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 PRINCE2 Explained | PM Tools - PM Tools

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PRINCE2 Explained


PRINCE2 is the most widely used project management approach worldwide. Its purpose is to provide a structured project management methodology which can be applied to any project situation. The methodology can be scaled to suit projects ranging from an office relocation to build of a nuclear power plant. The benefits boil down to more effective delivery of project objectives, and greater project control.

For those new to PRINCE2, this article introduces key aspects of PRINCE2 and explains the associated training and qualifications that are available.

What is PRINCE2?

PRINCE2 stands for PRojects IN Controlled Environments. Its purpose is to provide a structured project management methodology which can be applied to any project situation. Its origins lie in the public sector in the UK with a best practice methodology developed in 1989 by the CCTA (Central Computer and Telecoms Agency). The CCTA changed its name to the OGC (Office of Government Commerce); they still own the intellectual property in the official manuals but the method is free to use by anyone.

In 1996 the original version was upgraded – hence “PRINCE2”. Every year since, it has grown in popularity to become the de facto standard in many organisations. Users of PRINCE2 span all sectors of the economy and all parts of the world. The manual is being made available in English, Chinese, Danish, Polish, French, Spanish and German. PRINCE2 training and exams are undertaken in 57 countries from Argentina to Zambia. There are now more than 300,000 certified project managers who have sat and passed the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam.

PRINCE2 has never claimed to turn people instantly into competent Project Managers. It provides a rigorous project method and a common project management language – which has been of increasing value as projects span organisation boundaries and project managers move between companies. PRINCE2 is no substitute for development of project manager skills such as planning, management accounting and communication through training and years of experience.


A good Project Management method will guide the project through a controlled, well-managed, visible set of activities to achieve the desired results. PRINCE2 adopts the principles of good Project Management to avoid common problems and so helps to achieve successful projects. These principles are:

1- A project is a finite process with a definite start and end

2 – Projects always need to be managed in order to be successful

3 – For genuine commitment to the project, all parties must be clear about why the project is needed, what it is intended to achieve, how the outcome is to be achieved and what their responsibilities are in that achievement



PRINCE2 provides projects with:

- A controlled and organised start, middle and end

- Regular reviews of progress against plan and against the Business Case

- Flexible decision points

- Automatic management control of any deviations from the plan

- Involvement of management and stakeholders at the right time

- Good communication channels between the Project team and the organisation

- Agreement on the required quality in ways that can be monitored


As well as improving project performance, PRINCE2 provides:

- A method that is teachable

- A method that is repeatable

- A method that is widely understood across, and between, organisations

Steve Twine is founder and Managing Director of Focus on Project Management. Focus is a fast growing training organisation that specialises in project management. Focus works in association with most of the leading accredited providers of ITIL, PRINCE2, APM and PMI training.Find PRINCE2 training at Focus on Training
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