Let’s have a look at other aspects of this ‘bureaucracy’, the registers. PRINCE2 suggests three; a Risk Register, an Issue Register and a Quality Register. Risks are surely so important that we need to collect them together? If nothing else, it gives us a quick-to-read summary of how many serious risks we have, what we need to be communicating to the Project Board for their assessments. And a condensed view of all risks may reveal that two or more risks or risk actions that are proposed might together represent a new risk or create an unacceptable situation. With regard to the Issue Register, I have been in too may projects where there was no standard form (i.e. definition of the set of information required when submitting an issue) and no central collection point not to appreciate the need for the Issue Register. How else will you ensure that everyone can see what everyone else has raised? What easier way is there to check that impact analysis has been done, that action is being taken, that you know who is working on it, what the result was? You may not like the idea of a Quality Register. Presumably you are not against checking the quality of products? You can keep details of the planned quality check in your Gantt chart, but that doesn’t tell you who the chairperson is to be or who will take what role, what the results were, how many errors were found, when the product was finally signed off. You should be able to find such information by sifting through several documents (assuming that you have been ‘bureaucratic’ enough to file them away in some order) but isn’t this inefficient – dare I say too bureaucratic? You may not like the format of the Quality Register as suggested by PRINCE2, but the philosophy seems right. So design your own – not for the purpose of creating lots of documentation, but in order to retrieve, use and disseminate the information. If something is suggested as an entry in the log that you don’t need, get rid of it. But just be sure that it isn’t a useful piece of information that you should be using.
In the 2009 revision of the PRINCE2 manual OGC decided to change Log to Register. The reason given for this was that a log suggests an unstructured record, whereas a register describes a structured one.
In my next blog we will look at how PRINCE2 suggests that a Project Brief is put together.