Prince laid bare

Everybody loves Prince. The diminutive thex thimble, with his cheeky pencil moustache and cheeks hanging out of a pair of leather chaps, who wouldn’t?

And everybody loves PRINCE too. The flabby paper factory, with its deliverables hanging out of a pair of cheesy PIDs, who wouldn’t?

Wait, what?
Oh yes, PRINCE2 sorry. It’s a load of old cack, watch this video to find out why.

Three anecdotes about PRINCE2:

  • A colleague who had recently passed his PRINCE2 exams had on his monitor a large colourful graphic of the whole PRINCE2 system. He pointed at a tiny box hidden away somewhere on the screen and said “…and that’s where the work is actually done. Everything else is paper.”
  • “The Ackoff Ratio”: divide the number of completed Post Project Reviews by the total number of PIDs in an organisation, then multiply by 100. This is the degree that the organisation is doing the wrong things right. The higher the number, the righter. The lower the number, the wronger. Paradoxically, lower is better.
  • When I first found out about PRINCE2 I was confused. What happened before the very first of very many pieces of paper, the Project Mandate? Nothing! Any old arse can get through. And any old arse has. The NHS IT database , billions spent as “The aim was to replace paper medical records with a centralised national electronic database, allowing a patient from Hull to walk into a hospital in Hereford and find all their details ready at the click of a mouse.”. Without anybody questioning whether this was a problem that needed solving at all. Or even existed.

EDIT: I got that Ackoff Ratio wrong! Of course the wrong thing can’t be done right, or righter, through using Prince2. That’s not right. It’s the wrong way round. That’s right isn’t it? All very confusing. I’m not sure this Ackoff Ratio will catch on.

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3 Responses to Prince laid bare

  1. James says:

    “The righter we do the wrong thing, the wronger we become. When we make a
    mistake doing the wrong thing and correct it, we become wronger. When we
    make a mistake doing the right thing and correct it, we become righter.
    Therefore, it is better to do the right thing wrong than the wrong thing right. This
    is very significant because almost every problem confronting our society is a
    result of the fact that our public policy makers are doing the wrong things and are
    trying to do them righter.”
    Russell L. Ackoff 2004

    Click to access RLAConfPaper.pdf


    • ThinkPurpose says:

      It IS a genius flash of wisdom that. My fault for trying to create an algorithm out of it.
      There should be a collective noun for these sorts of things, for example there’s The Rumsfeld Conjecture:
      “[T]here are known knowns; there are things we know that we know.
      There are known unknowns; that is to say there are things that, we now know we don’t know.
      But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know, we don’t know. ”
      —United States Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld


  2. Pingback: Fallacy Friday! Pooing and planning | thinkpurpose

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