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What is PRINCE2? 

 March 13, 2023

By  Dave Litten

What is PRINCE2?

PRINCE2 is a project management framework.

Originally, the framework of what was to be called PRINCE2 was called PROMPTII and was developed by IBM.

From this, a refined framework was developed called PRINCE, which was created by the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA). But this could only be used for IT projects and was not widely used by the project management community.  It was also seen as far too bureaucratic.

A consortium of 130 European organisations refined and developed this still further to become PRINCE2 in 1995.

  • PRINCE2 is a registered trademark of the Cabinet Office, but its use is within the public domain, meaning that it can be used by anyone wishing to apply best practice advice and direction within all their project endeavors.
  • PRINCE2 is an acronym standing for PRojects IN Controlled Environments, and can be used for all types of projects in any industry.
  • PRINCE2 provides a flexible road map that guides you through the vital elements that must be in place to deliver the successful projects.
  • PRINCE2 is based upon a set of seven processes, and is now seen as the most widely practiced methodology for project management within the United Kingdom.  In fact, it is now used worldwide in nearly sixty countries.  It is widely used both in the private and public sector

The PRINCE2 method is being constantly revised to reflect current project management best practice, and the latest version was published in 2017. Because PRINCE2 can be tailored and scaled, it gives greater flexibility for project being run with your organization no matter what industry or types of project you are involved in.

What are the benefits of PRINCE2?

PRINCE2 is a set of processes that are used for project management. They are designed to help manage projects in a controlled environment. The process is scalable and it is suitable for all types of projects.

That’s it really – but if you are still asking yourself “What is PRINCE2 in more detail?” then lets take a deeper dive:

There are seven main processes in PRINCE2: Each process is associated with a specific activity.

The first is Project Initiation. This stage is designed to define the scope of the project. It also identifies the pre-requisites of the project.

Using this information, the project manager creates a plan. This plan includes basic risk management plans. If necessary, the project manager will then expand this plan.

Another important element of the plan is a risk register. The risk register contains the likelihood of certain events.

Finally, the lessons log is a record of what was learned from the project. This helps to improve future work processes.

One of the most important aspects of the end product is the quality. Quality checks are carried out by a specialist team.

The project board reviews each phase of the project. At the end of each stage, the project board approves or disapproves the project. These decisions are important for the success of the project.

The project mandate is a high-level project goal. It can be a verbal instruction or a written definition.

It should also include a description of the project’s purpose, format, derivation and development skills. The project should also have a quality register.

The quality register is a running log of quality assurance checks. It can also be used to measure project tolerances.

Finally, the process of starting up a project is another major part of the PRINCE2 process. This is one of the most critical processes for the project manager.

What Is Prince2

Themes

PRINCE2 themes are the guiding lights in the methodology of PRINCE2. They define roles and responsibilities and focus on specific aspects of a project. These themes also provide an understanding of the project management process.

The Plan theme describes the goals, activities and timeline of the project. It also highlights advantages, cost and proficiency of the targets.

Another theme is the Risk theme, which aims at controlling uncertainty and managing risks. There are different kinds of risk, including threats and opportunities. A risk log is kept to track these risks.

Project Planning, which focuses on products and timescales, is another theme. There are several different types of products, which are described in the product description template.

Quality is another important theme in the PRINCE2 methodology. It is important to set quality expectations at the start of a project. This ensures that work is being carried out properly.

Change Management, which involves handling changes during the project, is another important theme. During the course of the project, issues can arise that require immediate attention. By capturing and monitoring these problems, you can steer clear of similar mistakes.

Other themes include communication, quality controls and stakeholder engagement. Each of these is a tool in keeping the project on track.

The Plan is the most important theme in the PRINCE2 methodology. This theme explains the role of the project manager, the scope of the project and the roles and responsibilities of all project members.

The Plan also provides a basis for progress control. Using data and analysis, the Project Manager can monitor the status of the project and predict when it will be completed. Exception Plans can be used to replace the Stage Plan.

Product descriptions

The product description is an important part of any project. It describes what the product is, why it is needed, and how it is to be used. This is important for both quality control and value-based delivery.

Product descriptions can be formal or informal. They are typically a document of up to three pages in length. You may need to rewrite the description as your project progresses. For example, when a product changes, you may want to add new information to it.

As with any other item in a project, there are a number of factors that determine how much detail you need to include. Some of these are subjective and depend on the specific needs of your project.

A good product description includes the necessary information about the product, as well as the quality criteria that will be used to measure the quality. In some cases, this can be a series of user stories.

Product descriptions are usually developed and reviewed by the Project Manager, but can be a task for other people, as well. When you are working with a specialist, it is best to have them provide you with input.

Creating a good product description takes a lot of work. It requires a lot of knowledge and experience, and is generally a very specialized skill. However, you can get started with a product description template in Microsoft Word format.

Another option is to have your team develop their own description. They will have a good idea of what information is needed. But they don’t have the time to write it all themselves.

The purpose of a product description is to make sure that you have a solid foundation for all of the projects that you will be working on. You should be able to use the description as a reference to design, development, and implementation.

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PRINCE2 certification

The PRINCE2 certification is a qualification for professionals in project management. Originally developed by the UK Government, it has become one of the most widely-used methods for managing projects.

PRINCE2 is a method of project management that uses a stage-by-stage approach. It focuses on identifying the requirements of the user and implementing the right steps to ensure that the end result meets the goals and expectations. This methodology has been adapted to be Agile, and is a valuable asset for any project manager.

The PRINCE2 Foundation certification teaches the basic principles and skills of project management. A successful candidate should be able to apply the methodology to real-life situations.

The PRINCE2 Practitioner level certification requires that the candidate demonstrate practical knowledge of the methodology. This involves addressing a number of common project issues.

Several organizations use the PRINCE2 methodology, including the UK government and Capita. Prince2 is also used by a variety of industries. If you want to advance your career and boost your employment prospects, get a PRINCE2 certificate.

The PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner certifications are managed by the AXELOS. The organization is a joint venture of the government of the United Kingdom and a private company.

The AXELOS guides the entire PRINCE2 certification process, and provides training, support, and resources. They also publish a free tool to help you develop a business case for PRINCE2.

PRINCE2 is a process-based project management method that follows a set of principles and stages. The exam focuses on seven principles and processes that form the foundation of the methodology.

During the exam, you will be tested on your understanding of the methodology and how it is applied to a project. The test covers concepts like the project charter, or project brief.

PRINCE2 is a set of processes that are used for project management. They are designed to help manage projects in a controlled environment. The process is scalable and it is suitable for all types of projects.

There are seven main processes. Each process is associated with a specific activity.

The first is Project Initiation. This stage is designed to define the scope of the project. It also identifies the pre-requisites of the project.

Using this information, the project manager creates a plan. This plan includes basic risk management plans. If necessary, the project manager will then expand this plan.

Another important element of the plan is a risk register. The risk register contains the likelihood of certain events.

Finally, the lessons log is a record of what was learned from the project. This helps to improve future work processes.

One of the most important aspects of the end product is the quality. Quality checks are carried out by a specialist team.

The project board reviews each phase of the project. At the end of each stage, the project board approves or disapproves the project. These decisions are important for the success of the project.

The project mandate is a high-level project goal. It can be a verbal instruction or a written definition.

It should also include a description of the project’s purpose, format, derivation and development skills. The project should also have a quality register.

The quality register is a running log of quality assurance checks. It can also be used to measure project tolerances.

Finally, the process of starting up a project is another major part of the PRINCE2 process. This is one of the most critical processes for the project manager.

So Why Should You Use PRINCE2?

  • PRINCE2 provides a logical project management well-defined framework-based approach so that projects are controlled and organized in a structured manner.
  • PRINCE2 is widely recognized as a structured framework, thereby providing a common understanding by all those involved within the project.
  • Because it uses management by exception, PRINCE2 promotes efficient use of senior management while encouraging proactive authority by the project manager within tolerance bounds.
  • PRINCE2 consists of a set of seven processes each describing their key activities along with the input information required for each, and the output information that is created from each individual process.
  • PRINCE2 enhances project work consistency while enabling the re-use of project assets.
  • By the use of roles and responsibilities, PRINCE2 promotes efficiency and effectiveness of staff resources by adapting to the complexity and environment of the project.
  • The PRINCE2 Method is designed such that appropriate stakeholders are included in making key decisions and in planning activities.
  • PRINCE2 drives decision-making based upon the viability of the project business case, and hence ensures that the project focuses on delivering value for money.
  • PRINCE2 plans are structured and designed to meet the different management team levels, thereby enhancing project control and communication.  In addition, the control of resources throughout project time-frame is increased by the use of management by stages.
  • PRINCE2 includes an independent assurance role to help diagnose project work and provide helpful audit activities to support continued success of the project.
  • PRINCE2 provides change control, ensure management and risk management procedures to minimize or remove threats to the project objectives.

The dreaded PRINCE2 Exams!

The design and purpose of the two exams is clear:

The Foundation Exam

To be able to work either with, or as a member, of a PRINCE2 project management team

To ensure that you have sufficient PRINCE2 understanding and knowledge to perform the above

You will need to have passed the Foundation Exam to be able to sit the Practitioner Exam

Multiple Choice
Examination Duration: 1 hour
Instructions

  1. You should attempt all 60 questions. Each question is worth one mark.
  2. There is only one correct answer per question.
  3. You need to answer 33 questions correctly to pass the exam.
  4. Mark your answers on the answer sheet provided. Use a pencil (NOT pen).
  5. You have 1 hour to complete this exam.
  6. This is a ‘closed book’ exam. No material other than the exam paper is
    allowed

The Practitioner Exam

This exam is entirely different to the foundation, has its purpose is to test your understanding, application and tailoring of PRINCE2 within a project scenario.

Multiple Choice
Examination Duration: 2 hours and 30 minutes
Instructions

  1. You should attempt all 68 questions. Each question is worth one mark.
  2. There is only one correct answer per question.
  3. You need to answer 38 questions correctly to pass the exam.
  4. Mark your answers on the answer sheet provided. Use a pencil (NOT pen).
  5. You have 2 hours and 30 minutes to complete this exam.
  6. This is an ‘open book’ exam. You can use the Managing Successful Projects
    with PRINCE2 (2017) guidance.
  7. No other material is allowed.
  8. Read the ‘Project Scenario’ in the Scenario Booklet.
  9. You will also need the ‘Additional Information’ in the Scenario Booklet to answer
    some questions.
  10. Each question is separate. Do not use information from one question to answer another question.

The foundation exam is normally marked by your course tutor and you will know that you have passed or failed at that time, whereas the practitioner exam paper is sent away to be marked by Axelos.

But the better way, is to take the exam online – your know your marks immediately!

HINT: Invest in Projex Academy’s PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner Masterclass – and take your exam online!

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.

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