What is PRINCE2? A Project Management Guide

PRINCE2 is the world’s most widely used project management methodology. How can a PRINCE2 certification improve your business, and what are the advantages of becoming a PRINCE2 practitioner? Good e-Learning takes a look at everything you need to know about PRINCE2 project management

Try a Free Module
PRINCE2® 6th Edition Foundation Banner

When it comes to managing essential business projects, it is important to work according to a solid plan. Managers must understand how best to structure and facilitate essential work well before it gets underway, or they will risk unnecessary delays and expenses. At the same time, they must also keep their projects focused, ensuring that any work remains in-line with established business goals and KPIs.

PRINCE2 6th Edition (PRojects IN Controlled Environments 2), formerly known as 'PRINCE2 2017', is a world-renowned project management methodology and a trade-mark of AXELOS Limited. The original framework was established in 1989 by the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA), now known as the Office of Government Commerce (OGC). Originally based on PROMPT, PRINCE soon superseded it in UK government projects. Following its initial success in the United Kingdom, PRINCE2 quickly spread across the globe, seeing widespread use in both the public and private sectors.

PRINCE2 was released in 1996, having been created by a consortium of 150 different European organizations. This range of expertise and experience resulted in a concise yet flexible approach to managing successful projects. Since then, PRINCE2 project management has been adapted to suit businesses and organizations across multiple industries. Not only that, but regular updates have ensured that the PRINCE2 method has stayed relevant even in the constantly-changing world of modern enterprise.

How Does PRINCE2 Project Management Work?

So, what should you expect from using PRINCE2? Generally, a project powered by the PRINCE2 methodology is characterized by having:

  • A defined lifecycle

  • Defined and measurable business products

  • A corresponding set of activities for successfully creating the business products

  • A specified and well-defined set of resources

  • An organizational structure with defined responsibilities for the management of the project

PRINCE2 works by dividing projects into manageable and controlled stages, focusing on the delivery of satisfactory products rather than simply carrying out a standardized list of activities. This ensures that managers can deliver projects on time and within budget while still periodically reviewing their progress in order to ensure that the project remains relevant in terms of established business goals.

Each project will have a 'Project Board', usually made up of customers, users, suppliers, and company representatives. Project managers will report to the Project Board throughout the project, with the Project Board deciding when the project should proceed and when it should be paused so that issues can be addressed.

PRINCE2 projects generally follow eight key processes:

  • Startup - A project manager is appointed, as are the key decision-makers. They then work together to define why the project is necessary (in terms of PRINCE2 stakeholders, clients, efficiency, etc.) and outline the processes by which it will be executed

  • Direction - The Project Board is established. Its members will then charge the project manager with organizing the various details of the project

  • Initiation - The project manager prepares the ‘Project Initiation Document’, which is then submitted to the Project Board for approval. It will be revised if necessary

  • Stage control - The project is broken down into distinct manageable stages. Exactly how many will depend on the project’s size and risk level. Each stage will contain plans for the succeeding stage and must be completed before the team can progress

  • Stage boundary management - The current stage is reviewed, and the process for the next stage developed. The project can continue once the Project Board approves the execution of the current stage, as well as the plan for the next stage

  • Planning - Decisions will be made based on the products to be produced, the activities required to produce them, and what resources will be required. This stage will also involve PRINCE2 risk management and analysis, activity scheduling, and process streamlining

  • Product delivery management - The project manager will make sure that the right products are being produced in accordance with the planned schedule

  • Closing - After the project is finished, the project manager will conduct the ‘Post Project Review’ to evaluate its outcome. Once this document has been approved by the Project Board, the project will be closed down

Benefits of Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2?

PRINCE2 can help your business by enabling you to manage projects at a higher level. PRINCE2 processes will help your team managers to recognize responsibilities within a project and what the project is expected to deliver, in terms of when, why, and for whom. This clarity, combined with greater control over your resources, will result in more well-structured projects that produce far better results.

At the same time, PRINCE2 project management will also help you to maintain the correct perspective when carrying out your projects. Several reviews will take place to ensure that work is proceeding in line with established business goals, and any errors will be addressed and resolved before work can continue.

Some of the biggest benefits of PRINCE2 project management include:

  • Flexible decision points

  • Better control and use of resources

  • Regular reviews of progress against project plans and business cases

  • Means for managing risks and issues

  • Early visibility of possible problems

  • Assurance that a project can continue to have business justifications

  • A concise mechanism for managing any deviations from the set project plan

  • Good communication between the project team and other PRINCE2 stakeholders

  • A clear process for capturing lessons learned so that they can be incorporated into future projects

Overall, the biggest and most clear advantage of PRINCE2 and its processes is that they can enable businesses to save time and money while also completing projects far more efficiently. The proven success of the framework has made PRINCE2 a staple of worldwide corporate project management, one with a thriving practitioner community who are all too happy to discuss how the framework has contributed to their success.

Why did AXELOS Rename 'PRINCE2 2017' as 'PRINCE2 6th Edition'?

As of January 2020, PRINCE2 2017 will be referred to as 'PRINCE2 6th Edition'. Nothing about the framework has changed in practice.

The purpose of the alteration was simply to make sure that the PRINCE2 language would be aligned with that being used by other frameworks within the industry. At the same time, AXELOS felt that the new name would better-reflect the legacy, heritage, and authority of the framework’s best practices.

Project & Program Management Training

Why Gain a PRINCE2 Certification with Good e-Learning?

Good e-Learning is an award-winning e-course provider. Our portfolio covers many of the world’s most popular corporate standards and frameworks, including ITIL, TOGAF, Lean and Six Sigma. What makes us unique is our focus on delivering engaging content; rather than endless slides or documents, we spice up our courses with assets like interactive videos, motion graphics, gamified quizzes and more.

To become fully certified in PRINCE2 project management, students must pass both the PRINCE2 Foundation and PRINCE2 Practitioner exams. Good e-Learning provides certification courses for each stage, along with FREE vouchers and retakes for the PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner exams.

Good e-Learning offer a number of accredited Project Management courses:

Key features of our PRINCE2 courses:

  • Accredited by PeopleCert

  • FREE exam vouchers included

  • 95+% first time pass rate

  • Quizzes and revision modules

  • Instant 6 & 12 months access

  • Practice exam simulators

  • Mobile ready

  • 24/7 Tutor support

While we work hard to keep students interested, we also realize how difficult it can be for those in full-time jobs to manage their studies. As such, not only do we provide course access for several months, but we also make our courses accessible even on mobile devices, ensuring students can stagger their training and access materials whenever they have the time.

Best of all, our courses can be accessed via multiple devices. Whether you are traveling, killing time or just sat at your desk, you can continue your studies whenever it is convenient for you.

Want to find out more? Try out a PRINCE2 course free of charge today!

Project & Program Management Courses
Our Accreditations