What is PRINCE2?

July 25, 2020
Fahad Usmani
prince2

If you are living in the UK, Europe or Australia, you will know PRINCE2, but in North America or the Middle East, you may not have heard of it.

PRINCE2 is a project management qualification.

Both the PMP and PRINCE2 are helpful for project management professionals. 

I came to know about PRINCE2 during my PMP training. My trainer was qualified in both and had helped many professionals with the PRINCE2 certification.

Several professionals have taken interest in and have asked me about PRINCE2.

Since I have not written any posts on this topic, I used to refer inquiries to other resources. However, many of them came back to me with further questions.

So, I took it upon myself to research and write this blog post on PRINCE2.

What is PRINCE2?

This acronym stands for PRojects IN Controlled Environments, and it is owned by AXELOS, a joint venture between the UK government and Capita Plc.

PRINCE was derived from PROMPT (Project Resource Organization Management Planning Techniques), which was a methodology developed by Simpact System Ltd in 1975. In 1979, the CCTA (Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency) started using it in all government IT projects.

In 1989, the CCTA established PRINCE. Later, the CCTA was renamed the OGC (Office of Government Commerce).

In 1996, PRINCE2 was published after consultation with over 150 European organizations to make it more versatile and comprehensive. This provides you with the methodology to complete projects and helps you define the role of the project manager and team members.

PRINCE2 is composed of four elements:

  1. Principles
  2. Themes
  3. Processes
  4. Custom Tailoring to the Project Environment

The PRINCE2 methodology is based on seven principles:

  1. Continued Business Justification
  2. Learn from Experience
  3. Defined Roles and Responsibilities
  4. Manage by Stages
  5. Manage by Exception
  6. Focus on Products
  7. Tailor to the Project Environment

PRINCE2 has seven themes; these concern aspects that should be addressed throughout the project. 

  1. Business Case Theme
  2. Organization Theme
  3. Quality Theme
  4. Plans Theme
  5. Risk Theme
  6. Change Theme
  7. Progress Theme

PRINCE2 has seven processes. They define the responsibility for performing themes at different points of the project. 

  1. Starting up a Project
  2. Directing a Project
  3. Initiating a Project
  4. Controlling a Stage
  5. Managing Product Delivery
  6. Managing Stage Boundary
  7. Closing a Project

Every project is unique, and you must tailor and customize the theme and the processes to suit your needs.

Benefits of PRINCE2

It Provides Methodology

PRINCE2 provides you with a methodology to complete the project. This methodology has a theme and processes to guide why, how, and whom. You can customize the theme as per your requirements.

PRINCE2 has pre-made templates for various project management-related activities.

The PMBOK does not provide you with methodology; it provides you with the framework, or the “how” part of the project.

Universal Principles

The principles of PRINCE2 are universal and you can apply them to any project; size and industry do not matter.

Management by Exception

PRINCE2 uses management by exception. As long as the issue is below the tolerance limit, the project manager will manage it and the issue will become an exception when it crosses the tolerance limit.

In this case, higher management will intervene.

Skill Improvement

PRINCE2 was developed after consultation with professionals throughout the world. It will improve your skills and you will be confident and more likely to complete projects successfully.

It brings stakeholders to a common platform and allows you to synchronize with the best industry practices.

Employability

PRINCE2 is globally recognized and having it will give your resume more weight.

For many UK government contracts, PRINCE2 is mandatory.

How to Become PRINCE2 Qualified

The PRINCE2 certification process differs from the PMP.

To become a PMP, you deal with the PMI. They manage the entire process.

However, to become PRINCE2 qualified, you need to contact the training providers registered with AXELOS. They will provide training and then conduct the exam.

PRINCE2 offers three qualification levels:

  1. PRINCE2 Foundation
  2. PRINCE2 Practitioner
  3. PRINCE2 Re-Registration

PRINCE2 Foundation

This is the basic level qualification. Here you will learn the basics of the PRINCE2 methodology and terminology.

There are no experience or education prerequisites for this qualification. 

The exam is closed book and comprises 75 multiple-choice questions, and the scores from 5 questions are not counted towards the final score.

The duration is 60 minutes and you must get 50% to pass the exam; i.e. 35 questions right out of 70.

This qualification does not expire or require re-validation.

PRINCE2 Practitioner

If you are an experienced project manager in a PRINCE2 environment, you can apply to be the PRINCE2 Practitioner.

This qualification will give you an in-depth understanding of the relationships between the PRINCE2 elements, principles, themes, etc.

To apply for the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam, you must have passed any of the certifications listed below:

  • PRINCE2 Foundation
  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
  • Project Management Professional (PMP)
  • IPMA Level A (Certified Projects Director)
  • IPMA Level B (Certified Senior Project Manager)
  • IPMA Level C (Certified Project Manager)
  • IPMA Level D (Certified Project Management Associate)

This certification is for project managers, program managers, project management consultants, project team members, and more.

The exam is multiple-choice. It has eight sets, and each set has ten questions that are worth one mark. The exam duration is two-and-a-half hours. You must get 44 questions right, or 55%, to pass it

This is an open book exam and allows you to use the official PRINCE2 manual, Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2

PRINCE2 Re-Registration

The PRINCE2 Practitioner qualification is valid for five years. To renew it, pass the PRINCE2 Re-Registration exam within 3 to 5 years. Failing to do so will cause your PRINCE2 Practitioner status to be withdrawn.

The Re-Registration exam comprises 30 questions in three sets and each is worth one mark.

The duration of the exam is one hour. You must get 17 questions right, or 55%, to pass.

This is an open book exam and allows you to use the official PRINCE2 manual.

PRINCE2 Exam

The PRINCE2 exam is conducted by many ATOs (Accredited Training Organization) under a controlled environment.

To become an ATO, a training provider has to be accredited by AXELOS.

The list of Strategic Accredited Training Organizations can be found here.

You have two choices when it comes to becoming PRINCE2 qualified:

  1. Get trained with an ATO, try the exam under their supervision, and become PRINCE2 qualified.
  2. Self-study, attempt the exam under their supervision and become qualified.

Training is not mandatory, but it is recommended.

The PRINCE2 exam is based on the official manual, Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2.

You must study to pass the exam. Along with the manual, you may need to refer to other study materials.

Will there be PRINCE3?

PRINCE was launched in 1989 when the focus was on IT projects.

It became so popular that other industries wanted it. Therefore, PRINCE2 was published in 1996 with a universal focus. 

Afterward, it was updated a few times; the most recent was in 2017, but it was still known as PRINCE2. Keep in mind that the launch of PRINCE2 was necessary because PRINCE was based on IT projects.

There is no plan to launch PRINCE3.

Should I Get a PRINCE2 Qualification?

I say yes—at least the Foundation qualification, even if you live in a country where PRINCE2 is not common and you hold another project management certification, such as the PMP.

Please note that PRINCE2 is a recognized qualification and offers you many benefits that others do not offer.

It helps you in every stage of the project life cycle, and it gives you everything you need to run and complete the project, including templates.

Suggested Course

If you are interested in getting your PRINCE2 qualification, I recommend you start with the PRINCE2 Foundation and then go for the PRINCE2 Practitioner course.

The links for these courses are given below. These are offered by GreyCampus.

PRINCE2 Foundation Course

PRINCE2 Practitioner Course

The price of these courses is 410 and 510 USD. Although this is high, you can get a 50% discount using coupon code PMSC.

GreyCampus is certified by PEOPLECERT as an Accredited Training Organization (ATO) for the PRINCE2® Foundation Qualification training and exam. They are a PMI approved REP. So, if you are a PMP and take this course, you can claim 35 PDUs towards your PMP CCR Cycle.

Conclusion

PRINCE2 is one of the world’s leading qualifications for project professionals. Its principles are universal and can be used on any project. It provides you with methodologies, templates, and everything that you will need to complete projects with better control. It even defines the roles of each team member. This certification complements PMP.

Are you PRINCE2 qualified, I request that you share your experiences with the process in the comments section.

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Speak Your Mind

  • Fahad, Thanks for the synopsis . I find UK recruiters do not have PMP at forefront of requirements, and few even know it . I am therefore planning to change to PRINCE 2 so my CV appeals in the UK market.
    I find fewer online trainers for PRINCE and so its bit more expensive compared to PMP.

  • Very good article..Mr. Fahad

    I need your advise

    I’ve no much experience in project management, I got a master in construction cost management and now I’m working as a planning engineer. I want to do the PMP but I feel it’s difficult for me now.
    someone suggested me to get PREINCE2 Faundation and CAPM, is it good idea?!

    May you please help me out

    • As you are saying that you are interested in PMP, in this case I would suggest you go for the CAPM exam because it will help you in PMP exam preparation as well.

      There is nothing wrong with PRINCE2 Foundation course as well.

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