7 Principles of Prince2

by StarAgile

August 05, 2020
Category Project Management


In today’s competitive environment the organizations are working and searching for many concepts and methodologies that can produce goods or services at faster time to market, less rate of failure or zero failure, fewer overheads, high quality and costs very less and makes high profits. 

Due to this, there is constant pressure on the project manager to control and manage the projects optimally. With all the pressure of what the organization wants and the high expectation of the customers, the project manager has an increased responsibility to perform and make the projects a success. 

This is where the Prince2 certifications and knowledge of Prince2 principles can offer excellent results in this scenario. Nowadays it is very common and many companies prefer the Prince2 certified professional than who do not have the Prince2 knowledge and certification. This knowledge of Prince2 is a fundamental knowledge of management on how to control and manage the projects.

What are the prince2 principles?

 As we have seen how the Prince2 certification helps the project managers on whatever projects he takes or whatever may be the industry. The following Prince2 principles help in many ways such as shortening time to market, reducing rates of failure, high quality, and controlling and managing the projects for meeting the customer expectations. The 7 principles are not product or services based but to meet and attain the project success. The Prince2 principles are listed below,

  1. Business – Continued Business Justification
  2. Experience – Learn from the Experience
  3. Roles – Defined Roles and Responsibilities
  4. Stages – Manage by Stages
  5. Exception – Manage by Exception
  6. Products – Focus on Products
  7. Suit the need of the project – Tailor to Suit the Project

These are explained in the subsequent subheading.

7 prince2 principles


Principle 1: Continued Business Justification – There may be many cases when the projects have failed and if you analyze them you will find that the cause may be due to not clear goals stated, not aligned with organizational strategies, and due to repetition with the other projects. To manage the projects properly, whether it is just an enhancement project or a new project or cost reduction project, etc they need to align with the business strategy. So the first thing is to document them explicitly and continuously manage them throughout the project. There must be a value add to the business or the organization in terms of money or profit. 

Principle 2: Learn from Experience – Prince2 projects must learn from the previous projects, from the customer, from the practices or the case studies, etc. It suggests the important steps and gives you an understanding of the current projects when compared to the previous ones. There is a lot of knowledge that is obtained from the above strategies. Every project has the beginning, the processing stage, and the end. 

    •At the beginning of the project – Here the previous experiences come into the picture and help a great deal to learn the weakness and strength of the team and the organization

    •When the project has begun – Here the lessons learned must not be deviated and must be shared with everyone in the team and these lessons must not be forgotten till the end of the project.

    •At the end of the project – The experience from the current projects must be assembled and compiled to be used in future projects. If they do not produce any change in future projects, then it is not a lesson learned.

Principle 3: Roles and Responsibility – The roles and responsibilities must be clearly stated and maintained. These must be understood by all the stakeholders and members of the organization. There are 3 broad categories of roles, they are: 

   1. Business – They are the management people, the board members, and the investors. They want businesses to support the project and earn a profit.

    2.Users – They are the people who use the products or services of the project. There may be several users or 1 user, it depends. The customers also come under this category.

    3.Vendors – These are the people such as suppliers, the employees, and the organization itself. These people make the project successful and get their due in terms of salary, accolades, references, promotions and role change, etc.

Principle 4: Manage by stages – As per the Prince2 principles the projects are divided into management stages. It is nothing but the different phases of the project. The management stages at the end of each stage must be assessed based on the project plan, project risks, compliance with the regulations, and the business justification.

There at least 2 stages, those are the Project Initiation stage and the Project Execution stage.

The project board must reassess the project at the end of each phase and provide the day to day tasks to the Project Manager.

The stage boundaries are something which are natural phases of the projects and must be managed and controlled by the project manager

Principle 5: Manage by Exception – The project board makes the tolerances for the project manager to work within. Anytime there is a breach of these tolerances the Project Manager must seek the project exception. These exceptions must be approved by the board and they must decide whether to approve or not. There are 6 factors for which the exceptions are made.

1. Cost – The project budget is one of the major factors. The board must provide some allowable tolerances. If the cost is not within, then the board must come forward and make the important decision

2. Time – Project completion date. The exception is needed to be reassessed by the board when the project completion is not with the allowable tolerable limits

3. Quality – This must be set during the project initiation stage itself with allowable tolerances. This must be like many defects, strength, production time and maintenance requirements, etc

4. Scope – The scope is the number one reason for project failure. They may be in the form of tiny and not permitted work creeping into the project. So the project scope must be well defined.

5. Benefits – Make sure to specify and monitor this right through the project cycle. The benefits are like profits or a reduction in cost, etc.

6. Risk – The risk must be treated in 4 ways such as Mitigate, Accept, Avoid and Transfer, etc. The tolerances must be defined and reassessed when it goes across the boundary. 

Principle 6: Focus on Products – The products or services may be tangible or intangible. For example, providing training may be intangible. Prince2 contains many project deliverables such as risk assessment, project controls, and Project Initiation Document, etc. However, we must remember to keep track of the final deliverables. The deliverables are of 2 types

1. Management Products – These are documentations such as PID, Risk Register, Issue logs, etc. These are for management only and not for the customer

2. Specialist products – These are the deliverables to the customers. 

Principle 7: Tailor to suit the project – The project comes in different shapes, sizes, requirements. It is important to  alter all these to align based on the team strength, project environment, size, intricacy, and risk. This must be clearly stated and done in the Project Initiation Document.

Importance of prince2 principles

Prince2 principles help in many ways to get the project successfully done. As described earlier they mitigate the risks, they lessen the failure rates, they make products or services to arrive faster to the market, they lessen the project cost without affecting the quality, they bring the welcome changes in terms of culture and other tangible changes as described in the 7 prince2 principles. 

Concluding thoughts

It is good that you have briefly understood what is Prince2 and the 7 prince2 principles. Enroll with StarAgile for the prince2 training which provides you with many real-time examples to be solved during the course. StarAgile‘s prince2 training course is interactive, based on case studies, role-plays, simulation and games etc.