Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2: Book review

This article explores the latest 7th edition of the PRINCE2 manual - PRINCE2® 7 Managing Successful Projects (ISBN 978-9925-34-450-5) [1].
Knowledge Train | Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2: Book review


Read on to find out more about it. If you want to learn about what has changed in PRINCE2 7th edition then you should read PRINCE2 7th Edition – What’s different?

The latest edition of PRINCE2® 7 Managing Successful Projects is a comprehensive guide to the highly popular PRINCE2 methodology. Recognized worldwide for its structured, process-based approach to project management, this book is the official PRINCE2 guidance manual, published by PeopleCert, the owners of PRINCE2.

With 342 pages, this authoritative guide equips project management professionals with the necessary tools to apply PRINCE2 effectively on their projects. The PRINCE2 methodology was the brainchild of the UK government and is widely used in both the public and private sectors both in the UK and overseas.

Detailed playbook

This book is more than just a resource for understanding PRINCE2 and project management. It’s also a detailed playbook providing actionable, step-by-step guidance for successfully executing projects of any type and scale. The book covers all the five main components of the methodology: principles, people, practices, processes, and project context.

A digital version of the book accompanies any accredited PRINCE2 training course by coming bundled with the PRINCE2 Foundation exam. For project management practitioners preferring a printed book, that option is also available.

Who should read it?

PRINCE2® 7 Managing Successful Projects is a book that would benefit a wide range of readers, including:

Project management practitioners

Experienced project management practitioners who want to learn a systematic approach to project management will find immense value in this book. It offers a clear, structured, standardized approach for managing projects of any size or scale, allowing for consistency in project delivery.

Project management novices

Individuals who are new to project management will find the book gives them a strong foundation in the PRINCE2 methodology. The book breaks down complex concepts into understandable chunks and provides real-world examples to support students’ learning.

Project team members

Anyone involved in a project – whether team members, coordinators, or project support staff – will benefit from understanding the basics of PRINCE2. This will only serve to facilitate improved collaboration, understanding, and effectiveness within project teams.

Senior management

Senior managers performing more strategic roles often find themselves operating as PRINCE2 project board members, taking decisions about project initiation, resources, and risk management. This group will also find enormous value in this manual.

Gaining a better understanding of the PRINCE2 methodology will allow them to make more informed and timely decisions thus leading to more successful outcomes from their projects.

Project management students

Students who study project management or related fields at university will find the manual an important resource for academic purposes. The PRINCE2 is a globally recognized methodology and understanding it in depth can be a significant asset in their studies and future careers.

Consultants and trainers

Any professional advising organizations on project management or providing training in this area will find the guide invaluable. The book provides the definitive authoritative resource about PRINCE2, which can serve as a basis for consulting assignments and training programs.


The manual consists of nineteen chapters, two appendices, and a glossary. The first chapter covers general introductory concepts about projects and project management, and the benefits of using PRINCE2. Chapter 2 describes the seven principles in detail, whist chapter three covers people. Chapters 4 to 11 cover the seven PRINCE2 practices, and chapters 12 to 19 cover the seven PRINCE2 processes.

The two appendices cover the PRINCE2 management products in detail, and the PRINCE2 roles and responsibilities. Finally, there is a comprehensive glossary.


Chapter 3 covers the PRINCE2 principles. The seven principles form the backbone of PRINCE2 methodology. The book dives deep into these principles – ensure continued business justification; learn from experience; define roles, responsibilities, and relationships; manage by exception; manage by stages; focus on products; and tailor to suit the project.

For most readers, these principles are simple, logical, and are most probably common sense. For people new to project management, they form an invaluable foundation to enhance their understanding and interpretation of how projects can be effectively designed and managed.

This chapter sets the scene for everything that comes later in the book because each principle is weaved into all the practices and processes described later. The principles are the threads that hang all other parts of the method together.


The people chapter covers how projects will affect people in their business-as-usual activities. How well the change delivered by the project is implemented depends not only on the project team, but also by the strength of the relationships they have with the people impacted by the project.

The chapter describes how it is important to understand both the project ecosystem and the organizational ecosystem. The project ecosystem refers to those elements of the business which are involved in the project, or are directly impacted by its outcomes, and the associated users and suppliers. The organizational ecosystem refers to those internal elements of an organization (e.g. staff, business owners) and the organization’s external relationships to other stakeholders (e.g. customers, partners, regulators).

For a book about project management, it is welcome to see elements of change management being incorporated into the main text. Usually when discussing project management, it often seems that change management is done by ‘someone else’ and is usually not seen as a project responsibility.

This book challenges that thinking by suggesting that change management must be placed at the heart of all projects. Unless the people impacted by the change support it, the project will become a waste of time and effort because the users will not use the delivered products to realize the anticipated benefits.

The chapter also discusses why it is important to understand the different cultures both within the teams working on a project, and within the broader organization and to be able to develop a culture within a project which encourages collaboration, co-creation, and improved ways of working.


Practices are aspects of project management that must be continuously addressed throughout the project lifecycle. After a brief introduction to the PRINCE2 practices in chapter 4, chapters 5 to 11 cover each practice in detail. These practices are business case, organizing, plans, quality, risk, issues, and progress.

Each practice chapter is written to help the reader comprehend the multiple aspects of project management. Each theme is described in terms of its purpose, related concepts, what it is, why it is needed, which management products will support it, and how it can be applied using the PRINCE2 recommended technique. All this using language that is simple to understand that even newcomers to project management will appreciate.


Chapter 12 provides a brief overview of the PRINCE2 process model before chapters 13 to 19 cover each process in the methodology. For the reader, their understanding of the processes is helped by the processes following the chronological flow in which they are applied on a project.

Beginning from the starting up a project and moving through directing a project, initiating a project, controlling a stage, managing product delivery, managing a stage boundary, and closing a project, each process is described in terms of its purpose, objectives, context, activities, and roles and responsibilities. In essence, the processes are explained in terms of what, when, and who.

The detailed breakdown of each process simplifies the project lifecycle. With its clear detailed guidance, even beginners in project management should be able to grasp the essentials of each process.


One of the strengths of PRINCE2® 7 Managing Successful Projects is its ability to bring the theory of project management in easily digestible form, whilst at the same time using lots of examples to make it extremely relevant.

Its structured approach to project management not only educates the reader about the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of project management but also the ‘how.’ Lots of real-world case studies make the material easily digestible and relatable. It is no mean feat to bring to life a methodology which is often perceived as dry or complex.

The manual also shines in its ability to present complex subjects with simplicity. This makes the book a valuable resource for both novices moving into project management for the first time, and for seasoned project managers seeking to develop their skills.

Readers should read this book safe in the knowledge that it is a comprehensive manual about PRINCE2. It’s not a book to be read quickly and digesting the entirety of the book does require a certain commitment. However, the rewards for doing so are great: a deep, very practical understanding of the world’s most popular project management methodology that you can adapt across all industries and project types.


Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2 is a welcome contribution to the field of project management. It provides a robust, detailed, and practical guide to a methodology that stands out in the field. While it requires some serious effort to absorb fully, it provides the reader with a complete education in the PRINCE2 methodology.

By breaking down complex concepts into comprehensible elements that a project management novice can understand is a testament to how well it is written. For anyone thinking of embracing a project management career, this guide is definitely an investment worth making.


[1] PeopleCert (2023. PRINCE2® 7 Managing Successful Projects. 7th edn. PeopleCert. ISBN 978-9925-34-450-5

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