Everything You Need to Know About PRINCE2

PRINCE2 (Projects IN Controlled Environments) is a process-based approach for project management that provides an easily tailored and scalable method for the management of projects across many different industries. Although the PRINCE2 method is in the public domain, PRINCE2 certification is the optimal way to get guidance on how to utilise the methodology to its fullest potential whilst also giving learners a concrete qualification they can present on their resume. 

What is PRINCE2? 

PRINCE2 is an advanced project management methodology. While it is akin to methodologies used in the private sector such as SCRUM, the plan-based approach of PRINCE2 means it is more contingency-focused rather than reactive. PRINCE2 generally strives to put more focus on original business goals and provide a predictive context in order to combat issues that may be unforeseeable at the beginning of a project, while SCRUM aims for short-term and incremental achievements that may not have an overarching plan behind them. 

Although it could be argued that SCRUM is more flexible and adaptable, PRINCE2 can be better leveraged to justify additional resources from the outset, rather than reactively bolstering a team and its resources in response to a problem that may have been preventable. A project manager who has undertaken PRINCE2 certification will likely be able to execute the tenants and principles of both methodologies where appropriate. 

Which Organisations Use PRINCE2? 

PRINCE2 is a de facto standard used by the UK government and is widely recognised and used in the private sector, both in the UK and internationally. PRINCE2 is also aligned with other major project management standards, such as the Project Management Institute, (PMI) Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) and the International Organization for Standardization’s ISO 21500. While primarily adopted by IT companies and corporate industries, individuals with PRINCE2 certification are also becoming increasingly prominent and in demand in the healthcare, construction and defence sectors. 

What Are the Principles of PRINCE2? 

PRINCE2 uses a structured approach that breaks projects down into manageable stages. It’s designed to be tailored to the specific needs of a project and can be applied to projects of any size or complexity.

The PRINCE2 method is based on seven principles which ensure that projects are well-organised and well-run. These fundamental principles are:

  1. Continued business justification – There should be an identifiable need for the customer or client and realistic benefits to be gained from the project.
  2. Learn from experience – The team should be seeking lessons throughout the entire process and recording them to improve future work. 
  3. Defined roles and responsibilities – All teammates should have clearly defined roles and know the exact duties and people they are responsible for. 
  4. Manage by stages – Work should be broken up into logical and manageable stages which are periodically reviewed to confirm whether or not the project is on track to meet its requirements.
  5. Manage by exception – Regardless of the baseline requirements set by board members or senior executives, the project manager has the authority and responsibility to prioritise “exceptions” that could jeopardise or derail the project, even if these exceptions conflict with the original requirements or goals. 
  6. Tailor to suit the project environment – The PRINCE2 methodology should not be executed verbatim but rather tailored to suit the unique needs of a project or client. PRINCE2 certification aims to help individuals perfect this delicate balance between prescribed theory and practical nuances. 
  7. Focus On Quality Outcomes – All deliverables should be reviewed and checked against client requirements and criteria. Teams should also make use of a quality register in order to determine if deliverables are of an acceptable standard.

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Matt Robinson