What is the PRINCE2 project management methodology?

寄稿者 Sarah Laoyan の顔写真Sarah Laoyan
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PRINCE2 is a project management methodology that's extremely focused on organization and control. PRINCE stands for "PRojects IN Controlled Environments." Learn about how the seven key principles of PRINCE2 can help your team keep projects organized and achieve your goals.

Did you know there’s a project management methodology that’s practiced in over 150 countries? With over a million certified practitioners, PRINCE2 is one of the most well-known and widely recognized forms of project management.

What is PRINCE2?

PRINCE2 is a project management methodology that emphasizes organization and control. The acronym PRINCE stands for "PRojects IN Controlled Environments." This project management framework is linear and process-based, focusing on moving initiatives through predefined stages. PRINCE2 also includes core project management principles like outlining your project scope and budget, which makes it a good option for beginners.

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The history of PRINCE2

This project management methodology was first established in 1989 by the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA). It was originally based on a methodology used by the United Kingdom’s government, known as Project Resource Organization Management Planning Technique (PROMPT). The UK government used PROMPT primarily for information system projects. 

PRINCE2 started out as just PRINCE, and this first iteration focused on managing IT projects. During the 1990s, managers realized that PRINCE’s techniques could be applied to any type of project, not just IT. After a rewrite to remove any mention of IT-specific jargon, PRINCE2 was launched in 1996.

Benefits of PRINCE2 project management

There's a reason why the PRINCE2 methodology is one of the most popular forms of project management in the world. Here’s why so many teams choose PRINCE2 to run successful projects.

PRINCE2 is a highly recognized form of project management

There are millions of PRINCE2 practitioners all over the world. The PRINCE2 method is recognized by the Project Management Institute (PMI) as a compatible methodology with the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®) and the Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification

There are several training courses and different PRINCE2 certifications you can take to learn about the PRINCE2 project management method. If you're specifically looking to become a project manager, learning the PRINCE2 process and receiving a certification can help your career long-term.

PRINCE2 is a good beginner methodology

If your team has never used any sort of project management methodology before, PRINCE2 is a good place to start. Because there’s a simple yet defined process, your team has clear steps to follow even if they’ve never implemented a project management process before.

PRINCE2 is also a great way to teach your team members. Its clear principles and phases can help guide your team through essential project management skills such as project planning, time management, and communication skills. These skills are not unique to PRINCE2—they’re universal across all project management methodologies. So if your team ever decides PRINCE2 isn’t right for them, your team members will still have learned useful skills they can apply to any project.

If your team is thinking about using a form of Agile, PRINCE2 Agile is a great place to start. PRINCE2 Agile builds upon the basics established in the standard PRINCE2 process, and applies them with the Agile methodology.

PRINCE2 is extremely flexible

While the original PRINCE technique was built with IT in mind, PRINCE2 was built to accommodate any kind of project in any industry. One of the foundational principles of PRINCE2 is to use it as a framework, and not hard set rules. It's intended for you to bend it to your project's needs.

The PRINCE2 methodology works extremely well with work management software. The process driven structure paired with software makes it easy for your team to create clear tasks with specific dates an owners. Team members, stakeholders, and the project board can quickly jump in and track project progress asynchronously. By using a collaborative workspace, your team will consistently have up-to-date information about your project status and any important updates.

PRINCE2 プロジェクトを Asana で追跡する

PRINCE2 project roles

One of the major benefits of using the PRINCE2 methodology is clarity. Some project management methodologies have looser guidelines, but each team member using PRINCE2 has a clear and designated role. These roles have their own specific set of expectations and responsibilities. Here are some key roles you will see in a PRINCE2 project.

  • Project manager: The main individual responsible for project planning, executing the project, and moving the project along. 

  • Team manager: If your team is very large, there may be a team manager to assist the project manager. A team manager helps supervise the production of items and also manages the time and workload of each team member.

  • Customer: The customer is the person who receives the final project deliverable. This can be an external customer, contractor, or internal team. For example, your IT team may be working to create a better onboarding process. The end customers in this case are hiring managers and new hires.

  • Team members: These are the individuals who are responsible for creating the final deliverable. Because PRINCE2 is such a process-driven methodology, assigning specific roles for each team member is important. How you delegate tasks is up to the project manager or team manager.

  • Project board: A group of people who make high-level decisions for your project. Typically, the project board is made up of business executives, and in some cases, end customers.

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6 key aspects of a PRINCE2 project

Every PRINCE2 project has these six characteristics, which the project manager tracks as the project progresses. Some of them link directly to key PRINCE2 principles (which we explain in the next section), while others are just important information for your team to know as they progress through the project. Here are six aspects that you'll find in every PRINCE2 project.

  1. Project scope: This clearly outlines what goals, deadlines, and project deliverables your project is working towards.

  2. Costs: This is how much money your project will cost. The goal is to calculate this as close as you can to prevent going over your project budget

  3. Timescales: This is the amount of time your project will take to complete. PRINCE2 projects typically have a set deadline created by the project board. Timescales help team members by giving them an estimated timeline to complete each task. 

  4. Risk: There’s inherent risk with every project because we can’t control everything. Part of PRINCE2 includes establishing a risk management process to proactively identify what risks your team may encounter and mitigate any issues.

  5. Quality: In PRINCE2, it's necessary to create a quality register, or something that clearly defines the standards of production for all deliverables. This ensures that the final deliverable meets your team’s highest standards and satisfies customer expectations.

  6. Benefits: PRINCE2 requires that every project has a clear business justification. This is similar to a project charter, but the requirements all depend on what your project board wants to see before approving the project.

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The 7 phases of a PRINCE2 project

In addition to the seven principles of PRINCE2, there are also seven phases that guide your team from project initiation to project closure

  • Starting up a project: The project team submits a project plan using a project mandate, which is a rough outline of what the project entails. This provides a general idea of the project and clearly defines the business case. Once approved (often by the project board) the project team creates a more detailed project brief.

  • Directing: The project board reviews the project briefs and decides what’s required for the team to move forward. This could mean altering some aspects of the project brief to accommodate for resources or time.

  • Initiating a project: The project board chooses a project manager to lead and create an even more detailed project plan. This includes the baselines for time, cost, quality, scope, risk, and benefits. The project can officially begin once the project board fully approves the project plan the manager creates. 

  • Controlling: During this phase, the project manager breaks down parts of the project to make them more manageable. They then delegate these smaller portions to individual team members to work on and complete.

  • Managing product delivery: The project manager ensures the project is progressing smoothly and that deliverables meet the quality set by the quality register. The project board then reviews the deliverables and decides whether to approve the work, or request any changes or additional work for the project.

  • Managing stage boundaries: At the end of each stage, the project board holds a review to decide if the project should continue moving forward, or if the team should abandon the project. 

  • Closing: The project manager completes any final documentation, outcomes, and reporting before completely ending the lifecycle of this project.

PRINCE2 practitioner certifications

You don’t have to have a project management certification to use PRINCE2 on your team. That said, there are a few training courses and exam options that can help improve and demonstrate your proficiency with the methodology. 

  • PRINCE2 foundation exam: Measures foundation-level skills to demonstrate if you can act as an informed member of a PRINCE2 project management team. 

  • PRINCE2 practitioner exam: Measures whether you can apply PRINCE2 to running and managing a basic project. 

  • PRINCE2 Agile foundation exam: Measures whether you can act as an informed member of a project management team and understand how PRINCE2 works with Agile concepts like Scrum and Kanban. 

  • PRINCE2 Agile practitioner exam: Measures whether you can apply Agile methods to managing your own PRINCE2 projects. 

When choosing PRINCE2 training or a PRINCE2 foundation and practitioner exam, be sure to check that it’s offered by an accredited training organization. In addition, check that your professional certification training focuses on the most recent version of PRINCE2—for example, the PRINCE2 6th edition.

Organize your PRINCE2 project with work management software

If you're thinking about organizing your team's project with the PRINCE2 methodology, using work management software can help. With a work management tool like Asana, your team can easily establish clear roles, create templates to guide projects through each PRINCE2 stage, and delegate tasks to other team members.

PRINCE2 プロジェクトを Asana で追跡する