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Exam Guide to the PRINCE2 Project Product Description 

 September 15, 2023

By  Dave Litten

Exam Guide to the PRINCE2 Project Product Description

You are about to learn it’s not just about definitions but about providing clarity at every step of your project. So let’s get started!

Unpacking the Project Product Description

The Project Product Description isn’t some academic jargon. It’s the compass guiding your project, detailing the purpose, composition, derivation, format, and quality criteria of your project’s primary outcome.

It paints the big picture of what you’re aiming to achieve. It starts its life as part of the Project Brief, but will be updated if needed at each management stage end.

Practical Value of the Project Product Description

Wondering why it’s essential?

Guided Direction: It ensures everyone is on the same page, aiming for a shared goal.

Quality Consistency: With defined quality criteria, you get a benchmark, ensuring every product aligns with the set standards.

Stakeholder Clarity: It’s a transparency tool. Stakeholders know what to expect, eliminating unpleasant surprises.

End product acceptance: It is used to gain acceptance form the customer/end users as part of the Closing a Project process.

Deciphering Project Product Description vs. Product Description

These two often create a whirlpool of confusion:

Project Product Description: Focuses on your project’s primary outcome. Think of it as the umbrella.

Product Description: Details specific deliverables within the project. It’s like focusing on the individual raindrops under that umbrella.

Are you building a house? The Project Product Description is the dream home, while each Product Description might define rooms, the garden, or the garage.

Quality Criteria vs. Tolerances vs. Acceptance Criteria: The Triad of Quality Management

Diving deeper into PRINCE2, it’s crucial to understand these distinct terms:

Quality Criteria: These are specific standards or attributes a product should have. For a website, a criterion might be a ‘user-friendly interface’.

Tolerances: The acceptable variation from the quality criteria. If the standard loads a webpage in 2 seconds, a tolerance might allow a 0.5-second deviation either way. remember that there are six tolerance factors and each must be stated (even if some are zero tolerance).

The Tolerances areas are Time, Cost, Quality, Scope, Risk, and Benefits.

Acceptance Criteria define the conditions that must be met for the product to be accepted by the client. It’s like the checklist before giving a thumbs-up.

Demystifying Customer Quality Expectations and Acceptance Criteria

It’s essential to differentiate these two:

Customer Quality Expectations: These are the anticipated quality levels from the customer’s perspective. It’s what the customer hopes to achieve with the project, like ‘a state-of-the-art website’.

Acceptance Criteria: This is more concrete. Given the above expectation, the acceptance criteria could be ‘modern design, mobile-responsive, and loads in less than 3 seconds’.

Harness the power of Product Descriptions:

Efficiency Boost: Clear roles and responsibilities mean no overlap, just smooth operations.

Progress at a Glance: Checkpoints for each deliverable simplify progress tracking.

Resource Optimization: Pinpoint deliverable requirements to allocate resources smartly.

Acing the Exam with Sharp Clarity

Grasping these distinctions and applications is more than just to ace your exam. It’s to ensure you have a solid foundational understanding that sets you apart in the real world of projects. Reflect, apply, and see the transformation in your approach.

Your PRINCE2 Powerpack

With the knowledge of Project Product Description and its many facets, you’re set to make waves in PRINCE2. Remember, clarity isn’t just power; it’s the path to success. Here’s to acing your exams and every project you touch!

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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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