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What is PRINCE2® Project Management?

What is PRINCE2?

Your Introduction to the PRINCE2® Methodology & Getting Certified

If you’re working as a project manager or thinking about moving into a project management role from a management course, it’s likely that you’ve heard the term “PRINCE2®”.

PRINCE2® is an extremely popular approach for managing projects. It’s used in all kinds of organisations, to manage projects of all sizes and kinds, and all across the globe. In fact, PRINCE2® is so popular that many companies mandate its use.

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Today’s fast-paced, ever-evolving climate sees project managers training and certifying in many different project management methodologies.

However, you’ll find that those who are serious about the success of their projects and their career prospects hold PRINCE2® certification in addition to other qualifications.

What is PRINCE2®?


PRINCE2® as we know it today began in 1989. It was inspired by an older project management system, PROMPT II, which was in effect in the mid 1970s.

PRINCE2® stands for PRojects IN a Controlled Environment. The “2” at the end is a nod to the “II” in “PROMPT II”.

Over the years following 1989, the PRINCE2® approach was developed and then published as a project management methodology in 1996.


1. Business Justification

Business Justification – What is the Value of this Project?

Before the planning for a PRINCE2® project can begin, there must be a valid business reason for undertaking the project. “What is the business justification for this project?” This is a question that must be answered satisfactorily before any further steps are taken.

2. Tailoring

Customisation – How do we Tailor PRINCE2® to fit this Project?

Although structure is one of the key characteristics of a PRINCE2® project, it is also a very flexible methodology as it can be adapted to suit the particular requirements of a given project. PRINCE2® also combines well with other methodologies (Agile, for example) when required or advantageous to the project’s success.

3. Focus on Deliverables

Focus on Deliverables – What are the goals of this Project?

Closely linked to business justification, the focus on delivering value is strong throughout the lifecycle of any PRINCE2® project. PRINCE2® project teams will continually turn their attention to the project deliverables to ensure the project stays on track for achieving its goals.

4. Control

Control – How do we stay on track with this Project?

The PRINCE2® framework employs many techniques and structures for keeping control of a project. Utilising these controls allows the team to achieve the project deliverables.

5. Structure

Structure – Who does what? When do they do it? How do they do it?

Clearly outlined roles and responsibilities, a consistent terminology, and application of processes come under the heading of structure within a PRINCE2® project. These structures help the team maintain project control and achieve the project deliverables.

6. Learning and Improvement

Learning & Improvement – How can we do even better next time?

At the end of any PRINCE2® project, the team will take time to review and learn from both the successes and failures of the project. This continuous improvement approach is key for the PRINCE2® method.

PRINCE2® offers so many benefits for running better-structured, more efficient projects. You can learn more about the benefits of PRINCE2® project management in our article “What are the Benefits of PRINCE2®?”.

What are the 7 Principles, Themes and Processes of PRINCE2®?

Almost every part of PRINCE2® project management hinges on either the 7 Principles, 7 Themes and 7 Processes. If you are running a PRINCE2® project, the principles, themes and processes will act like a combination of signposts and tool kits to guide you along the way.

7 Principles: Start Here

The 7 Principles are the starting point. They help you decide why to undertake the project, using each principle like a checklist.

  1. Continued business justification
  2. Defined roles and responsibilities
  3. Learning from experience
  4. Focus on products
  5. Manage by stages
  6. Manage by exception
  7. Tailor to the project environment
7 Principles of PRINCE2

7 Themes: Stay Focused

Once you have established or ticked off the 7 principles, the 7 themes will help to keep you on track as you work through the project.

  1. Business case
  2. Organisation
  3. Quality
  4. Plans
  5. Risk
  6. Change
  7. Progress
7 Themes of PRINCE2

7 Processes: Step-By-Step Guidance

The 7 Processes help you to navigate a successful PRINCE2® project. They are the step-by-step of how to manage a project using the PRINCE2® methodology.

  1. Starting up a project (SU)
  2. Initiating (IP)
  3. Directing (DP)
  4. Controlling a Stage (CS)
  5. Managing a Boundary Stage (SB)
  6. Managing Product Delivery (MP)
  7. Closing a Project (CP)
7 Processes of PRINCE2

How can I start using PRINCE2® Project Management?

To implement PRINCE2® successfully, you’ll need an understanding of what’s involved in each of the 7 Principles, Themes and Processes and how to use them.

Start by attending our intensive exam preparation course and achieving your PRINCE2® Foundation and Practitioner certifications.

Click below to view the PRINCE2® Foundation and Practitioner brochure and learn more, or to ask us a quick question.

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