What Is PRINCE2? Methodology, Principles, Roles & Processes

Updated Aug 3, 2022.
Prince2 methodology

Among various project management methodologies, PRINCE2 has proven to be very useful and effective in project management

If you want to use a methodology that allows you to manage projects in a controlled environment, the PRINCE2 method is perfect for you. With this methodology, carrying out an entire project is easy.

This article covers everything you need about PRINCE2, including the PRINCE2 techniques and certifications.

Let’s get started.

What is PRINCE2?

PRINCE2 is an effective project management methodology widely used in most of the world and by teams in over 150 countries. The full form of PRINCE is “Projects In Controlled Environments.” 

In 1989, a UK government support agency called the CCTA (the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency) developed PRINCE2. 

Before PRINCE2 (the second edition of the PRINCE method), there was an earlier PRINCE method (the first edition). Project management specialists initially developed it. 

PRINCE2 was originally a derivative of the United Kingdom government's methodology for information system projects called Project Resource Organization Management Planning Technique (PROMPT). 

This project management methodology aims to improve organization and manage your project lifecycle from start to finish. It supports organizing a project into seven processes covering all the activities within a comprehensive project plan.

Among all the project management processes, PRINCE2 is an effective and beginner-friendly methodology that is easy to use for project managers. With its seven principles, project managers can deliver project deliverables successfully when due.

Benefits of the PRINCE2 Methodology for Project Management

The PRINCE2 methodology has many benefits in project management, which is why project managers subscribe to it. Here are some of the benefits of the PRINCE2 methodology that makes it attractive.

1. A Highly Recognized Form of Project Management

PRINCE2 is so valuable that it is recognized by the Project Management Institute (PMI). The PRINCE2 method is consistent with the project management knowledge areas and the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.

2. A Good Beginner Methodology for Project Managers

PRINCE2 has simple steps which project managers can follow to implement the method. These processes are basic and clear to understand, making it possible for your project team to implement these steps and get the desired results easily.

You can effectively train your teams with basic project management skills such as project planning, time management, and communication skills with the PRINCE2 method. 

These project management skills are important for every project team, and you can apply them when executing future projects.

3. Extremely Flexible

The design of the PRINCE2 method is to be flexible, implying that project managers can make the necessary changes to fit in with the project environment and meet the project objective.

PRINCE2 can accommodate various kinds of projects in different industries. There are no hard or fast rules applied to the PRINCE2 method.

7 Basic Principles of PRINCE2 Methodology

The PRINC2 methodology approach involves managing projects in a well-controlled environment. There are seven principles that provide the core frameworks for a PRINCE2 mindset.

1. Continued Business Justification

The business case is a vital document in PRINCE2. It is important to review the business case throughout the project lifecycle. Do this to ensure the project remains viable and does to come to an unwanted end.

Business case template
Source: Praxie

2. Learn From Experience

PRINCE2 values continuous learning for team members. Keeping a lesson log is essential to avoid making the same errors you made in the previous project

You can document the lessons learned from the previous project with the lessons log and use the information within the lesson log to guide your action in the current project.

Lessons Learned Log Template
Source: Smartsheet

3. Define Roles and Responsibilities

Project managers can take on more than one role or have shared roles. Everyone involved in the project should know their roles and what other project team members are responsible for.

Four levels make up the structure of people in a project: corporate, project board, project manager, and team.

4. Manage by Stages

The project manager breaks down tough tasks into stages or project phases to ensure efficiency while carrying them out. After each phase, document the lesson learned and the project’s outcome to guide further activities and track the project’s direction.

5. Manage by Exception

Since the project is running well, the manager does not need to intervene much in the project management process. The board needs only to be informed when a problem arises with the project.

6. Focus on Product Quality

Take the quality of project deliverables and project requirements seriously. The project manager must ensure that the teams regularly check and measure their quality.

7. Tailor to Suit Project Environment

You can use certain factors like size, risk, complexity, and importance to tailor the project in the initiation phase and throughout each stage to suit the project environment. 

Key Roles in a PRINCE2 Project 

Three main roles exist in PRINCE2. These roles are the project board, the project manager, the customer, and the team manager.

1. Project Manager

The project manager manages all the project management lifecycle phases, such as project planning, initiation, execution, controlling, and closure.

Here are the project manager’s key responsibilities:

  • The project manager tracks project progress
  • Organize a project team and monitor its performance
  • Create a comprehensive project plan that includes a schedule and budget
  • Communicate with the project board and customers

When many projects run simultaneously, the project manager sets up a project support office to help manage multiple projects successfully.

2. Team Manager

The role of a team manager largely depends on the team size. Team managers are expected to supervise the team member and report closely to a project manager.

3. Customer

A customer may be a person, a group, or an organization paying for the project. Customers are the chief beneficiaries of the project outcome.

Here are some key responsibilities played by customers. 

  • Provide adequate funds and resources needed to meet the project’s requirements
  • Understand important project management documents such as the project plan, business case, risk register, or project brief

4. Project Board

The project board consists of customers and business executives. Within the board, there are two categories. One category represents the user side, and another represents the suppliers or specialists involved in the project.

Here are the key responsibilities of the project board.

  • Project board members are responsible for the high-level decision-making process.
  • The manager and project board review the project progress 
  • Communicate with the project head regularly and approve or reject his initiatives

Key Aspects of a PRINCE2 Project

The PRINCE2 methodology has six key aspects for managing projects. Project managers use KPIs to measure performance goals.

There are six major aspects of the PRINCE2 project.

  • Scope: The project scope contains a detailed outline of everything required to complete the project. It outlines the goals, deadline, and project deliverables.
  • Costs: The project cost is how much resources, especially money, are required to execute the project. Knowing the cost prevents spending over the budget.
  • Timescale: The time scale shows how long it will take to complete the project.
  • Risk: Every project always has risk attached to it. PRINCE2 enforces risk assessment and management to help the team rise above the project’s risks.
  • Quality: You need to know the quality requirements of your project stakeholders or clients. Ensure you have quality control and assurance procedures to meet quality standards.
  • Benefits: PRINCE2 requires that each project has a clear business justification. The project also requires a business case and a cost-benefit analysis to explain the project's purpose and financial or strategic benefits.

The 7 Processes of a PRINCE2 Project 

This project management framework or methodology uses seven unique processes to manage projects effectively. Since PRINCE2 is a controlled environment method, the project manager, project board, and customers have their roles defined for synergy among them.

1. Set Up the Project

At this point, your team determines if the project is viable. To determine the project's viability, the team has to submit the project plan using a project mandate, which gives a general idea of what the project is about and defines the project case.

Project plan template_
Source: Replicon

After getting approval for the project plan, project members create a more detailed project brief.

2. Directing 

At this point, the project board reviews the briefs and determines what more is needed for the team to move forward. There could be a need to make basic adjustments to project briefs.

3. Initiation 

A project manager is chosen to lead the team and create an even more detailed project plan. You consider important factors like time, cost, quality, scope, risk, and benefits/

The project can officially begin when the project board approves the project plan that the project manager creates.

4. Controlling  

Control stages are when project managers break down certain parts to manage them effectively. Then the manager delegates the smaller chunk of the project to individual team members to execute.

5. Managing Product Delivery 

The project manager makes sure you manage the project effectively to meet quality expectations. Access the deliverables to ensure that it meets the quality set by the quality register. 

This next stage is when the project board reviews project deliverables. They can either approve the deliverables or request changes to the project.  

6. Managing Stage Boundaries 

The board reviews the project's progress at the end of each stage to determine if there is a need to proceed with the project or if it should be abandoned.

7. Close the Project

This stage is when the project manager completes any outstanding work, records project outcomes and concludes the final documentation before the end of the project lifecycle.

Types of PRINCE2 Documentation

The success of every project is largely based on how effective the documentation process is. Documentation helps to keep projects on track and submit reports to the board.

Here are some of the documents used in the PRINCE2 project management methodology.

  • Business Case: The business case explains the importance and need for the project, plus the benefits it brings to the company and users. 
  • Risk Register: The risk register contains a list of potential risks affecting the project and perceived opportunities.
  • Quality Register: This log ensures no gaps between expectations and deliverables.
  • Issues Register: The issues register highlights all the issues and problems mentioned or reported by the team members. The project manager can use this log to inform the board if issues arise.
  • Lessons Log: This log contains recorded lessons learned from previous stages. The log includes both mistakes and the right decisions.
  • Daily Log: The information in this log includes all the reports on the performance and outcomes of the project every single day. The project manager writes the log.

PRINCE2 Project Management Techniques

There are two PRINCE2 techniques: Project Scope and Project Assurance.

  • Project Assurance: This PRINCE2 project management technique provides a clear individual view of the project process and if it is making progress or not. These views include the business view, user view, and specialist view.
  • Project Scope: You can describe it as a detailed outline of all the main activities during the project execution phase. Project scope management is essential for managing projects successfully. 

PRINCE2 Certification

The PRINCE2 Certification process involves taking a course of study in the PRINCE2 project management methodology. Project management specialists take the PRINCE2 certification to acquire practical knowledge for implementing PRINCE2 for project tasks.

You must take the course with an accredited training organization, either online or onsite. To be certified, the user must pass the exams.

PRINCE2 project management methodology has four levels of certification.

  • PRINCE2 2017 Foundation
  • PRINCE2 Agile Foundation
  • PRINCE2 2017 Practitioner
  • PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner

The cost of the certification course and exam depends on the PRINCE2 certification level and the certified training body you pick. PRINCE2 certification costs range from $550 to $1,000.

How Project Management Software Can Help You Run Your PRINCE2 Projects

The PRINCE2 methodology is a great fit for many projects run by public and private organizations. Without the right software tool, you will struggle to deliver your PRINCE2 projects successfully and at the right time. 

Use project management software to manage your PRINCE2 projects effectively. You can use the various automation features to save valuable time and increase your team’s productivity. 

  • Monday.com is a project management solution that offers high-quality process-visualizations of your PRINCE2 projects from one location.
  • ClickUp is a team collaboration software that helps you break down your PRINCE2 projects into simple workflows.
  • Wrike is a powerful project planning software for managing complex PRINCE2 projects.

You can choose any of the above software tools to help run your PRINCE2 projects. Try out the free plan or free trial on its premium plans to start managing your PRINCE2 projects effectively.

Anastasia Belyh

Editor at FounderJar

Anastasia has been a professional blogger and researcher since 2014. She loves to perform in-depth software reviews to help software buyers make informed decisions when choosing project management software, CRM tools, website builders, and everything around growing a startup business.

Anastasia worked in management consulting and tech startups, so she has lots of experience in helping professionals choosing the right business software.