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PRINCE2®7: What is it and how it’s structured?

PRINCE2®7: What is it and how it’s structured?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            By Ganesh Shrishrimal

History of PRINCE2®

PRINCE was derived from an earlier method called PROMPT II (Project Resource Organisation Management Planning Techniques). In 1989 the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) adopted a version of PROMPT II as a UK Government standard for information systems (IT) project management. They gave it the name 'PRINCE', which originally stood for "PROMPT II IN the CCTA Environment".

PRINCE was renamed in a civil service competition as an acronym for "PRojects IN Controlled Environments". PRINCE2 is the second edition of the earlier PRINCE method which was initially announced and developed in 1989 by the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA), a UK government support agency.[5] PRINCE2 was released in 1996 as a generic project management method. In 1999, the examination institute EXIN developed and started offering PRINCE2 certifications. PRINCE2 became increasingly popular and is now a de facto standard for project management in many UK government departments and across the United Nations system.

There have been two major revisions of PRINCE2® since its launch in 1996: " PRINCE2®:2009 Refresh" in 2009, and " PRINCE2® 2017 Update" in 2017. The justification for the 2017 update was the evolution in practical business practices and feedback from PRINCE2 practitioners in the actual project environment.

PRINCE2® 7 was launched in September 2023 by Peoplecert aiming to improve project management framework further with aim of continual improvement based on feedback across the industries who adopted PRINCE2

PRINCE2® 7 Structure

PRINCE2 is a project management method composed of five integrated elements: principles, people, practices, processes, and the project context.

Figure 1.1 The five integrated elements of PRINCE2

The structure of PRINCE2 7 is based on these five integrated elements:

  • Principles: The principles are the guiding obligations that determine whether the project is genuinely being managed using PRINCE2. There are seven principles, and unless all of them are applied, it is not a PRINCE2 project.
  • People: Projects need people, mainly those working on the project and those affected by the project. An understanding of the needs, capabilities, and motivations of the people involved and the relationships between them is crucial to how the project is established and managed.
  • Practices: The practices describe essential aspects of project management that must be applied consistently and throughout the project lifecycle. The seven practices explain the specific treatment required of that aspect of project management for the PRINCE2 processes to be effective and why they are necessary.
  • Processes: The seven processes describe the entire project lifecycle, from activities before getting started, through the stages of project delivery, and to the final act of project closure. Each process has checklists of recommended activities and related responsibilities.
  • Project context: The principles, practices, and processes are applied by the people involved to ensure that the method is fit for the project context.

The five integrated elements of the PRINCE2 method are designed to work together. The practices ensure that the principles are continually applied during the processes in a way that is specific to the project context and consider the relationships and requirements of people within the project team and those outside the project team.

PRINCE2 principles:

The seven PRINCE2 principles are:

  • ensure continued business justification
  • learn from experience
  • define roles, responsibilities, and relationships
  • manage by stages
  • manage by exception
  • focus on products
  • tailor to suit the project

PRINCE2 is based on seven principles and these cannot be tailored. If a project does not adhere to these principles, it is not being managed using PRINCE2.

  • Continued Business Justification: The business case is the most important document, and is updated at every stage of the project to ensure that the project is still viable. Early termination can occur if this ceases to be the case.
  • Learn From Experience: Each project maintains a lessons log and projects should continually refer to their own and to previous and concurrent projects' lesson logs to avoid same mistakes.
  • Defined Roles and Responsibilities: Roles in PRINCE2 are structured in four levels (corporate or programme management, project board, project manager level and team level). Project Management Team contains the last three, where all primary stakeholders (business, user, supplier) need to be presented.
  • Manage by Stages: The project is planned and controlled on a stage-by-stage basis. These are control points or decision points.
  • Manage by Exception: A PRINCE2 project has defined tolerances for each project objective, to establish limits of delegated authority.
  • Focus on Products: A PRINCE2 project focuses on the definition and delivery of the products, in particular their quality requirements.
  • Tailor to Suit Project Environment: PRINCE2 is tailored to suit the project environment, size, complexity, importance, time capability and risk.


One of the significant additions to PRINCE2 7 is integration of ‘People’ element.

In PRINCE2, ‘people’ covers those who are working on a project and the relationships between them, as well as those impacted by a project.

Figure 3.3 People central to the method

PRINCE2 7 emphasizes that People central to the method’

Three people-focused activities:

  1. Leading successful change
  2. Leading successful teams and
  3. Communication.

These are not standalone activities as they influence all aspects of project management.


An aspect of project management that must be applied consistently and throughout the project lifecycle. The practices require specific treatment of that aspect of project management for the PRINCE2 processes to be effective.

The PRINCE2 processes address the progressive flow of the project (the lifecycle), describing actions relating to each of the practices when they are needed.

These 7 practices can be used while executing PRINCE2 process activities.

  1. Business case:  This addresses the question ‘Why’ for the project.

The project starts with an idea that is considered to have potential value for the organization concerned. This practice addresses how the idea is developed into a viable investment proposition and how success is defined and verified.

  1. Organizing: This addresses the question ‘Who’ for the project.

Project work needs to be directed by those accountable, delegated to those responsible to manage it, and allocated to those who will deliver the products required of the project. Projects are cross-functional. This would help to define who is accountable and responsible in the project.

  1. Plans:  This addresses the questions ‘How’, ’How Much’, ‘When’ for the project.

PRINCE2 projects are delivered in stages based on a series of approved plans

  1. Quality: This addresses the question ‘What’ for the project.

Would focus on if product delivered as a result of the project meets quality attributes or not.

  1. Risk: This addresses the question ‘What if’ for the project.

This practice addresses how the project team manages uncertainty.

  1. Issues: This addresses the question ‘What now’ for the project.

This practice describes how project management assesses and responds to issues that have a potential impact on any aspect of the project.

  1. Progress: This addresses the questions ‘Where are we now’, ‘Where are we going’, ‘Should we carry on’.

This practice explains the monitoring of performance and the escalation process if events do not go according to plan, through a mixture of event and time-based controls.



PRINCE2 is a process-based approach for project management. There are seven processes in PRINCE2 that provide the set of activities required to direct, manage, and deliver a project successfully.

Figure 12.1 The PRINCE2 processes

This is one of the most important and holistic diagram in PRINCE2 7.

PRINCE2 processes: these seven processes in PRINCE2 provide the set of activities required to direct, manage, and deliver a project successfully. Processes help to understand the flow of the project end to end.

  • starting up a project
  • directing a project
  • initiating a project
  • controlling a stage
  • managing product delivery
  • managing a stage boundary
  • closing a project

Project management is the application of methods, tools, techniques, and competencies to enable the project to meet its objective. PRINCE2 has been there more than 3 decades helping organizations in project management best practices.

Details about the Prince2 Project processes to be discussed in next blog…


About Author: Mr. Ganesh has been delivering Prince2 (5th/6th and 7th edition)  courses for more than 15 years. With over 22+ years of industry experience; he is one of the most experienced Prince2/ITIL trainer across the globe. He is arguably the First accredited trainer in the world for ITIL® 4 Master/ ITIL®V2 Managers/ ITIL® Expert [67+Credits]/ ITIL®4 SL/ MP/ CDS/ DPI/ DSV/ HVIT/ MSF/ PIC/ CAI/ Prince2/ Agile /TOGAF9.2/ COBIT/ SIAM trainer and consultant.     

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