Projects bring together resources, skills, technology and ideas to achieve business objectives and deliver business benefits. Good project management helps to ensure that risks are identified and managed appropriately, and objectives and benefits are achieved within budget, within time and to the required quality.
PRINCE2 is recognised as a world-class international product and is the standard method for project management, not least because it embodies many years of good practice in project management and provides a flexible and adaptable approach to suit all projects. It is a project management method designed to provide a framework covering the wide variety of disciplines and activities required within a project. The focus throughout PRINCE2 is on the Business Case, which describes the rationale and business justification for the project. The Business Case drives all the project management processes, from initial project set-up through to successful finish.
Many organisations are employing the skills and services of external suppliers, working alongside in-house resources, to enhance their ability to deliver successful projects. PRINCE2 provides a mechanism to harness these resources and enable the team to integrate and work together effectively on a project.
PRINCE is a generic, tailorable, simple to follow project management method. It covers how to organise, manage and control your projects. It is aimed at enabling you to successfully deliver the right products, on time and within budget. As a Project manager you can apply the principles of PRINCE2 and the associated training to any type of project. It will help you to manage risk, control quality and change effectively, as well as make the most of challenging situations and opportunities that arise within a project.
• A PRINCE2 project has the following characteristics:
• A finite and defined life cycle
• Defined and measurable business products
• A corresponding set of activities to achieve the business products
• A defined amount of resources
• An organisation structure, with defined responsibilities, to manage the project.
PRINCE2 does not cover all aspects of project management. Certain aspects of project management (such as leadership and people management skills, detailed coverage of project management tools and techniques) are well covered by other existing and proven methods and are therefore excluded from PRINCE2.
PRINCE (which stands for Projects in Controlled Environments) was first developed by the UK government in 1989 as the standard approach to IT project management for central government. Since then, the method has been enhanced to become a generic, best practice approach suitable for the management of all types of projects, and has a proven record outside both IT and government sectors. PRINCE2 has been widely adopted and adapted by both the public and private sectors and is now the UK's de facto standard for project management. There is also a rapidly growing international interest. PRINCE2 is designed to incorporate the requirements and experiences of existing users around the world.
What is it? / How does it work?
The PRINCE2 method is documented in the OGC publication "Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2", readily available from the official publisher, TSO. This core book is supported by a number of complementary publications which add guidance on how to tailor the method, how to manage your people in a PRINCE project, and outlining the benefits to your business of adopting a PRINCE2 approach.
PRINCE2 is a process approach to project management, fitting each process into a framework of essential components which need to be applied throughout the project. PRINCE2 helps you work out what roles should be involved in your projects, what they will be responsible for and when they are likely to be needed. The set of processes and controls provided give you the structure that will support the life of the project, and explains what information you should be gathering along the way. The PRINCE2 method demonstrates how your project can be divided into manageable chunks or stages, allowing you to plan ahead more realistically, and to call on your resources at the time they are most needed.
PRINCE2 acts as a common language between all of customers, users and suppliers, bringing these parties together on the Project Board. And although PRINCE2 doesn't include contract management as such, it provides the necessary controls and boundaries needed for everybody to work together within the limits of any relevant contracts. In addition, the Project Board provides support to the project manager in making key decisions.
Most important of all, PRINCE2 allows your business to focus on doing the right projects, at the right time, for the right reasons, by making the start of a project and its continued existence dependent on a valid ongoing business case.
Using PRINCE provides you with greater control of resources, and the ability to manage business and project risk more effectively, which provides benefits to:
• project managers
• directors/executives (senior responsible owners) of projects, and
Using PRINCE2 in your projects will give you common systems, procedures and language. This will enable you to make fewer mistakes, to learn from those that you do make, and ultimately save money and effort. The PRINCE2 method is non-proprietary and easy to learn, and embodies established and proven best practice across the wide cross section of organisations who have contributed to its evolution since the 1980s. By adopting PRINCE2 as your project management method, you are benefiting from lessons learned by these other organisations.
In summary, PRINCE2's formal recognition of responsibilities within a project, together with its focus on what a project is to deliver (the why, when and for whom) provides your organisation's projects with:
• A common, consistent approach
• A controlled and organised start, middle and end
• Regular reviews of progress against plan
• Assurance that the project continues to have a business justification
• Flexible decision points
• Management control of any deviations from the plan
• The involvement of management and stakeholders at the right time and place during the project
• Good communication channels between the project, project management, and the rest of the organisation
• A means of capturing and sharing lessons learned
• A route to increasing the project management skills and competences of the organisation's staff at all levels
Training, consultancy and other services
PRINCE2 is supported by a wide range of services to assist you in learning and implementing the methodology. There are two qualifications which encourage knowledge and learning in PRINCE2 at Foundation and Practitioner levels, and these are supported by a wide range of accredited organisations that provide consultancy services and training courses in PRINCE2 in the UK and worldwide.
OGC's partner, the APM Group Ltd (APMG) is responsible for maintaining standards in training and certification by accrediting organisations and individuals. Full details of all supporting services are available from www.prince2.org.uk
TSO's Best Management Practice website is the official source for publications available to enhance the core guidance contained in Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2.
Case studies and other information
There are a number of PRINCE2 case studies available for reference. Visit the Best Practice Knowledge Centre for news, white papers etc.
User Groups and Fora
The Best Practice User Group supports users of OGC's best practice in project, programme and risk management, and offers opportunities to network with fellow users at regular workshops and an annual conference
Frequently Asked Questions
• What is PRINCE2?
PRINCE2, Projects in Controlled Environments, is a widely used project management method, which navigates you through all the essentials for running a successful project. Since its introduction in 1989 as a government standard for IT project management, PRINCE2 has been taken on by both the public and private sectors and is now recognised as a de facto standard for project management. PRINCE2 is a flexible method and although originally designed for the management of IT projects it is now aimed at all other types of project. PRINCE2 takes all the simple and obvious lessons learned by thousands of professionals in the past 20-odd years and presents them in a checklist for present clients, managers and their teams. OGC (Office of Government Commerce) own the methodology.
The APM Group (APMG) is the Certification Body and is responsible for the running of examinations and accreditation of training organisations (ATOs), trainers, consulting organisations (ACOs) and consultants.
As PRINCE2 is a very successful project management qualification, a large number of people and organisations have used and implemented PRINCE2. A number of case studies have been commissioned as examples of how successful PRINCE2 has become within their organisations. The full list for information and downloads can be found at:
• I would like someone to come to my company and advise on how to implement PRINCE2. Can OGC send anyone?
The APM Group is the best place to contact as they have a list of PRINCE2 consultants who can give you advice on PRINCE2 in your workplace. Please see the link below that will take you to the relevant page:
For further information on Accredited Consulting Organisations please visit the following web link:
• Which companies use PRINCE2?
OGC do not keep a record of all companies who use PRINCE2. However if you wish to contact other users of the framework you can do this via the Best Practice User Group (BPUG). BPUG is located at the following URL:
You can join BPUG as an individual or corporate member, information on the types of membership and costs are available at the following web link:
If you do not wish to pay for full membership you can still access the email forum free of charge. To do this, please visit the following URL:
• Where can I train for the PRINCE2 exams?
Training for PRINCE2 is available from accredited training organisations coordinated through the APM Group. The exams can be taken with your chosen training organisation as part of your training course, or directly through the APM Group who have open centres where you can take the exams without needing to do the training course. The open centres where the exams take place are located in Milton Keynes, York and Chester.
• PRINCE2 Examinations through an ATO
Contact details for PRINCE2 ATOs can be found at:
You will need to contact the individual organisations for details of fees and formats. APMG does not hold information on the ATOs individual courses but we ensure the training provided by the ATOs meet APMG's required standards in accordance with EN45011.
• PRINCE2 Examinations at an Open Centre
Exams are run in Milton Keynes, York and Chester on a monthly basis. We do not provide training, just exams only. If you wish to book, you can do so online at:
The costs of PRINCE2 Examinations through an Open Centre are as follows:
Foundation = £190 (inc. VAT)
Practitioner = £350 (inc. VAT)
Both Exams = £540 (inc. VAT)
• How can I take the PRINCE2 Examination outside of the UK?
For candidates outside the UK we use the British Council to run the exams for us on an ad-hoc basis. Exams (but not training courses) are available in many countries through the British Council. Information on whether exams are offered in your area can be found at:
• What are the main publications for PRINCE2 and where can I purchase them?
PRINCE2 has one main manual, "Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2". This can be purchased from the APMG online bookshop at:
• How long will it take to learn the PRINCE2 material?
Unfortunately it is difficult to say. As all candidates have different experience and amount of time on their hands, it varies from person to person. We suggest you buy the manual and have a look through for yourself before deciding how long you need to spend learning.
• What is the structure of the PRINCE2 Examinations?
The PRINCE2 Foundation examination is a one hour long, multiple choice paper of 75 questions.
Once this examination has been taken and passed you may then take the PRINCE2 Practitioner examination to become a Registered PRINCE2 Practitioner.
The PRINCE2 Practitioner exam is a three hour long objective testing examination. There are 9 questions, with a scenario background and appendices, each of the 9 questions is worth 40 marks, an overall score of 180 out of a possible 360 is required to pass. This examination is open-book allowing only for the PRINCE2 Manual to be taken into the examination.
PRINCE2 Registered Practitioners must take the Re-registration examination every 3-5 years to maintain their registered status as a PRINCE2 Practitioner.
• Please can you give me more details on PRINCE2 Re-registration?
You will need to take the Re-Registration Examination between 3 and 5 years after the date shown on your original certificate in order to maintain your status as a Registered PRINCE2 Practitioner. The examination can either be taken privately or through one of our accredited training organisations - ATOs. If you decide to take the exam through an ATO then they will offer you a refresher course on PRINCE2 and provide you with the examination at the end of this. A complete list of our ATOs, with contact details, can be found at:
You can also take the examination without attending a course through our on-line examination facility. To do this, we recommend that you refresh your memory of PRINCE2 by ensuring that you have the current version of the PRINCE2 manual and re-reading this. You can then log on to our examination site at www.apmg-exams.com
, select the 'PRINCE2 Re-Registration' option from the left hand menu bar and follow the instructions on screen to pay for and take the exam.
This exam comprises of an exam paper set at the same standard as the Practitioner examination and is based on the 2005 PRINCE2 Manual. In order to prepare for the exam, it is important that you are up to date with the current version of the PRINCE2 Manual - Managing Successful projects with PRINCE2 2005, second impression.
This exam consists of answering a question on a project scenario. You will have 60 (sixty) minutes to answer the question online and 10 minutes reading time. If you prefer, you could go offline, complete your answer using a text editor such as Microsoft Notepad, then reconnect and resume the exam, and copy and paste your answer in the text box provided.
The cost of this exam is £150 including VAT.
• Results turn around time for the PRINCE2 Examinations
Result turn-around time for the Practitioner exam is roughly 2 - 3 weeks with the Objective Testing Format. APMG will send out confirmation of your Foundation exam result within a week. If you have taken your exam via an ATO, results are sent by APMG to that particular ATO. It is the ATO's responsibility to notify you of your result. If you sat the foundation and practitioner exam in the same week, your results will not show on the Successful Candidate Register until two weeks after the results for the practitioner exam have been released. Certificate turn-around is usually two weeks after you have been notified of your result.
• What are the pass marks for the PRINCE2 exams?
Foundation Examination: You will need to score 38 out of 75 to pass the Foundation examination.
Practitioner Examination: An overall score of 180 out of a possible 360 is required to pass.
To become a Trainer: You will need to score over 50% on the Practitioner examination to score enough to be a trainer.
To become an Examiner: You will need to score over 66% on the Practitioner examination to score enough to be an examiner.
Please note that ATO has to call to find out if someone has enough marks to be a trainer or an examiner, and not the candidate in question.
• Statistics on PRINCE2 examinations
Foundation Examination: The overall pass rate for Foundation examinations is 99% with a 98% success rate being achieved by candidates who have taken the examination via our Open Centre.
Practitioner Examination: The overall pass rate for Practitioner examinations is 72% (January-December 2006). Should you take the examination via our Open Centre the pass rate is 67%.
• Did I score enough to be a trainer?
It is APMG policy not to disclose the exam score achieved. You can only state whether they scored enough to be a trainer rather then the actual mark. Only give this answer if they can state which ATO are sponsoring them to become a trainer..