What is PM2?

Date: 11/12/2023| Category: Best Practices Glossary| Tags:

PM² is a project management methodology developed by the European Commission. Its main purpose is to enable project managers to provide solutions and gain benefits for their organisation by effectively managing the entire life cycle of their projects. PM² was created to serve the needs of the European Union, but is adaptable and tailorable to any organisation.

PM² is a light and easy-to-implement methodology that project teams can adapt to their specific needs. PM² incorporates elements of a wide range of internationally recognised project management best practices and methodologies. The method has been developed from the experience of European institutions in managing thousands of projects.

How does PM² help in Project Management?

  • PM² improves communication and information sharing
  • PM² clarifies expectations as early as possible in the project life cycle
  • PM² defines the project life cycle (from initiation to closure)
  • PM² provides guidelines for project planning
  • PM² introduces monitoring and control activities
  • PM² proposes management activities and results (plans, meetings, decisions)

The Open PM² Project

Open PM² is an initiative of the European Commission, which aims to make the PM² methodology known to an increasing number of users and institutions. The PM² methodology is therefore open source.

The Open PM² initiative provides EU institutions, contractors and public administrations and all interested professionals with open access to the PM² methodology and associated resources. Its aim is to enable more effective management and communication within projects and thus to achieve EU objectives while respecting the needs of EU Member States and citizens.

The Initiative also seeks to correct the mistakes of the past, when efforts were not focused on results and projects were managed with different approaches rather than converging on the common interest of the European Community.

With the Open PM² project, the initiative aims to improve project management skills in Europe, bringing greater efficiency and success to projects.

Open PM² brings benefits in:

  • optimizing and improving project management in EU and non-EU institutions
  • establishing a common language and standardized processes, leading to effective communication in projects
  • providing a common set of mindsets
  • enabling transparency and visibility in projects involving several organisations
  • enable better project management, leading to improved cost/effort efficiency
  • enable better monitoring and control of EU-funded projects and grants

One common PM Methodology open to all EU Institutions, Member States, Contractors, and EU Citizens.


PM² Target Audience

The PM² methodology is applicable to any kind of project and is therefore addressed to every professional that finds him/her-self managing a project. The methodology could especially be interesting for;

  • Entry-level project managers (PMs) and project teams who wish to learn more about project management and the PM² methodology
  • Experienced project managers (PMs) and team members who wish to learn more about PM²
  • Project teams wishing to start using the PM² methodology in their projects
  • Professionals involved in international collaboration projects funded by the European Union

The PM² Project Life Cycle

The PM² project life cycle has four phases with one main type of activity in each phase. A project moves to the next phase when the objectives of its current phase have been deemed to have been achieved.

The focus of a project moves from initiation and planning activities at the beginning, to execution and monitoring activities in between and approval, transition and closure activities at the end.

There are four project phases in PM²:

  1. Start-up: During this phase, the resources involved formulate the objectives of the project. They ensure the alignment of the project with the strategic objectives of the organisation and undertake initial planning to bring the project to a successful conclusion. The project management team also begins to put together the information needed to obtain approval and to continue with the planning phase. The main input of this phase is a request (from the customer) to respond to a need, problem or opportunity.
  2. Planning: The second phase of a PM² project is the planning phase. During the planning phase, the project objective is developed into an ad hoc plan and ready to be executed. The scope of the project and the appropriate approach are specified, the activities are planned, the necessary resources are estimated and the project details are developed. During the planning phase, the project work plan can be updated several times. Once agreed and finalised everything created is signed.
  3. Execution: The third phase of a PM² project is the execution phase. During the execution phase, the project team produces the final project results (outputs) as outlined in the project plan. This is typically the phase of the project life cycle that involves the most resources and requires the most monitoring.
  4. Closure phase: The final phase of a PM² project is the closure phase. During the closing phase of a project, the final results are officially transferred to the Project Owner (PO) and the project is administratively closed.

General information and performance of the project and lessons learned are captured in the end-of-project report. The Project Manager (PM) ensures that the deliverables produced are accepted and that all project documents are correctly filed.

The following activities are part of the closure phase:

  • Finalising all activities in order to formally close the project
  • Discussing the overall project experience and lessons learned with the team
  • Documenting lessons learned and best practices for future projects
  • Administrative closure of the project and archiving of all project documents

PM Mindsets

PM² Mindsets are the attitudes and behaviours that help project teams focus on what is crucial to achieve their goals. They help project teams navigate the complexities of project management and make the PM² methodology more effective and comprehensive.

Project managers and teams following the PM² methodology:

  1. Are aware that project management methodologies are there to serve projects and not vice versa.
  2. Are results oriented in relation to all projects and project management activities.
  3. Are committed to delivering project results with maximum value rather than simply following plans.
  4. Promote a culture of collaboration, clear communication and accountability.
  5. Assign project roles to the people best suited for the benefit of the project.
  6. Invest in developing technical and interpersonal skills to become better project contributors.
  7. Involve project stakeholders in the organisational change needed to maximise project benefits.
  8. Share knowledge, actively manage lessons learned and contribute to project improvement.
  9. Are inspired by the PM² Guidelines on Ethics and Professional Virtues.

The PM² methodology thus helps project teams navigate through the complexities of project realities. It encourages project teams to (re)position project management objectives in a broader organisational context. The PM² methodology serves as a reminder to project teams of what is important for project success and what are effective behaviours to apply.

PM² Training Courses

QRP International organises training courses on PM² Project Management methodology in agreement with the European Commission, Centre of Excellence in PM² (CoEPM²). QRP is part of the PM² Group, the only accreditation body that meets the standards of the European Commission.

Upon completion of the course participants will be able to:

  • Effectively apply the PM² method for project management
  • Understand the implementation of key project management processes
  • Use PM² Artefacts effectively for scope definition and project initiation and management
  • Understand key project planning tools and techniques
  • Understand project planning and estimates, including Gantt Charts and network diagrams
  • Understand project budget and cost management

If you would like to learn more about the PM² methodology, please have a look at our Open PM² Methodology Courses. QRP International offers the PM² Foundation Course and PM2 E-learning.

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