I get asked this question often: What is PRINCE2 Project Management?

Here is a quick breakdown of what PRINCE2 is.

PRINCE2 stands for: PRojects IN a Controlled Environment and the “2” says that is it the second edition published.

PRINCE2 is a structured project management methodology which is based on the experience of thousands of project managers on thousands of projects. It defines project management as follows:

“Project management is the planning, delegating, monitoring and control of all aspects of the project, and the motivation of those [people & stakeholders] involved, to achieve the project objectives with the expected performance targets for time, cost quality, scope, benefits and risk.”

The PRINCE2 method of managing projects is based on integrating four primary elements, namely: Principles, Themes, Processes and the ability to Tailor the process for any project. Let us briefly look at these.

1. The PRINCE2 Principles

According to the PRINCE2, the following principles are proposed as guiding obligations and good practices to use in the management of projects:

A continued business, or strategic, justification for the project; Learn from experience; Define roles and responsibilities; Manage by stages; Manage by exception; Focus on products;  and Tailor to suit the project environment you are working in.

2. The PRINCE2 Themes

Themes within the PRINCE2 environment are aspects within the project management environment which must be addressed continually and in parallel throughout the project. The seven PRINCE2 themes are:

  1. The business case, or strategic driver for projects (asking the “why?” question);
  2. The organization and the project management roles and responsibilities (asking the “who?” question);
  3. The quality and attributes of the product delivered by the project (asking the “what?” question);
  4. The plans, or describing the steps required to develop the plans (asking the “How, How much and When?” questions);
  5. The risks, or how project management deals with uncertainties  (asking the “What is if?” question);
  6. The changes in the project management environment (asking the “What is the impact?” question); and
  7. The progress of the project (asking the “Where are we now, where are we going and should we carry on?” questions).

3. The PRINCE2 Processes

The processes within PRINCE2 describe a step-wise progression through the project lifecycle, from getting started to the project close-out. The PRINCE2 processes are:

Starting a project; Directing a project; Initiating a project; Controlling a stage; Managing product delivery; Managing a stage boundary; and Closing a project.

4. Tailoring PRINCE2

The last element of the PRINCE2 methodology is captured by the fact that the PRINCE2 method must, or rather must, be tailored specifically for the project you are taking on. In other words, the PRINCE2 way of managing project is not a “one size fits all” approach, but that the methods of PRINCE2 can be applied to any project to any size.


I hope this shed a bit more light on what the PRINCE2 methodology entail. Please let me know what you think of PRINCE2 by leaving a comment.


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