PRINCE2 principles, processes, and themes - Invensis learning

PRINCE2 is a globally recognized methodology in Project Management that provides a structured and scalable approach to managing projects. Developed by the UK government, PRINCE2 offers a comprehensive framework that emphasizes controlled project execution, effective risk management, and clear communication channels. It has become a global standard for project management and is widely adopted across various industries and sectors. 

In this blog post, we will explore the key components of PRINCE2, including PRINCE2 methodology, 7 principles of PRINCE2, processes, and themes. Understanding these elements will give you valuable insights into how PRINCE2 can enhance project success and improve overall project management practices.

Following are the topics which will be covered in this article:

  • Introduction
  • What is PRINCE2
  • History and Evolution of PRINCE2
  • Why is PRINCE2 Important
  • Elements of PRINCE2 Methodology
  • Six Aspects of PRINCE2
  • Various Roles Defined in PRINCE2
  • What is PRINCE2 Project Management
  • Prince2 Methodologies vs. Alternative Methodologies
  • Conclusion


Project management methods frequently vary by industry, project, or even team within an organization. You can employ a single approach or combine two or more to achieve the best outcomes. The goal is to make it work for your organization and its demands. But you need to understand the method to use it correctly. Therefore, those involved in project management need to continue learning about new methodologies.

You must have the appropriate credentials and certification to operate in a field that employs project management methodologies. PRINCE2 is one of a small number of essential qualifications.

What is PRINCE2

What is PRINCE2?

PRINCE2, which stands for Projects In Controlled Environments, is a well known methodology in project management in over 150 countries. It is a process-based approach that emphasizes structure and management throughout the project. Every project begins with a comprehensive plan, each phase is structured, and any loose ends are resolved after completion. 

PRINCE2 is a project management approach mostly utilized in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Europe. The PRINCE2 Methodology is a strategy which focuses on managing resources and risks by splitting projects into smaller phases, defining roles and duties, and employing seven procedures to manage the project life cycle.

History & Evolution of PRINCE2

PRINCE2 History and Evolution

The history and evolution of PRINCE2 showcase the development and refinement of this renowned methodology in project management. Initially developed by the UK government in the 1980s as PRINCE, it aimed to establish standardized project management practices. Over time, PRINCE2 emerged as an enhanced version, incorporating feedback and practical experiences from project management professionals worldwide.

With its emphasis on flexibility, adaptability, and scalability, PRINCE2 has evolved into a globally recognized and widely adopted methodology, empowering organizations to manage projects of varying sizes and complexities effectively. Understanding the historical context and evolutionary journey of PRINCE2 provides valuable insights into its robust framework and sets the stage for comprehending its practical implementation and benefits.

Origins of PRINCE2

In 1989, the Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) was established. In April 1989, the CCTA renamed the framework from PROMPT II IN THE CCTA Environment to PRINCE and implemented it as an IT standard for project management. Civil Servants, therefore, chose to modify the framework’s name to the abbreviation PRINCE, which still stands for PRojects IN Controlled Environments. However, the framework was rarely used due to its rigidity and lack of adaptable characteristics for minor projects.

Evolution of PRINCE2

After several talks with project management experts and 150 European organizations, PRINCE2 was formed in 1996 as a best practice framework and an updated, more flexible framework than its predecessor. The PRINCE2 methodology significantly changed in 2009 when the seven core principles were developed. In 2013, ownership was transferred from HM Cabinet to AXELOS Ltd.

AXELOS has recently published the 2017 Update to PRINCE2. Beginning in 2017, it was decided that the PRINCE2 syllabus would be revised in response to feedback from world-renowned PRINCE2 Practitioners, who recommended a greater emphasis on the link between the themes and guidance and the application of the framework to real-world business scenarios. There are still the same ideas, procedures, and themes; however, the PRINCE2 tests and training techniques have been reorganized.

Recognition of PRINCE2 Globally

PRINCE2 has gained widespread recognition and acceptance on a global scale, making it one of the most sought-after project management methodologies. Its global recognition stems from its comprehensive framework, adaptability to different industries, and alignment with international project management standards. 

Numerous public and private organizations across various sectors have embraced PRINCE2 as their preferred approach to project management. Additionally, the availability of PRINCE2 certifications further solidifies its global recognition, as professionals worldwide seek to enhance their project management skills and validate their expertise in PRINCE2 methodology. The international recognition of PRINCE2 demonstrates its effectiveness in driving project success and establishing a common language and approach for project teams worldwide.

Why is PRINCE2 Important?

 Importance of PRINCE2

PRINCE2 benefits project managers, directors, and an organization by allowing for more control over resources and managing business and project risk more effectively. Therefore, PRINCE2 represents well-established and tested best practices in project management. Following, we have listed a few of the advantages of PRINCE2.

Helps to Get Into the Project Management Domain

PRINCE2 is the industry standard for project management. It teaches you the skills you need to be confident in managing projects successfully. This is because PRINCE2 employs a common language, systems, and procedures. As a result, this gives you more control over your resources and risks.

Enhances Your Knowledge Flexibility

PRINCE2 is a best practice method custom-made to the specific needs of different organizations for all projects, including agile delivery. Hence, whatever your typical projects entail, PRINCE2 can handle them. In addition, you can gradually create a more bespoke and subjectively appropriate approach to project management for your organization by learning as you apply and tailor the framework.

Improves Employment Prospects

A PRINCE2 certification is an excellent addition to your resume. PRINCE2 is a world-class international product and the industry standard for project management. PRINCE2 certification is held by more than half of those who responded to Arras People’s 2011 survey. So it’s no surprise that many companies worldwide require PRINCE2 certification for their employees.

Looking for an option to improve efficiency of your project? Checkout this PRINCE2 Certification course now!

A Best Practice Framework

PRINCE2 is more than just a theory. The methodology is founded on practitioners’ expertise and practical knowledge from numerous industries and sectors. It also has a track record of success, with plenty of case studies to back up the efficacy of PRINCE2 best practices.

Acts as a Common Language

PRINCE2 is an organized and controlled start, ensuring a valid reason for the project and all people and resources are organized. Therefore, they are ready for the project with good communication among the project management team, stakeholders, and the rest of the organization.

PRINCE2 has now been in use for several decades. Therefore, it has gained widespread recognition and acceptance, with a global community of practitioners familiar with the framework’s common terminology and methods.

Elements of PRINCE2 Methodology

The PRINCE2 methodology comprises several essential elements that work together to provide a structured and controlled approach to project management. By integrating these elements,

PRINCE2 enables organizations to establish a powerful foundation for successful project delivery, ensuring transparency, accountability, and adapting to evolving project requirements.

7 Principles of PRINCE2

PRINCE2 Principles

PRINCE2 consists of 7 principles and completes a project when applied to all of them and tailored to suit the type and size of the project.

The most practiced methodology, the PRINCE2 principles, are composed to add to the success of a project without involving it with any trouble along with the management. The subjects, procedures, and product descriptions depict what completes the project.

Continued Business Justification

Which necessitates a justifiable reason for initiating the project? This justification is reevaluated throughout the project’s lifecycle. This confirms that there is a justifiable reason to begin the project, which, though it may evolve, should be valid throughout its life.

Learn from Experience

Lessons from the past should be applied in ongoing projects. Lessons from ongoing projects should be documented for future use. It is a common practice for companies to recruit a project manager based on his or her experience in a similar project.

Defined Roles and Responsibilities

The roles and responsibilities of the different levels of the project team are to be defined so as to satisfy the interests of primary stakeholders.

For instance, some of the common roles assigned in a project are project manager, project sponsor, project board, project team members, project administrator, and so on.

Manage by Stages

According to PRINCE2 best practice guidance, a project should be broken into at least two stages for better management and control. It is said that planning the number of stages needs to take into account risk and cost.

Manage by Exception

A PRINCE2 project has defined tolerances for every variable (cost, time, quality, scope, benefits, and risk) to establish the limits of delegated authority. The project board delegates to the project manager the authority to manage a management stage daily (within agreed tolerances). 

The project manager can make necessary adjustments if the management phase is anticipated to remain within tolerance. In addition, it permits the project management team to manage by exception. Implementing “manage by exception” efficiently uses senior management’s time because it reduces their time burden without removing their control by ensuring that decisions are made at the appropriate organizational level.

Focus on Products

PRINCE2 advocates an output-oriented approach to a project, and to that end, product definitions, quality, and other criteria are integral to achieving successful outcomes. Some experts suggest integrating PRINCE2 with Six Sigma for process improvement projects.

According to a template made available by AXELOS, the product description should cover the following points: purpose, composition, derivation, format, presentation, development skills required, quality criteria, quality tolerance, quality method, quality skills required, and quality responsibilities.

Tailor to Suit the Project Environment

PRINCE2 is a universal project management method that can be adapted to any project type, geography, or culture, considering the project’s environment, size, complexity, importance, team capability, and risk. It is also suitable for use in any project context, regardless of size, complexity, importance, or team competence. Moreover, the method is flexible enough to be applied to any project because it is designed to be adapted to the project context.

7 Processes of PRINCE2

PRINCE2 Processes

PRINCE2 processes describe the evolution from the pre-project activity of getting started throughout the project life-cycle until the end of the project. Each process has agendas of suggested activities, products, and related duties. The project manager supervises the seven techniques and confirms them by the task board. Here is a breakdown of each stage.

PRINCE2 processes describe the evolution from the pre-project activity of getting started throughout the project lifecycle until the end of the project. 

Each process has agendas of suggested activities, products, and related duties. The processes describe a progression from the pre-project activity of getting started to the project lifecycle stages and the final act of project closure. Therefore, each process includes a suggested activities, products, and responsibilities checklist. Following are the procedures of PRINCE2:

Starting Up a Project

Before the project begins, the very first procedure of the project is the Pre-Project Process. First, the project’s goals are defined, forming a project management team. Moreover, project managers and executives are responsible for creating the project brief and stage plan for the pre-project stage.

Directing a Project

Authorizing project stages and administering the project from start to finish (by Exception) are the main functions of this particular PRINCE2 process. Consequently, the Board of Directors for the Project is responsible for functioning in this domain.

Initiating a Project

The project has officially started in this “Initiating a Project” process. The project’s products are defined (including quality, time, cost, risk, and resources.) Moreover, roles responsible for Project Initiation Documentation (including Project Plan & Business Case) include project manager and executive.

Controlling a Stage

Each stage monitors and controls the project status with corrective actions/exception escalations. In addition, roles are responsible for communicating project-related information to stakeholders: Manager of the Project.

Manage Product Delivery

Checkpoint reports are used to report on the execution of work packages and the creation of scheduled project products to the project manager. Again, the team leader is the responsible person here.

Managing a Stage Boundary

The End-Stage Report and Stage Plan report on the current stage’s performance and plan the following stage (and whether to continue the project.) So, the board of directors for the project is responsible for looking after the managing stage.

Closing a Project

Responsibilities are accountable for completing the project with an end project report and a lessons learned report. Consequently, the Board of Directors is responsible for the project.

7 Themes of PRINCE2

PRINCE2 Themes

PRINCE2 themes describe the aspects of project management that must be addressed continually and in parallel throughout the project. Seven themes explain the specific treatment required by Prince2 Training Classes for various project management disciplines. They are set up towards the start of the project and then monitored until the end. Projects are kept on a track that continuously addresses these topics.

Business Case Theme 

The Business case theme associated with the continued business justification principle gives information about whether a task is advantageous and achievable.

Organization Theme 

The organization theme defines the roles and responsibilities that involve project managers to have everybody’s jobs and obligations on record.

Quality Theme 

The quality theme is identified with an emphasis on the principles of the products. Quality can be a conceptual idea, so defining it towards the start of a project is imperative to keeping the work on track.

Plans Theme 

The Plans theme describes the proficiency of the targets. It focuses on the products, timescale, cost, quality, and advantages.

Risk Theme 

The risk theme is the reason to distinguish, access, and control uncertain events during a project. This theme gets recorded in a risk log. Adverse risks are called threats, and positive ones are called opportunities.

Change Theme 

The change theme concerns the progress on demand and issues that emerge amid the project. However, the thought isn’t to avoid changes to get them conceded to before execution.

Progress Theme

The progress theme establishes the tools to monitor and compare actual accomplishments against those planned. It forecasts the project objectives and continued viability and controls any unacceptable deviations.

Six Aspects of PRINCE2

The PRINCE2 methodology identifies six aspects that each project must manage. First, project managers must utilize KPIs to evaluate performance objectives and project constraints. Following are the six aspects of PRINCE2:

Category Description
Scope What labor is necessary to complete the project? The project plan should include an explanation of the project’s scope
Costs What is the cost of your project? The project costs are also specified in the project plan
Timescales How much time will it take to finish your project? The project plan describes each phase of the project and its duration
Risk What are the risks to your project? You’ll need a risk management strategy to determine the mitigation strategies employed
Quality What quality requirements do your customers or stakeholders have? To meet quality standards, you must have quality control and assurance procedures
Benefits Every project requires a business case and a cost-benefit analysis to articulate its objective and financial or strategic benefits

Various Roles Defined in PRINCE2

Roles in PRINCE2

PRINCE2 is one of the most widely used project management methodologies today. It is based on the concept of project roles. Therefore, the method specifies nine filled roles, even if the same person fills multiple roles. The following are the roles under the PRINCE2 methodology:


The executive secures project funding and maintains the project’s business case and justification. However, they accept the project’s deliverables and focus on the project’s benefits to the organization or the program or portfolio that the project is a part of, similar to a “project sponsor” in other methodologies. So, the executive appoints the project board and project management team.

The Senior Use

This represents the organization or people who will use the PRINCE2 project’s product or service. Those who will be affected by it directly. The customer and the user may be the same. In addition, the senior user ensures that the Project Board respects the user’s needs and that these are specified in the project.

Senior Supplier

The suppliers are all individuals and organizations who carry out the project work, i.e., those who create the project’s deliverables. It consists of internal (the project team) and external (suppliers). It may also include those who will support and maintain the products after the completion of the project.

Firstly, the senior supplier represents the suppliers’ interests. Secondly, suppliers typically want to be fairly compensated for their efforts and receive a positive reference for future work. In addition, work satisfaction ranks high on the list as well.

Project Manager

The project manager oversees the project’s planning, execution, controlling, and closure phases. So, project managers form a project team and keep track of its progress. In addition, they make a project plan that includes a timeline and a budget and communicate with the project team and customers.

Team Manager

The Team Manager is a lower-level manager in charge of the project’s deliverables daily. They are responsible to the project manager. They may have a large project team supporting them or do all of the work themselves, but they are the technical experts.

The team manager creates work packages, which are then assigned to project team members for completion. A series of work packages is transformed into a management stage.

Project Assurance

At predetermined intervals, Project Assurance provides an independent assessment of project progress. The Project Board commonly fills this role, which must be independent of the Project Manager. The Project Board may, however, appoint an independent project assurance team. Moreover, this team is responsible for keeping the project on track with business assurance, user assurance, and supplier assurance.

What is PRINCE2 Project Management

PRINCE2 plays a crucial role in project management by effectively providing a structured and standardized approach to managing projects of varying scales and complexities. With its emphasis on clear governance, risk management, and stakeholder engagement, PRINCE2 enables project managers to maintain control, mitigate risks, and deliver projects within defined timeframes and budgets. 

By implementing PRINCE2 principles, processes, and themes, organizations can enhance project success rates, improve communication and collaboration among project teams, and ensure alignment with business objectives. PRINCE2’s systematic approach empowers project managers to navigate challenges, make informed decisions, and achieve desired project outcomes, making it a valuable methodology in project management.

PRINCE2 Methodology vs. Alternative Methodologies

 PRINCE2 Methodology vs. Alternative Methodologies

As a project manager, you devote most of your attention to selecting your team’s appropriate project management approach. A methodology often provides a framework consisting of procedures, practices, principles, and aspirations to direct the progress of a project. PRINCE2 has demonstrated its effectiveness and is now a well-known project management method. Considering the above mentioned considerations, you may determine if PRINCE2 is suitable for their projects and teams.

If you believe this is not the appropriate framework, numerous more prevalent alternatives exist. The following are popular project management methodologies:

  • Agile project Management Methodology
  • Scrum Methodology
  • Kanban Methodology
  • Lean Methods

It is up to the project manager to choose an approach. The best way to make this decision is by analyzing the project’s needs, the available resources, and the project team’s capacity to adhere to the methodology.


PRINCE2 is a highly regarded project management methodology providing a structured and scalable framework. With its focus on controlled project execution, effective risk management, and clear communication channels, PRINCE2 has become a global standard in project management. 

By understanding the methodology, principles, processes, and themes of PRINCE2, professionals can enhance their project management skills, improve project success rates, and effectively align projects with organizational objectives. Whether new to PRINCE2 or looking to expand your knowledge, embracing this methodology can lead to more efficient project delivery, increased stakeholder satisfaction, and overall project success. 

With its proven track record and wide adoption across industries, PRINCE2 offers a robust and adaptable approach to project management that can drive positive outcomes and propel organizations toward success in their project endeavors.

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Lucy Brown has many years of experience in the project management domain and has helped many organizations across the Asia Pacific region. Her excellent coordinating capabilities, both inside and outside the organization, ensures that all projects are completed on time, adhering to clients' requirements. She possesses extensive expertise in developing project scope, objectives, and coordinating efforts with other teams in completing a project. As a project management practitioner, she also possesses domain proficiency in Project Management best practices in PMP and Change Management. Lucy is involved in creating a robust project plan and keep tabs on the project throughout its lifecycle. She provides unmatched value and customized services to clients and has helped them to achieve tremendous ROI.


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