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So, What Is PRINCE2?

PRINCE2 is an acronym for “PRojects IN Controlled Environments”. It is a structured project management method or methodology based on experience drawn from thousands of projects and from contributions of countless project sponsors, project managers, project teams, academicians, trainers and consultants. PRINCE2 is the de-facto standard for project management in the UK and is practiced worldwide. It covers the management, control and organization of a project.


PRINCE2 traces its origins to a now-deprecated methodology called “PROMPT” which was developed by Sim-Pact Systems in the UK back in the 70s. In 1989, the first version PRINCE was originally launched by the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency later renamed as the Office of Government Commerce. PRINCE2 would later evolve from PRINCE in 1996.

In 2002, APM Group Ltd was designated as the official accreditation provider of The Cabinet Office, to provide the certification for PRINCE2. However, the copyright of PRINCE2 still belongs to The Cabinet Office.

The PRINCE2 methodology is documented in The Cabinet Office publication "Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2", readily available from the official publisher, TSO. This is aimed at those working in project environments and project managers in particular.

"Directing Successful Projects with PRINCE2" covers the duties and responsibilities expected of the Project Board.

PRINCE2 was intentionally developed to function as a common language among business, users and suppliers, allowing for their representation on the Project Board. Although the methodology doesn't include contract management as such, it provides the necessary controls and boundaries needed for everybody to work together within the limits of any relevant contracts.

To start of, PRINCE2 allows your business to focus on (1) doing the right projects, (2) at the right time and, (3) for the right reasons, by making the start of the project and its continuance dependent on the continued existence of a viable Business Case.

What you need to know:

  • PRINCE2 is a non-proprietary methodology, meaning …
  • It is one of the most widely accepted methods for managing projects
  • It was designed to be generic: that is, it was designed in such a way that can be applied to any project, regardless of sector or industry. It achieves this by isolating the management aspects of project work from the specialist contributions.
  • PRINCE2 is based on a customer/supplier environment. It assumes that there will be a customer who will specify the desired result and probably pay for the project, and a supplier who will provide the resources and skills to deliver that result.
  • PRINCE2 is an integrated framework of processes and themes that addresses the planning, delegation, monitoring and control of all these six aspects of project performance.


  • It advocates best practice and governance for project management
  • It provides for the explicit recognition of project responsibilities.
  • Organization structure is very well-defined for the project management team and plans are carefully designed to meet the needs of all stakeholders
  • Strongly emphasizes effective time management using a 'management by exception' framework
  • It defines a thorough but economical structure of reports.
  • It ensures that stakeholders are properly represented in planning and decision making.
  • It promotes learning and continual improvement in organizations.
  • It promotes consistency of project work and the ability to reuse project assets.
  • It facilitates the assurance and assessment of project work
  • Product based thinking and planning approach
  • It focuses on business justification through the project life, allowing for early detection of warning signs

Limitations of PRINCE2:

• Specialist aspects - Industry specific and type-specific activities are excluded. For example, PRINCE2 does not address engineering models, project life cycles, organization change management and procurement etc.

• Detailed techniques - PRINCE2 discusses only those techniques that have a specific PRINCE2 approach. For example, product-based planning, quality reviews technique.

• Leadership capability - Interpersonal skills are not addressed by PRINCE2.

So there you have it – a brief introduction to PRINCE2.

Need a deeper dive? Register for our PRINCE2 Foundation or Practitioner classes. A good majority of our students pass in one sitting.

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