What Is PRINCE2® and Why Is It Important?


Project management is a very exhaustive area. Although experience plays a crucial role, companies and individuals need a base to act. Because of this, companies have started drafting project management techniques and frameworks. Few frameworks are widely applicable and scalable and companies have started offering certifications and training to individuals. PRINCE2® is one such project management method.

What Is PRINCE2®?

PRINCE2 stands for Projects in Controlled Environments and is an effective process-based project management technique. It devises specific strategies and establishes a project management framework for PRINCE2-certified project managers to follow.

Companies worldwide have started adopting the PRINCE2 project management framework. PRINCE2 is widely used in the UK, Africa, Australia, Europe, and the Middle East. However, certain businesses in the USA and Asia are also seen to prefer PRINCE2 over other project management frameworks.

The framework was initially developed in the year 1989 for the UK government’s IT projects. Later on, the PRINCE2 methodology was released for other non-governmental projects in the year 1996.

The benefits of the PRINCE2 framework include the following −

  • It is a generalized high-level framework that covers more than one industry.

  • It has a standardized and tested methodology for project management.

  • The roles and responsibilities of the team members in a project can be identified and allotted clearly.

  • It reduces ambiguity by dividing the master project plan into smaller plans like stage plans, project plans, and team plans.

  • It focuses on both the process and the project.

Why Is PRINCE2® Important for an Organization?

PRINCE2 benefits an organization in several ways. First and foremost, it helps manage a project in an effective and structured way. PRINCE2 enables clarity in the roles and responsibilities of the people involved in a project through its novel framework. Such a systematic framework will allow the project to continue smoothly and reduces the chances of failure.

An organization that follows the PRINCE2 frameworks and methodology will have access to a consistent approach, business justification, progress against plan reviews, and an organized and controlled start, middle, and end.

PRINCE2 is not just another guidebook to successful project implementation. Rather it is a flexible methodology that emphasizes the embodied project management principles. In simple terms, PRINCE2 certification will make sure that the certified professionals have an intuitive understanding of various project management principles. In addition, it helps in the successful planning, monitoring, initiating, and execution of projects.

Why Is PRINCE2® Certification Important for an Individual?

Getting a PRINCE2 certificate is highly important for a project management professional since it helps achieve global acceptance and is applicable to more than one industry. Also, PRINCE2-certified project managers are highly demanded across various projects.

The PRINCE2 certification is offered for two different levels of qualification viz. PRINCE2 Foundation and PRINCE2 Practitioner. The former helps in introducing the framework to beginners and teaches about risk management, budget control, risk mitigation, etc. The latter focuses on the application of the learned principles to address critical issues in the organization.

Major Benefits of PRINCE2® For Project Management

Apart from guiding a project based on a better perspective, the PRINCE2 methodology offers the following benefits −

  • Flexible decision making

  • A clear and well-defined process for incorporating feedback and lessons learned into upcoming projects

  • It helps in predicting potential risks and problems

  • Project control and resource utilization

  • Tangible business justifications for project continuation

  • A reliable and concise approach to solving issues related to project scope, budget, and time deviations

  • Communication between various stakeholders and the team members

  • Clear definition of various roles and responsibilities

  • Project value optimization along with budget and time control

Examples of PRINCE2® Application

The best way to understand the importance and benefits of the PRINCE2 methodology and certification is through examples and live case studies. Here are two important case studies that help in understanding the PRINCE2 framework.

Transpower uses PRINCE2® to identify future needs and meet them

Transpower is focused on delivering a net-zero carbon economy and a reliable electricity system for New Zealand. It is also focused on identifying the future needs of the country. Transpower achieves this through a seasoned computer program that simulates the outcomes of varying electricity demands and power generation. Once an issue is identified shortly, Transpower handles it efficiently by applying the following process −

  • Identification of alternatives for solving the issue

  • Short-listing of the alternatives

  • Determination of a preferred alternative based on various factors

  • Approval for budget allocation and investments

  • Designing a solution through proper consultation

Transpower initially made use of a hybrid project management technique for its IT operations. The major limitation of these methods was that there was no feedback loop to incorporate lessons learned. However, PRINCE2 was implemented and proved to be highly successful.

The University of Western Australia implemented PRINCE2® for enabling cultural change and project management

University of Western Australia library had a poor way of managing projects. Some critical issues were insufficient funds and resources, unplanned and ad hoc implementation, and poor status reports. In 2005, the library staff was trained and the PRINCE2 project management methodology was implemented.

The methodology helped write business cases, identify the scope and plan the projects. Also, a lot of cultural change took place when library staff from various sections worked together on a project. The clear definition of roles and responsibilities combined with a solid project management framework made this happen.

There are several other exemplary pieces of evidence on the accrued benefits of PRINCE2. It has been used in Environment Canada, the Australian department of parliamentary services, US federal government IT projects, Newcastle-Under-Lyme College, etc.

Conclusion

Project management methodologies vary based on projects, team sizes, geography, and industries. In a few cases, even two or more project management methodologies can be used to achieve the best results. PRINCE2 is a core certification that is popular and widely used in the field of project management. Like every other project management methodology, PRINCE2 has its own set of benefits and application areas. So it is good to understand the major features and characteristics of PRINCE2 before deciding to use it in your next project.

Updated on: 19-Jan-2023

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