A methodology outlines the practices, techniques, and rules for a specific discipline. For project management, a methodology is a model for planning, executing, and delivering projects. PRINCE2 is such a methodology, offering a process-based approach with principles, practices, and processes guiding projects from start to finish. PRINCE2 also includes a people aspect of project management.
PRINCE2’s comprehensive framework can be adapted to any project, epitomizing a true methodology.
In September 2023, the latest edition of the PRINCE2 manual – Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2® – was released. The manual forms a comprehensive guide to the application of the PRINCE2 methodology and forms the basis for the PRINCE2 examinations.
The PRINCE2 manual is published by PeopleCert, the owners of PRINCE2.
The seven PRINCE2 principles are the guiding obligations that determine whether the project is genuinely being managed using PRINCE2 and ensure effective application and tailoring of PRINCE2 to any project.
The seven principles are: ensure continued business justification, learn from experience, define roles, responsibilities, and relationships, manage by stages, manage by exception, focus on products, and tailor to suit the project.
People in PRINCE2
Since PRINCE2 7th edition was released in 2023, People have been at the heart of PRINCE2. Projects require individuals, both participants and the people impacted by projects. Understanding their needs, skills, motivations, and interrelationships is vital to how the project is established and managed.
The seven PRINCE2 practices outline essential project management elements that need consistent application throughout the project. They explain the specific treatment required of each aspect to ensure that the PRINCE2 processes are effective.
The seven practices are: business case, organizing, plans, quality, risk, issues, and progress.
The seven PRINCE2 processes cover the entire project lifecycle, from initiation to closure, as well as one pre-project process. Each process provides a list of suggested activities and their associated responsibilities to be performed both before the project starts, and during each of the PRINCE2 stages.
The seven processes are: starting up a project, directing a project, initiating a project, controlling a stage, managing product delivery, managing a stage boundary, and closing a project.
The project context, alongside the principles, people, practices, and processes, is the fifth element of PRINCE2. The project context refers to the unique environment, both internal to the business organization funding the project, and its external environment. It is within this unique project context that the project manager must tailor the method to suit the project’s needs. This covers the steps taken by the people involved in the project to apply the principles, practices, processes, roles, and management products to ensure that they are fit for the project context.
In addition to the five main elements of PRINCE2, the manual defines seven project management team roles with associated responsibilities.
These seven roles are: project executive, senior user, senior supplier, project manager, team manager, project assurance, and project support role.
PRINCE2 management products
PRINCE2 recommends a set of management products which can help the project management team plan, manage, and control a project. The PRINCE2 manual provides a set of templates for the management products and these can be adapted to the needs of any project, and to fit in with existing organizational processes.
For effective PRINCE2-based project management, everyone in the organization must understand and apply it consistently. It’s not just about introducing the method but ensuring it’s uniformly adopted and pragmatically used. “Embedding PRINCE2” refers to consistently implementing a customized project management method across all organizational projects.
To understand how various organizations have integrated PRINCE2, reviewing some PRINCE2 case studies which describe how they adopted PRINCE2 can be useful.