30 Apr

PRINCE2® in 3 minutes

PRINCE2 is a process-based project management approach suitable for any type of project; it is a de facto standard used extensively by the UK public sector and is widely recognized and used in the private sector, both in the UK and internationally. The current version is PRINCE2® - Edition (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) 2009 Edition



PRINCE was developed for IT projects by the UK Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) and first released in 1989. It was renamed PRINCE2 when revised in 1996 to make it applicable to all types of projects. PRINCE2 is now owned by Axelos. The latest version was published in 2009 in two volumes:

  • Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2 (for people who work on projects on a daily basis)
  • Directing Successful Projects with PRINCE2 (for people who lead or sponsor a project)


The key features of PRINCE2 are:

  • Its focus on business justification
  • A defined organization structure for the project management team
  • Its product-based planning approach
  • Its emphasis on dividing the project into manageable and controllable stages
  • Its flexibility to be applied at a level appropriate to the project PRINCE2 comprises a set of principles, a set of control themes, a process lifecycle and guidance on matching the method to the project’s environment. The control themes are those aspects of project management that need to be addressed continually throughout the project lifecycle. They provide guidance on how the processes should be performed. The set of PRINCE2 themes describes:
  • How baselines for benefits, risks, scope, quality, cost and time are established (in the Business Case, quality and plans themes)
  • How the project management team monitors and controls the work as the project progresses (in the progress, quality, change and risk themes)


The organization theme supports the other themes with a structure of roles and responsibilities with clear paths for delegation and escalation.


PRINCE2 also provides a process model for managing a project (see Figure). This consists of a set of activities that are required to direct, manage and deliver a project.



Figure: PRINCE2 process model Source: Axelos


Target audience

Project managers, project team members, senior management involved in the decision-making activities of the project.


Scope and constraints

PRINCE2 is a generic project management approach that can be used for any type of project.


PRINCE2 complements MSP™ (Managing Successful Programmes); the two approaches were developed together with the intention of seamless fit between them.



•  PRINCE2 can be applied to any type of project

•  It provides a common vocabulary and approach

•  PRINCE2 integrates easily with industry-specific models

•  The product focus clarifies what the project will deliver, and to which agreed quality standards



PRINCE2 is not a complete answer to project management. It does not contain topics such as leadership or any ‘soft skills’, and neither does it contain techniques such as network planning and Gantt charts. These methods and techniques can, however, be incorporated with PRINCE2 without any problem.


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