Last edited 07 Jul 2015


PRINCE2 (Projects in Controlled Environments) is a process-based method of project management. It is used both within the UK by the government and private sector, and in the rest of the world. It provides non-proprietorial best practice guidance on project management applicable to any sort of project.

PRINCE was originally based on PROMPT, a project management method created by Simpact Systems in 1975, and adopted for use on all Government information system projects. PRINCE was established in 1989 by the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) which went to become the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), later absorbed into the Cabinet Office. In 1996, PRINCE was republished as PRINCE2 as a result of the joint contributions of a consortium of 150 European organisations. It remains in the public domain and copyright is retained by the Crown.

The key features of the PRINCE2 approach include:

  • A focus on business justification.
  • A product-based planning approach.
  • A focus on dividing the project into controlled and manageable stages.
  • Flexibility for all project levels.
  • Well-structured organisation for the project management team.
  • Regular reviews.
  • Assurance that the project continues to have a business justification.
  • Flexible decision points.
  • Control of deviations from the plan.
  • Involvement of management and stakeholders at the right time and place.
  • Good communication channels.
  • A means of capturing and sharing lessons learned.
  • A route to increasing the project management skills and competences of staff at all levels.

The seven principles of PRINCE2 are:

  • Business justification.
  • Learn from experience.
  • Roles and responsibilities.
  • Manage by stages.
  • Manage by exception.
  • Focus on products.
  • Tailor to suit the environment.

The PRINCE2 Processes adopts following stages:

  • Starting up a project.
  • Directing a project.
  • Initiating a project.
  • Controlling a stage.
  • Managing product delivery.
  • Managing stage boundaries.
  • Closing a project.

There are three levels of PRINCE2 training:

  • PRINCE2 Foundation – This level covers the basic methodology and terminology.
  • PRINCE2 Practitioner – This level is aimed at those managing projects within the PRINCE2 environment.
  • PRINCE2 Professional – This level tests the ability of individuals to manage non-complex PRINCE2 projects across all aspects of the project life-cycle.

PRINCE2 training can be provided by many different training providers or alternatively, candidates can opt for self-teaching. A list of accredited training providers can be found on the official PRINCE2 website. On successful passing of exams, individuals are registered on the APMG website.

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