Quick Guide to PRINCE2

What It Is
PRINCE2, standing for Projects IN Controlled Environments Version 2, is a widely used project management standard. It is a process-based method, applicable to any type of project and it is used across the UK and internationally in both public and private sectors.

A Short History
PRINCE Version 1, derived from an earlier method PROMPT 2, was established and first published in 1989 for IT projects by CCTA, the UK Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency. It was significantly revised in 1996, becoming PRINCE version 2, designed to be more user friendly and applicable to all types of projects. PRINCE2 is currently owned by the Cabinet Office, part of HM Government. Plans are now afoot for the Government to appoint a Joint Venture partner to lead the exploitation and development of the Cabinet Office’s Best Practice portfolio, which includes PRINCE2.

The latest version of PRINCE 2 was published in 2009 in two volumes:
1.) Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2
-this is designed for people who work on projects
2.) Directing Successful Projects with PRINCE2
-this is for people who lead or sponsor a project

Main Features of PRINCE2
– Defined organisation structure for project management team
– Emphasis on managing the project in controllable, divisible stages
– Product-based planning approach
– Focus on business justification
– Flexibility to be applied at appropriate project level.

PRINCE2 includes a set of principles, control themes, a process lifecycle and guidance on applying the method to projects.
Control themes are features of project management that are constantly addressed throughout the project lifecycle and they provide guidance on how processes should be performed. The set of PRINCE2 control themes describe:
-How baselines for risks, quality, benefits, scope, cost and time are established.
-How the project management team controls and monitors the project’s progress.

The organisation themes support the other themes by providing a structure of roles and responsibilities, including clear paths for delegation and escalation.

PRINCE2 Process Model
PRINCE2’s process model for project management contains a group of activities that are necessary for directing, managing and delivering a project.



process model



PRINCE2 Strengths and Weaknesses
– Applicable to any type of project
– Provides a universal vocabulary and approach
– Synthesises easily with industry-specific models
– The product focus clearly defines what the project will deliver and to which approved quality standards
– It is not a complete answer to project management
– Certain topics are either not included or not covered comprehensively, e.g. leadership
– Certain techniques are not included, e.g. network planning
However, these topics and techniques can easily be included alongside PRINCE2.

Official PRINCE2 website
The Cabinet Office website dedicated to PRINCE2 is at

VanHaren Publications
Project Management based on PRINCE 2009 Edition

PRINCE2 2009 Edition A Pocket Guide

Passing the PRINCE2 2009 Edition Foundation Exam- Exam Guide

PRINCE2 2009 Edition- Quick Reference Card

PRINCE2 in Practice: A practical approach to creating project management documents

For information on Quint Group PRINCE2 training please visit http://www.quintgroup.com. For information on other Accredited Training Organisations, please consult the PRINCE2 official site http://www.prince-officialsite.com.

PRINCE2 Take-up: Exams Taken
The following figures from the Cabinet Office of exams taken give an indication of PRINCE2 take-up:

2009 118960
2010 120578
2011 136149
2012 (Jan-Nov) 132790.

These figures make an interesting comparison with published figures on ITIL exams passed, which stood at 216640 for Jan-Nov 2012. See http://www.itil-officialsite.com


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