What is PRINCE2?

Discover how PRINCE2 can help you achieve your goals and manage projects effectively. Use the quick links to scroll to a relevant section.

PRINCE2 Definition

PRINCE2 (an acronym for PRojects IN Controlled Environments) is a de facto process-based method for effective project management. Used extensively by the UK Government, PRINCE2 is also widely recognised and used in the private sector, both in the UK and internationally. The PRINCE2 method is in the public domain, and offers non-proprietorial best practice guidance on project management.

Key features of PRINCE2:

  • Focus on business justification
  • Defined organisation structure for the project management team
  • Product-based planning approach
  • Emphasis on dividing the project into manageable and controllable stages
  • Flexibility that can be applied at a level appropriate to the project.

PRINCE2 History

PRINCE was established in 1989 by CCTA (the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency), since renamed the OGC (the Office of Government Commerce). In June 2010, the Office of Government Commerce Best Practice Management functions moved into the Cabinet Office.

PRINCE was originally based on PROMPT, a project management method created by Simpact Systems Ltd in 1975, and adopted by CCTA in 1979 as the standard to be used for all Government information system projects.

When PRINCE was launched in 1989, it effectively superseded PROMPT within Government projects. PRINCE remains in the public domain and copyright is retained by the Crown. PRINCE2 was published in 1996, having been contributed to by a consortium of some 150 European organisations.

How Can PRINCE2 Benefit You?

Using PRINCE2 provides you with greater control of resources, and the ability to manage business and project risk more effectively. This will benefit:

  • Individuals seeking leading project management skills and greater employment prospects
  • Project managers
  • Directors/executives (senior responsible owners) of projects, and
  • Organisations.

For individuals, PRINCE2 certification is an invaluable asset to your career as it increases employment prospects and helps you do your job more effectively. This is true for any job function. A 2016 AXELOS survey questioned individuals in project management and other roles, such as IT, senior management and operations. They reported that "regardless of function, candidates do find that PRINCE2 is valuable to their career" (pg. 22).

How Can PRINCE2 Benefit Your Organisation?

For organisations, PRINCE2's formal recognition of responsibilities within a project, together with its focus on what a project is to deliver (the why, when and for whom) provides your organisation's projects with:

  • A common, consistent approach
  • A controlled and organised start, middle and end
  • Regular reviews of progress against plan
  • Assurance that the project continues to have a business justification
  • For further benefits, visit "Why PRINCE2?"

PricewaterhouseCoopers, in a 2007 survey, found that "higher-performing projects are significantly more likely to be staffed with certified project managers" (pg. 9). Out of all the certificates that enable higher-performing projects, Arras People's 2011 survey named PRINCE2 the most popular (pg. 6).

The 2016 PRINCE2 report by AXELOS studied the level of PRINCE2 adoption by different organisations. They found an even size split in the level of PRINCE2 adoption, regardless of the organisation's size (pg. 30). PRINCE2 is useful for small or large companies, especially because it's so adaptable and compatible with the likes of agile.

PRINCE2 Qualifications and Training

We offer the following PRINCE2 training : PRINCE2 Foundation, PRINCE2 Practitioner, PRINCE2 Re-Registration and PRINCE2 Agile.