The “PRINCE2” Methodology Approach

What is PRINCE2 Project Management?

PRINCE2, an acronym that stands for PRojects IN Controlled Environments (version 2: updated version since 1996), is the world’s leading structured, process-based project management approach. Frequently used by the U.K Government, PRINCE2 is also widespread in the private sector as well as elsewhere across the world.

It seeks to offer consistent orientation to the organization, strengthen management, return on investment, and control of the project phases from start to finish line.

PRINCE2 uses an outcome or a product-based approach, implying that more emphasis i placed on the final result rather than the preparation process.

Roles of PRINCE2

There are three main, explicitly defined roles in the PRINCE2 concept: the project manager, the project team, and the project board.

  • Project manager: the one that organizes and manages the project, assigns tasks to the project team, and monitors their progress to ensure that it is completed accurately and on schedule.
  • The Project Board shall be composed of the customer, the end-user, and the supplier.
  1. The customer: the individual or company paying for the project.
  2. User: the one using the project’s product or the one that is influenced by its outcomes. In certain cases, the customer is the user.
  3. Supplier: the party whose competence and expertise is required to produce the final product.

The 4 integrated elements of the PRINCE2:


PRINCE2 has seven core principles which are universal in a sense that they can be applied anywhere regardless of the language. They are also self validating and empowering because they enable the user to influence the outcome of the project. They are as follows:

principles of prince2 methodology

1. Continued business justification

Thinking about your project’s return on investment is important throughout the whole process. Justifying the project means understanding whether the benefits that will be achieved outweigh the risks and costs.

2. Defined roles and responsibilities:

Everyone participating in the project execution must recognize what they are responsible for and what is expected of them. This provides a good performance metric to every members of the team.

3. Learning from experience:

Teams should take notes of what was gained in the process at each stage of the project. This would allow them to properly integrate them in future stages to prevent repeating mistakes.

4. Manage by stages:

Break the project down into more attainable stages. By the completion of each phase, teams will record and note learnt lessons. This will help you keep track of the project’s direction.

5. Manage by exception:

The Project Board of Directors (Senior Managers) originally lays out the baseline requirements for projects such as time, cost, risk assessment, and project scope management.

They delegate day-to-day management responsibilities to the project manager, who, in case of problems arising, will report directly to them.

It ‘manages by exception’ and does not require regular progress meetings with the project manager.

6. Focus on products:

The team should always make sure the deliverables meet the project requirements at all times. Therefore, checking and keeping the quality high is important to meet the users’ needs.

7. Tailor to the project environment:

The approach for different projects should be tailored to the resources and time needed. Adapt the PRINCE2 approach to suit your project’s needs.


The PRINCE2 method has 7 management themes which are considered to be essential to all projects. These themes instruct the project managers in how the principles are translated into operation.

themes of prince2 project management methodology
  1. Business case: A document maintaining the project’s justification. It outlines the project’s importance and what results end-users can expect.
  2. Organization: Senior managers delegate to a project manager who delegates to team managers. It lays out a simple model to help PMs properly assign and track the tasks and duties of team members.
  3. Quality: The assurance to deliver the best quality products during the project and to obtain the outcomes and benefits the user expects.
  4. Plans: This theme lays out a blueprint about how the goals are to be reached. It also determines the planning process at the project, stage, and team levels.
  5. Risk: Any uncertain incident that may have a (-) or (+) effect on the project. Manage risks frequently and escalate them to senior managers when needed.
  6. Change: Changes can take the form of either project specifications or implementation strategies. Change is agreed upon among the board before work begins to implement it.
  7. Progress: The progress of the project is measured by comparing what happened to what was intended to happen. It will help decide whether the project is on track or off the rails.


PRINCE2 processes are where the principles and themes of the approach are applied to the achievement of the project goal. There are seven processes that drive the project, each of which has a series of associated tasks that help steer, coordinate, and deliver the project.


1. Starting up a project (SU): Establish a project mandate that provides a brief overview of the goals and the necessity of the project. The mandate is then reviewed in order to decide if the organization can take up the project. Once accepted, submit a more detailed project brief on the resources, actions, and other project details.

2. Directing (DP): The project board shall discuss the extended project brief. If authorized, the required services would be defined and assigned to the project manager.

3. Initiating (IP): The project manager shall prepare a schedule covering various checkpoints, such as costs, time requirements, quality, benefits, risk and scope of the project.

4. Controlling a Stage (CS): The project is split into stages and the teams are allocated to each stage. The project manager will track progress and make adjustments when necessary.

5. Managing Product Delivery (MP): The team manager will get the team to plan, develop and test the ‘specialist’ products. Will hand over the final items as discussed. Will report to the project manager on a daily basis.

6. Managing a Boundary Stage (SB): At the end of each stage, the manager and the board will discuss the results of that stage. The analysis would help them determine whether to proceed to the next step of the project or to halt the development entirely.

7. Closing a Project (CP): The project manager checks if users ‘accept’ the project’s products. If so, hands them over to the consumer. Report the lessons learned and the results of the project. Proposes closing to the project board. Closes and archives all documents of the project.

Tailoring to the project environment

All of the projects are different. The PRINCE2 approach must be tailored to address the special needs of each project by applying the ‘Custom approach’ for projects.

When tailoring, consider the size, scope, complexity, and level of risk of the project, and the organization’s maturity and corporate strategy.

Pros and cons of the PRINCE2

  • A flexible framework that can be integrated into any form of project.
  • Proven management activities to promote the managed start, implementation, and completion of the project
  • A common approach for project management that helps both new and skilled project teams. 
  • It relies mainly on outputs and ensures quality development in order to ensure success and performance.
  • Drives ongoing development and enhancement in project management
  • If you don’t like an overwhelming volume of paperwork, maybe PRINCE2 isn’t for you.
  • There are loads of documentation to preserve and update at each stage.
  • Owing to the lack of participation and time the project board normally has, this will eventually slow down the project.

The easiest way to completely comprehend the PRINCE2 approach is to implement it in your own project actions. A variety of PRINCE2 preparation, qualifications, and certificates are available.

References: For more info, visit these websites:

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Leave A Comment?