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Applying the PRINCE2 quality practice 

 April 2, 2024

By  Dave Litten

Applying the PRINCE2 quality practice

PRINCE2 Organizational context

A starting point of quality planning in an organizational context is identifying whether the business or programme has a mandated quality management system and expertise to perform quality assurance activities. 

If multiple organizations are involved in a project (for example, separate user and supplier organizations), each may have its quality management system and quality assurance expertise.

The quality management approach should reflect each’s roles, responsibilities, and capabilities. 

Where the project is part of a programme or portfolio, the quality management approach for the programme or portfolio will usually determine the quality management approach for the project. 

In this case, only project-specific approaches must be documented in the quality management approach.

The project may also be subject to external quality standards, for example, when the project is within a regulated environment. 

These standards may apply to both the project products and the delivery activities and must be reflected in the product and work package descriptions.

Applying The Prince2 Quality Practice Applying The Prince2 Quality Practice

PRINCE2 Commercial context

In a commercial context, product descriptions and the quality management approach must consider the function of a contract or other commercial agreement during product delivery. 

For example, access to a supplier’s facility or the ability of the customer’s quality assurance staff to conduct inspections or independent tests should be specified as part of the contract terms. 

The contract may also need to specify that the supplier provides transparency for its quality control and reporting.

Acceptance must also be treated contractually and in a project sense. 

Acceptance of a product from a supplier may be a prerequisite to acceptance of a product by the customer. 

However, its terms and conditions will be covered under the contract, not the project initiation documentation. 

Care should be taken to ensure that contractual quality and acceptance criteria do not conflict with those in the product and project product descriptions.

PRINCE2 Delivery methods

Prince2 Linear Sequential And Iterative And Incremental Project Delivery

Linear-sequential projects

In a linear-sequential delivery method, there is generally more information about the required products and their delivery activities. 

This enables product descriptions and quality specifications to be developed in sufficient detail to support scheduling and estimation to a higher confidence level. 

However, this does not mean there will be no changes in requirements during production or delivery. 

Instead, the sequence of delivery activities is typically designed to address uncertain aspects of product requirements and quality specifications early, thereby reducing the level of risk in later stages.

In addition, as with all projects, acceptance criteria and quality specifications may be affected by changes external to a linear-sequential project and addressed through change control. 

An example of such an external change would be introducing new regulatory requirements for a project product.

Iterative-incremental projects

In iterative-incremental projects, the quality specifications and acceptance criteria are not fixed with the approval of the project initiation documentation. 

Instead, they are considered goals to be achieved through iterations of development and delivery, often called sprints.

In this case, the project product descriptions may be written as high-level user stories with associated acceptance criteria and can develop iteratively as the project proceeds. 

Alternatively, the requirements (including quality specifications and acceptance criteria) can be captured and managed in a product backlog. 

This is a prioritized list that is reviewed and updated with each iteration. 

Acceptance criteria are commonly used to ascertain whether a user story has been completed.

An agile project may also aim for early delivery of a minimum viable product, a version with just enough features to be usable to provide feedback and refine requirements. 

Developing a product description for the minimum viable product effectively demonstrates PRINCE2 principles with agile delivery. 

The quality management approach may include a standard’ definition of done’ and ‘definition of ready’.

Dave Litten


Dave spent 25+ years as a senior project manager for UK and USA multinationals and has deep experience in project management. He now develops a wide range of Project Management Masterclasses, under the Projex Academy brand name. In addition, David runs project management training seminars across the world, and is a prolific writer on the many topics of project management.

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