About PRINCE2 « Resources
Introduction PRINCE2

Why do many projects fail?

Project failures are all to common, some make the headlines, but the vast majority are quickly forgotten.

There may be many and varied reasons for failure of a project. Some common causes are:
Insufficient attention to the question if a project is worth doing
Insufficient attention to the expected quality during the start of the project
Insufficient definition of the required outcomes, leading to confusion over waht the project needs to achieve
Lack of communication with stakeholders and interested parties, leading to unwanted results for the customer
A bad estimation of the duration and the costs, leading to projects taking more time and costing more money than expected
Inadequate planning and coordination of resources, leading to poor scheduling
Insufficient measurable criteria and lack of control of the progress
A shortage of quality control, leading to unacceptable or unusable results

Without a project management method, those who commission a project, those who manage it and those who work on it will have several ideas concerning how the project should be organized and when the different aspects of the project will be completed.

PRojects IN Controlled Environments

PRINCE2 is the official acronym for PRojects IN a Controlled Environment, 2e version and is a process-based method for effective project management. The method describes the managing of projects in changing environments.
Therefore, PRojects IN a Changing Environment would also be a good synonym.

Why PRINCE2 as method for project management?

So, a lot of projects fail. Not only within the government, but in each possible branch. Deadlines are not met, budgets prove to be insufficient and often the project objectives are never obtained.
No wonder companies spend a lot of attention to project management methods.

A characteristic of many methods is that one explains how to deal with something. However, one often hasn't a clue what to do to increase the change of project success optimally. And this is exactly where PRINCE2 focuses on.

PRINCE2 provides benefits to directors and managers of projects and to an organization through the controllable use of resources and the possibility to manage business and project risks more effectively. PRINCE2 embodies established techniques and proven best practice in project management. PRINCE2 is widely recognized and understood, providing a common language for all participants in a project. PRINCE2 encourages formal recognition of responsibilities within a project and focuses on what a project is to deliver, why, when and for whom.

PRINCE2 provides projects with:
A controlled and organized begin, middle and end
Regular reviews of progress against plan and against the Business Case
Flexible decision points
Automatic management control of any deviations of plan
Involvement of management and stakeholders at the right time during the project
Good communication channels between the project, the project management and the rest of the organization


The PRINCE2 method was first established in 1975.
In that year a British company, Simpact Systems Ltd., brought a method for project management to market called PROMPT. It was a commercial product which was chosen by the CCTA (Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency, British government) as standard method for developing computer systems. In 1983, this CCTA introduced an improved version and used the name PROMPTII for this standard for projects. PROMPTII offered a structured but flexible framework within which products could be specified, designed, developed and installed in a correct manner.

The CCTA changed the name of the method to PRINCE in the year 1989. This method was a combination of system develpment and the project management of it. It was especially focused on complex IT projects.

In the course of the years PRINCE became de facto standard in the United Kingdom.
1996 is the year when all implicit IT related references were removed from PRINCE. Because of this the method becomes generic applicable and useful for both small as very complex projects. The method is named PRINCE2. Since the introduction in 1996 the method is still alive.

The influence of market development and the latest changes in the area of project management made the CCTA carry out modification where necessary. In 2002 the "revised edition" appeared. This concerns a number of practical adjustments which align PRINCE2 with the daily practice. Nowadays AXELOS Limited is the owner of PRINCE2 and registered the method as a trade mark.

In the 2005 edition the core of the method remains untouched; modifications are situated in the consequent use of terminology, complete process diagrams and improved legibility.

Meanwhile we have moved to the 2009 edition.
PRINCE2 i a living method and many years of intesive use have resulted in this 2009 version. The last years some criticism arose because of the opinion (of some), that the method was rather rigid and bureacratic.
With the 2009 version this will certainly come to an end.
The method becomes more facilitating and less directive; thought has been given concerning the situational use and based on input from several international users, many current best practices are processed in PRINCE2 2009.

In the meantime PRINCE2 has become de facto standard and is internationally recognized and used in all business areas.

Used sources

Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2, 2009 edition