What is PRINCE2®?

PRINCE2 is a project management methodology, which means that it tells you everything you need to know about the overall steps of work, and necessary or recommended roles and responsibilities, and artifacts. It’s a great help, as you don’t need to reinvent the wheel.


It’s great to have a method like PRINCE2, but you should note the following:

Scope of PRINCE2

The following are the main elements in PRINCE2. Most links are to the PRINCE2 wiki.

How does it work?

Let’s have a quick look at the way a PRINCE2 project is run!


First, there’s a pre-project, where we check to see if the project makes sense, and prepare for the first stage. We also need to have clear roles and responsibilities in the project (it’s one of the principles), therefore, at this point, we must assign a few key roles such as project management and executive.


If we get a green light at the end of pre-project, we will proceed to the first stage, called initiation. That’s when we create a high-level plan for the project. This high-level plan includes our decision for the number of stages we are going to have in the project. Each stage will produce some of the deliverables in a certain time, with a certain budget, and so on (this is the plan).

Note that we don’t plan the whole project in detail at the beginning; we just create a high-level plan for the whole project, and each stage will be planned in detail when we approach that stage. When initiation (the first stage in the project) is done, we will run a new stage, and therefore, when approaching the end of initiation, we should also create a detailed plan for the next stage.

We will probably appoint more people for the remaining roles in the project too. As usual, each person needs to have clear responsibilities.

The most important output of this stage is information about the justification of the project: Why are we going to run this project? Why is it beneficial for us to do so? What are the options? What’s the chosen option and what would the output look like? This information is packages in a business case.

At the end, the information will be sent to the project board (a group of people, including the executive), and they will decide if it’s a good idea to go to the next stage and start working on the project.

Development Stages

After initiation, there are cycles of stages. In each stage, the project manager hands out work packages to team managers and receives completed deliverables. We will have frequent monitoring, where we compare our forecasts with the targets set for the stage and the project.

When approaching the end of the stage, we will create a new detailed plan for the next stage, update the business case, and create a report for the project board. The information will be sent to them, and they decide if it’s still fine to continue the project.

While monitoring the project, the decision making process will be governed by the manage by exception principle: Each person has the authority to make decisions that have consequences in a certain range (called tolerances). If something is within the range, people in the higher levels of management may not get involved (unless they are asked to!), and if it exceeds the range, the person must escalate the decision to the higher level.


At the end of the last stage, where the product is completely built, or whenever the project board decides to cancel the project, a closing process will be run, to tie up the loose ends and officially finish the project.


The following are the certification programs for PRINCE2:

Related pages: