What is PRINCE2

PRINCE2 is a structured approach to project management. In PRINCE2, all project deliverables are called products. PRINCE2 focuses on the definition and delivery of all products in a project, in particular their quality requirements. As such, it defines a successful project as being output-oriented (not activity- or task-oriented). The outputs are an agreed set of products that define the scope of the project and provides the basis for planning and control.

In PRINCE2 projects sets of rules (called “approaches”) are set to define how to coordinate people and activities, how to design and supervise product delivery, and what to do if products and therefore the scope of the project has to be adjusted.

In the PRINCE2 method, each PRINCE2 process is specified with its key inputs and outputs and with specific goals and activities to be carried out to deliver a project's outcomes as defined by its Business Case. This allows for continuous assessment and adjustment when deviation from the Business Case is required.

PRINCE2 provides a common language for all participants in the project. The governance framework of PRINCE2 – its roles and responsibilities – are fully described and require tailoring to suit the complexity of the project and skills of the organization.

PRINCE2 Integrated Elements


PRINCE2 is based on seven principles (continued business justification, learn from experience, defined roles and responsibilities, manage by stages, manage by exception, focus on products and tailored to suit the project environment), seven themes (business case, organization, quality, plans, risk, change and progress) and seven processes.

Six aspects of PRINCE2 Project Performance

PRINCE2 is an acronym for Projects IN Controlled Environments. The six aspects of project performance to be managed are: Cost, Timescales, Quality, Scope, Risk and Benefits. In PRINCE2, the Project Manager’s role is to plan, delegate, monitor and control all of these six aspects of project performance.

Project Management in PRINCE2

PRINCE2 does not give any guidance on specialist work like engineering models, detailed techniques like critical path analysis (except for techniques that have a specific PRINCE2 approach) or leadership capabilities. As PRINCE2 is not a product development methodology, it can be used in combination with both waterfall and Agile based approaches. A separate article is dedicated to PRINE2 Agile and SCRUM.

PRINCE2 offers two different levels of training and certification: PRINCE2 Foundation and PRINCE2 Practitioner.

PRINCE2 is often compared with PMBOK, Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, by the Project Management Intitute (PMI). This is like comparing apples and oranges. PMBOK is Knowledge based with focus on the project management role and the tools, techniques and best practices to apply in this role. PRINCE2 on the other hand is based on a set of principles, covers the complete governance model of a project and is process oriented.

Related Articles:
What is PRINCE2 - really?
What is PRINCE2 Agile?

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