“Tailoring” PRINCE2: How to plan a wedding

Date: 30/05/2024| Category: Project Management| Tags:

The meaning of ‘tailoring’ is ‘tailor-made’, just as the PRINCE2 method has to be adapted to the project environment: the nature, complexity, type of products, client and level of risk involved in a project makes each unique.

PRINCE2 can also be used to… organise a wedding! That’s right: our trainer Fabio Savarino explained to us how he applied the PRINCE2 method to the organisation of his wedding in Poland, and how this methodology can also be very effective within small projects.

How to Plan a Wedding with PRINCE2

In Poland – traditionally – a wedding celebration lasts two to four days. Fabio explained to us what were the assignments of roles and ‘responsibilities’ within the project.

Roles and Responsibilities

Fabio, the groom, was ‘by chance’ appointed Project Manager, while the role of Executive, again by chance… was assigned to the bride-to-be. In this specific circumstance, the Programme Management was entrusted to the parents of both the Italian and Polish families.

The bride’s Polish best man managed the production and delivery of certain Work Packages, including:

  • Invitations: design based on the client’s requirements, with revisions, printing and distribution to recipients, prior to the event;
  • Place cards: design based on the client’s instructions, printing and delivery to the event venue;
  • Guests-centred tasks: creation of guest book, preparation of boxes for cake samples (which will be left over after the party), printing and delivery of menus (bi-lingual) for tables, creation of Polish-Italian pocket dictionaries for guests, and wooden box for envelopes with wedding gifts (in Poland it is customary to give envelopes with money to the bride and groom, instead of buying something from a wedding list).

The best man’s brother took great care of the Work Package ‘Wedding Favours’: taking care of the material production of the homemade honey, filling heart-shaped jars (sent from Italy), as well as setting-up each favour with organza, large sugared almonds sent from Avola (Sicily), small ears of corn and white flowers, all together with a card with a bee and the names of the bride and groom.

Fabio also often acted as Team Manager, coordinating the creation and delivery of numerous work packages, including wine (Nero d’Avola) from Sicily, a handmade barrel (capacity: 15 litres) absolutely necessary for Polish weddings: home-distilled grappa was a must… as if the 132 bottles of ‘commercial’ vodka purchased regularly were not enough!

And finally the work package ‘a quintal of Flowers in the Church’, together with the more complex ‘Foreigners in Poland’, which included flights, tickets, check-in, transfers, hotels, buses and much, much more

Business Case: International Challenges

As in all projects, risks and problems emerged during the wedding organisation, particularly related to the organisation at distance, having to manage almost everything from Italy, with significant barriers to overcome: language and cultural barriers, for example. Not to mention the currency, which is different from the euro.

Added to all this were the risks involved in moving around forty people from Italy to Poland, two from Germany, one from Moldova, and one even from Senegal!

The main costs concerned the catering and accommodation for the forty foreign guests in Poland, in the days both before and after the celebration, not to mention the night spent by everyone (foreigners and Poles) in the rooms of the 19th-century castle: the venue for the dinner, the Saturday party, and the uninterrupted banquet that lasted until Sunday evening.

Results, ROI… and a happy life!

The quality of the food was excellent (21-course dinner menu alone), with a fun and engaging programme that entertained all guests, adults and children, who stayed in fairy-tale bedrooms. Not to forget the fireworks display, the chocolate fountain, and the dozens and dozens of fresh cakes baked the day before by Polish guests!

In Eastern Europe, guests bring envelopes with good wishes and money, instead of gifts. Therefore, the return on investment was obvious and immediate, measurable in financial terms on the wedding day itself: and the estimates made proved true.

Any drawbacks? No, apart from the observation that none of the bottles of vodka served remained…

Tools Used to Manage the “Wedding” Project

Adaptation to the project environment involved the entire set of management products, following PRINCE2 guidelines, with a focus on the following:

  • Daily Reminders (Daily Log): managed via a zenbook, and supplemented by notes on the smartphone;
  • Lesson Log: a text document that summarised ‘lessons’ learnt from previous wedding experiences, and collected through friends and acquaintances;
  • Product Descriptions: an extensive spreadsheet that included the status of the products, costs, conversion of expenses from Polish zlotys to euros (and vice versa) as well as the quality criteria required by the bride-to-be (who represented the client, and the Senior User);
  • Project Plan: based on the specialised products and their descriptions in the spreadsheet, accompanied by a simplified Gantt chart outlining the different stages of the project. This took 13 months to organise, with the Initial Phase lasting approximately 2 months (October and November of the previous year).

The subsequent phases were divided into incremental delivery of different products:

  • Stage 2 – dedicated to booking locations and services (church, castle, orchestra, car, photographer, bus for transfer from Wroclaw);
  • Stage 3 – researching and preparing items (food, menus, cakes, drinks, wedding rings, clothing, shoes and various accessories);
  • Stage 4 – planning for international guests (flights, accommodation, transport, transfers, etc.);
  • Stage 5 – started only two months before the wedding, and focused on administrative details (Italian and Polish documents, translations, authentications, arrangements with the church);
  • Stage 6 – the last few weeks: necessary for a final check, and for activities related to the project closure process (CP, Closing a Project), including the ‘handover’ of the bride!

Conclusion

In this scenario, tailoring had a significant impact, especially on the seven Processes of PRINCE2. Our trainer was able to minimise the formality of the planned activities by simplifying the processing and collection of documents. Now his goal is to evaluate the long-term benefits: the success of the project!

QRP International offers courses on the PRINCE2 method available in virtual training, E-learning and classroom format. If you are interested in learning more, please do not hesitate to contact us!

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