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The Prince2 Project Management Methodology

written by: Rupen Sharma, PMP • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 6/25/2013

Some great inventions, ranging from the internal combustion engine to the World Wide Web to Viagra, have come from the U.K. None of these would have been possible without effective project management. Prince2, another great invention from the U.K., simplifies project management.

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    PRINCE2 is an acronym for PRojects IN Controlled Environments. It is a project management methodology that can help you execute projects effectively and efficiently. As it has been developed by the U.K. Government, Prince2 is the preferred methodology for executing projects sponsored by the U.K. Government. Though in the recent past, it has also gained some degree of popularity in the private sector. Prince2 is absolutely free to use and this is one of the reasons for its gaining popularity.

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    Benefits of Using Prince2

    Like all project management methodologies, Prince2 provides a systematic way to execute a project. This approach ensures that you meet the project goals in a logical, systematic, and organized manner. The Prince2 project management methodology also has fairly detailed monitoring and controlling processes, which in turn ensure smooth project execution.

    Prince2 is a relatively simple project management methodology to practice. Some of the benefits of using Prince2 are:

    • consistent approach
    • focus on business justification
    • greater control on the plan by regular reviews of project progress
    • stakeholders' engagement before it’s too late
    • continuous improvement though sharing lessons learned (very similar in purpose to an Iteration Retropective in Agile Project Management)
    • detailed competencies as per the role being played in the project

    To ensure project success, Prince2 has specific processes for each phase in the project. Each process is then executed by people playing specific roles.

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    PRINCE2 Project Management Methodology Roles

    The Prince2 Project Methodology organizes and coordinates the following roles to deliver the project within budget and on-time:Prince2 

    • Project Manager: Some of the responsibilities of a Project Manager in Prince2 are allocating work, creating plans, ensuring the work is done as per the defined quality, and ensuring the work is completed on-time. In short, it is very similar to the responsibilities of a Project Manager in other project management methodologies. The key difference is the fact that the Project Manager in Prince2 reports on project status to a Project Board. The Project Board comprises representatives of the Customer, User, and Supplier. The Project Board also addresses any hurdles that the Project Manager may raise.
    • Customer: The person or organization that pays for the project.
    • User: The person or organization that uses the outcome of a project. A customer and a user can be the same person.
    • Supplier: The person or organization that is responsible for creating the project outcome. A supplier may also be called a specialist.
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    Prince 2 Project Management Methodology Processes

    The roles in the Prince2 project apply the following processes:

    • Directing a Project: Procedures that enable the Project Board to ensure the project progresses as planned from start to close; these procedures span the entire duration of the project.
    • Starting up a Project: Procedures that lead into the Initiating a Project process; it includes creating the Initiation Stage Plan.
    • Initiating a Project: Procedures that are necessary for initiating a project considering some key factors, such as business justification and resources commitment.
    • Managing Stage Boundaries: Procedures that enable the Project Board to make key decisions.
    • Controlling Stage: Procedures for monitoring and controlling the project.
    • Managing Product Delivery (MP): Procedures to ensure the planned products are created as planned and to the expected quality.
    • Closing a Project (CP): Procedures to close the project.
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    Prince2 Project Management Methodology Training

    The best way to understand anything is to go attend a training. There are two levels of Prince2 project management training available:

    • Prince2 Foundation: This certification sets the basis for you to learn Prince2. The fundamental knowledge and basic terminology are explained at this level.
    • Prince2 Practitioner: This certification is for people who will actually manage Prince2 projects.

    For more information on Prince2 processes and the training available, go to Prince2.

    For more on the value of formal project management training and certifications, read:

    Lastly, if you'd like to learn about an Agile Project Management Methodology called SCRUM, read the 30-day Sprint article.