What changed in PRINCE2 2017? 

 September 30, 2017

By  Dave Litten

PRINCE2 2017 Manual Changes compared to 2009 – At A Glance

What you really need to know are the main changes in the new PRINCE2 Manual (launched in 2017) , so grab a decent pad of paper to take any notes (writing in longhand will speedily select the changes into your memory)

The seven processes, seven themes, and seven principles have not changed

The new Manual has added additional tailoring areas that you need to read up on most of it is straightforward but detailed

The Manual layout and color style has changed significantly so at first glance it all seems to be all new, but that is not the case

“PID are now called approaches”

The following guidelines I have put together make no claim to capture every sentence snippet of the new stuff, but these are certainly the main areas and will get you “in the zone” over a weekend

The name for the four strategy documents contained in the PID are now called approaches.  The content has not changed apart from configuration management which is now not included in the Manual nor in the exams.

This is apart from some configuration management products such as product status account, and configuration item records. Because of this, the configuration management strategy is now called the change control approach.

The benefits review plan is now called the benefits management approach, but the content remains the same.

Tailoring and adopting PRINCE2 chapter four, this is new read pages 30 to 40

The theme chapters have not changed much, but do have some extra information on tailoring.  I point you to the following pages as the main areas to read up on:

  • page 43
  • pages 53 to 55
  • pages 69 to 76
  • pages 82 to 89
  • pages 141 to 14
  • pages 154 – 156

The seven themes are not changed, but due to the removal of configuration management it may be useful to quickly skim through the change and progress themes.  Refer to pages 138 -156

The plans theme has several small additions such as extra advice on estimating, and is also worth a quick skim through on pages 94 – 118

The PRINCE2  processes are all broadly the same but each chapter has an additional tailoring section.

  • pages 163 – 164
  • pages 177 – 178
  • pages 192 – 193
  • pages 212 – 214
  • pages 231 – 233
  • pages 241 – 243
  • pages 256 – 258
  • pages 268 – 269

Scattered throughout the Manual there are three types of highly colored text boxes with row in smaller items next to each.

These are referenced as tipskey message, and information

Most of these definitions are from the previous Manual, but some of our new, and so I recommend you skim through these and make notes if needed.

PRINCE2 Updated Manual Details

PRINCE2 is widely considered the leading project management method. There are now people qualified in PRINCE2 in the majority of countries around the world. Many companies and governmental organizations by using the material to deliver change and develop new products or services. PRINCE2 provides a tried and tested methods from which organizations benefit.

The updated guidance will help organizations understand how the fundamental principles of PRINCE2 provides the basis of good project management. It also emphasizes how the methods can be tailored to give an appropriate set to a multitude of project sizes, types and environments.

This latest evolution of PRINCE2 has been developed through consultation with project professionals to reflect their real life experiences; something it shares with the previous iterations. It brings this experience together to provide practical guidance on managing projects in a wide variety of environments including those using agile approaches.

This new addition retains the familiar PRINCE2 approach to project management with its overall structure of principles, themes and processes.

The theme chapters have been restructured to improve the flow and readability and accommodate the new material on tailoring.

We have clarified the minimum requirements for running a project using PRINCE2.

To reinforce this message we have also made changes to the qualification syllabus and examination designing so that tailoring is explicitly tested in the practitioner exam.

Many projects today involve collaboration across organizational or even national boundaries. PRINCE2 provides a universal language that unites the project team with external suppliers and colleagues in other countries.

In such environments a common understanding of what the project is trying to achieve, why the project is being undertaken, the benefits to be delivered, who is responsible for doing what, and what the project timescales are as these are crucial to project success.

These are or aspects where PRINCE2 can help organizations to better manage their projects.

The changes in this condition are all designed to make the method easier for individuals to use and for organizations adopting PRINCE2

PRINCE2 Manual Contents


  • The structure of PRINCE2
  • What PRINCE2 does not provide
  • What makes a project a ‘PRINCE2 project’?
  • The purpose of this Manual

Project management with PRINCE2

  • What is a project?
  • What is project management?
  • What is it we wish to control?
  • What does a project manager do?
  • Projects in context
  • Applying PRINCE2


  • Continued business justification
  • Learn from experience
  • Defined roles and responsibilities
  • Manage by stages
  • Manage by exception
  • Focus on products
  • Tailor to suit the project

Tailoring and adopting PRINCE2

  • Tailoring PRINCE2
  • Adopting PRINCE2
  • Tailoring PRINCE2 to suit different projects
  • Adopting PRINCE2 in an organizational environment

Introduction to PRINCE2 themes

  • Tailoring the themes
  • Format of the theme chapters

Business case

  • The business case theme
  • PRINCE2’s requirements for the business case
  • Guidance for effective business case management
  • Technique: investment appraisal


  • The organization theme
  • PRINCE2’s requirements for organization
  • Guidance for fictive project organization


  • The quality theme
  • PRINCE2’s requirements for quality
  • Guidance for effective quality management
  • Technique: recommended quality review technique


  • The plans theme
  • PRINCE2’s requirements for the plans sliding
  • Guidance for effective planning
  • Techniques: prioritization, estimation and scheduling


  • The risk theme
  • PRINCE2’s requirements for risk management
  • Guidance for effective risk management
  • Technique: recommended risk management procedure


  • The change theme
  • PRINCE2’s approach to change
  • Guidance for effective change control
  • Technique: recommended issue and change control procedure


  • The progress theme
  • PRINCE2’s requirements for managing progress
  • Guidance for effective progress management
  • Techniques: progress the valuation and peer review

Introduction to processes

  • The PRINCE2 journey
  • The PRINCE2 process model
  • Structure of the process chapters
  • Tailoring the processes

Starting up a project

  • Purpose
  • Objective
  • Context
  • Activities
  • Tailoring guidelines

Directing a project

  • Purpose
  • Objective
  • Context
  • Activities
  • Tailoring guidelines

Initiating a project

  • Purpose
  • Objective
  • Context
  • Activities
  • Tailoring guidelines

Controlling a stage

  • Purpose
  • Objective
  • Context
  • Activities
  • Tailoring guidelines

Managing product delivery

  • Purpose
  • Objective
  • Context
  • Activities
  • Tailoring guidelines

Managing a stage boundary

  • Purpose
  • Objective
  • Context
  • Activities
  • Tailoring guidelines

Closing a project

  • Purpose
  • Objective
  • Context
  • Activities
  • Tailoring guidelines

Considerations for organizational adoption

  • Tailoring PRINCE2 for an organisation
  • Embedding PRINCE2 in the organization


Product description outlines


Standards alignment


Roles and responsibilities


Product based planning example


Health check

PRINCE2 Contents Summaries

Chapter 1 introduction

Introduces the structure of the Method, its applicability and the structure of the guide. It describes what makes a project a PRINCE2 project, and what PRINCE2 does not provide.

Chapter 2 project management with PRINCE2

This explains the key concepts of a project, project management, project managers, and introduces some sample project contexts

Chapter 3 principles

The principles that any project must follow to be a a PRINCE2 project

Chapter 4 tailoring and adopting PRINCE2

How to use the inherent flexibility of PRINCE2 to tailor it for any project and build an organizational PRINCE2 based project management method. This includes common situations that the project manager may encounter

Chapter 5 introduction to PRINCE2 themes

Identifies and describes those aspects of project management that need to be addressed throughout the life of a project

Chapter 6 business case

Describes how a business case supports the continued business justification for a project and the PRINCE2 requirements for the business case theme. It provides guidance for effective business case management.

Chapter 7 organization

How to choose the right roles to make an effective project management team and to work with other stakeholders. It describes what PRINCE2 requires for the organization theme and provides guidance for effective project organizations.

Chapter 8 quality

Defines the role and importance of quality and quality management in PRINCE2, which is a product focused project management method. It includes what PRINCE2 requires for the quality theme and guidance for effective quality management.

Chapter 9 plans

Describes the value of planning for effective project management and the types of plan used in PRINCE2. It describes what PRINCE2 requires for the plans theme and provides guidance for effective planning.

Chapter 10 risk

Proposes an approach to managing the inevitable uncertainties that affect projects, both in terms of the threats they can pose and the opportunities they may bring. It includes the PRINCE2 requirements for the risk theme and guidance for effective risk management.

Chapter 11 change

Provides guidance for managing the different types of change that inevitably occur during the life of a project. The PRINCE2 approach to the change theme is described along with guidance for effective change control.

Chapter 12 progress

Explains the importance of measuring progress to the achievement of a project’s objectives and provides guidance for effective progress management. It includes the PRINCE2 requirements for managing progress and guidance for effective progress management.

Chapter 13 introduction to processes

Provides an outline of a PRINCE2 project lifecycle described in both project stages and by using the PRINCE2 process model.

Chapter 14 starting up a project

Describes the first activities for starting up project: check the justification; create the project management team; define the project management approach; and plan project initiation, including capturing previous lessons. Guidelines are included for play during the process.

Chapter 15 directing a project

Covers the activity is that the project board undertakes for decision-making flew out the project lifecycle to remain accountable for the success of the project. Also includes tailoring guidelines for directing a project.

Chapter 16 initiating a project

How to get ready to start work on the project: agree the project management approaches and controls; confirm the plan; refine the business case; and assemble the project initiation documentation. It includes tailoring guidelines for the initiating a project process.

Chapter 17 controlling a stage

Describes how to setup work for a stage, monitor progress, manage change (including taking corrective action), and deal with any issues that may impact the stage plan. Also includes tailoring guidelines for the controlling a stage process.

Chapter 18 managing product delivery

Explains how a product delivery is controlled by the project and team managers, setting criteria for the execution, delivery and acceptance of work packages. It includes tiling guidelines for the managing product delivery process.

Chapter 19 managing a stage boundary

Provides the project board with the information it needs to review the current stage and updated business case, and approved the plan for the next stage. Guidelines are provided for catering and managing a stage boundary process.

Chapter 20 closing a project

Describes how to close a project on delivery of its products (or agreed variations to them), or prematurely, because there is no longer a business justification to continue. It includes tailoring guidelines for the closing a project process.

Chapter 21 considerations for organizational adoption

Provides more detailed guidance for organizations that want to create and embed their own PRINCE2-based project management method. Examples are provided of how organizations have tapered PRINCE2

Appendices and glossary

The appendices provide further supporting information, including rolled and product descriptions, an example of product-based planning, and the health check. The glossary gives a list of the definitions of specialized terms used in the guide

Dave Litten

David spent 25 years as a senior project manager for 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.

Dave Litten

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