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What is a “PRINCE2 Project Manager”? 

 June 3, 2024

By  Dave Litten

A PRINCE2 Project Manager is a professional responsible for managing projects within the framework of Projects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE2)

Let me provide you with more details:

  • PRINCE2 Methodology: PRINCE2 stands for “PRojects IN Controlled Environments.” It is a project management methodology that emphasizes organization and control. The framework is linear and process-based, focusing on moving initiatives through predefined stages
  • Role and Responsibilities:
    • The Project Manager oversees the entire lifecycle of a project, from initiation to closure. They manage the project on a day-to-day basis and are the only ones with this day-to-day focus. This role cannot be shared.
    • Responsibilities include running the project on behalf of the Project Board within specified constraints, liaising with the Project Board and Project Assurance, and managing all PRINCE2 processes except for “Directing a Project” and “Managing Product Delivery.”
    • The Project Manager is also responsible for the Project Support and Team Manager roles. In smaller projects without Team Managers, they directly manage Team Members, and if there’s no Project Support, support tasks fall on the Project Manager.
    • Essential skills for a Project Manager include good communication, cost management, understanding quality processes, handling change requests, documenting user needs, monitoring the project, and demonstrating leadership and team-building qualities.
    • They must be proactive, anticipating issues rather than waiting for them to arise.
    • Additionally, the Project Manager may take on the roles of Project Support, Team Manager (if they have specialist knowledge), and Change Authority (if permitted by the Project Board)

The PRINCE2 Project Manager

The process of controlling a stage describes the PRINCE2 project manager’s day-to-day management of the stage; this process will be used for each stage of a project.

The activities within the process of managing a stage boundary will occur towards the end of each stage, except the final stage of the project, but it can be used during the initiation stage, especially for large or complex projects.

Work package descriptions are used for defining, assigning, and controlling the work to be done, as well as setting tolerances for the team managers.

Prince2 Project Manager

If the project manager is fulfilling the team manager role, work package descriptions should still be used to define and control the work of the individual team members.

When this is the case, references to the team manager throughout the process of controlling a stage should be regarded as references to the individual team member assigned with the work.

The day-to-day control of the work conducted is central to the ultimate success of the project.

Throughout a stage, the PRINCE2 project manager work will consist of a cycle of:

  • authorizing work
  • monitoring progress information about that work, including accepting completed work packages
  • reviewing the situation, including for product quality, and triggering new work packages
  • reporting highlights to the project board at an agreed frequency
  • observing, assessing, and handling issues and risks
  • taking any necessary corrective action to remain within tolerances.

Towards the end of the last stage, the process of Closing a Project will be triggered.

Recommended actions for the PRINCE2 project manager:

  • examine the stage plan to define the extent of the deviation and the unfinished products and to determine what would happen if the deviation was allowed to continue.
  • understand the psychological safety within the project management team to decide if actions are required.
  • examine the project plan for the project status and the overall effect of any deviation (using the current baseline of the project initiation documentation).
  • determine the options for recovery, and assess them against the business case.
  • assess the impact of the options for recovery against the stage plan for the current stage.(Consideration should be given to the availability of individuals or groups with the skills or experience to assess the impact.)
  • put the situation, options, and recommendation for a course of action for the project board in an exception report; the project board will then decide on an appropriate course of action (which may support or otherwise reject the project manager’s recommendation).

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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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