What is PRINCE2? A Project Management Guide

What is PRINCE2 project management, and why is it so popular worldwide? We look at how PRINCE2 works and what it can do for your business.

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When it comes to project management, working within a framework is crucial. Managers and team members must have well-defined roles and responsibilities, as well as tangible goals, processes, and best practices. This keeps the project lifecycle as efficient and aligned as possible while also helping managers to avoid unnecessary delays and expenses.

PRINCE2 6th Edition (PRojects IN Controlled Environments 2), formerly known as ‘PRINCE2 2017’, is a process-based 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 Originally based on PROMPT, PRINCE soon superseded it in UK government projects.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 methodology has stayed relevant even as markets, industries, and business practices continue to evolve.

How Does PRINCE2 Project Management Work?

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

  • A well-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 check that the project remains relevant in relation to high-level business strategy.

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 how 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. The stages of the project each 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 is then 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./p>

  • 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.

How can PRINCE2 certification benefit my business?

Investing in PRINCE2 training can enhance project management practices throughout your business, not just now but in the long term. PRINCE2 project teams have well-defined responsibilities within a project, as well as a clear vision of what is to be delivered, when, why, and for whom. The framework also offers demonstrably effective processes for managing resources and expenditure, with the end result being more well-structured projects that deliver much higher ROIs.

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

  • Ensuring projects only continue when they have tangible 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 optimizing project value. The proven success of the framework has made PRINCE2 a staple of worldwide corporate project management. It has also created a thriving practitioner community where members are happy to discuss the framework, as well as how it is adapting to meet new challenges.

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 other frameworks. At the same time, AXELOS felt that the new name would better reflect the legacy, heritage, and authority of the framework’s best practices.

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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 PRINCE2, ITIL, and TOGAF. 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.

Our PRINCE2 online training courses offer free exam vouchers for the Foundation and Practitioner exams. Our support team is also fully qualified to answer questions on PRINCE2 and can even help manage corporate training programs via our LMS, the ‘Learning Ecosystem’. Students can also access our courses via any web-enabled device thanks to the free Go.Learn app, making it easier than ever to study any time, anywhere.

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

Key features of our PRINCE2 courses:

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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!

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