in smaller parts that are linearely sequenced in time. Doing this we divide the project in "Stages". The end of each stage gives a natural break to take stock: what is the project's status in terms of progress against planning, expenditure against forecasted budget. What is the risk status, and last but not least: is the project still viable?

In dividing the project in stages it is of the essence to find the correct balance: many short stages give the Project Board more control, but demand more effort on their part. On the other hand: with longer stages there are fewer moments the Project Board can evaluate the project's status.

PRINCE2 advises to:

  • Divide the project into a number of management stages;
  • Make a global plan for the whole project and detailed plans for the stages as they present themselves;
  • Plan, delegate and monitor per stage;

Each project should have at least two stages: one for planning, one for execution.


After each stage in a project the door to the next stage is "ajar". The project should prove it is sound to proceed!

Here it is important to establish if:

  • The business case is still viable;
  • The risks are still under control;
  • The next stage can indeed be planned in detail.