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PRINCE2® (PRINCE 2nd version)

What does PRINCE2 (a.k.a. PRINCE 2nd version) stand for?

PRINCE2 stands for PRojects IN Controlled Environments 2nd version. PRINCE2 is the world’s most popular project management methodology.

History of PRINCE2

PRINCE2 started out in life as PRINCE (without the 2) as a UK government method used for managing I.T. projects. During the early 1990’s it was realized that the same tools and techniques that are useful when managing I.T. projects are the same tools and techniques which are useful when managing any type of project.

So, a decision was undertaken to rewrite PRINCE by removing all of the I.T. specific terminology. The new version became known as PRINCE2 and was released in 1996.

PRINCE2 manual

Since 1996, the official PRINCE2 guidance manual (Managing Successful Projects Using PRINCE2) has been updated several times. Each revision has improved the understanding and usability of PRINCE2 and has been updated with the most up to date best practices. The latest version of the PRINCE2 manual was released in 2017 and is generally accepted as embodying modern date best practices in project management.

Agile projects

PRINCE2 also supports project managers working on agile projects. In particular the PRINCE2 Agile manual was released in 2015 to provide guidance to project managers wanting to apply the PRINCE2 methodology in an agile environment.


By 2012, over 1 million PRINCE2 exams had been taken. Of these approximately two thirds were PRINCE2 Foundation exams and one third were PRINCE2 Practitioner exams.

PRINCE2 becoming popular globally

Until about 2010 most of the students were based in the United Kingdom. Since then however, most students becoming PRINCE2 certified live outside of the UK. Increasingly, PRINCE2 is gaining in popularity throughout the world as project managers and organizations realize the benefits of applying a standard project management methodology.

The popularity of PRINCE2 comes partly from the fact that it is a generic project management method that can be tailored to suit any size and type of project, within any organization or industry. Adopting PRINCE2 means that organizations do not need to re-invent the wheel when it comes to deciding how to manage their projects.

For organizations which undertake programs, a PRINCE2 project is typically initiated using a business case written at the programme management level.

PRINCE2 is a project management methodology

The PRINCE2 project management methodology is based upon best practices. It should not be confused with a project management standard such as the PMBOK® Guide.

PRINCE2 certification

PRINCE2 is not only a highly effective project management methodology, it is also forms a set of project management certifications.

PRINCE2 training and certification is available at 2 levels: Foundation and Practitioner.

You can study PRINCE2 either by attending a classroom PRINCE2 course or by taking a PRINCE2 course online.

Most students learning about PRINCE2 do so via classroom training or by self-studying via e-learning. This used to be classroom training, but is now usually done via live virtual classrooms.

For a full range of PRINCE2 training options, browse the range of PRINCE2 courses and PRINCE2 online courses on the Knowledge Train website.

PRINCE2 is a project management methodology based upon best practices. It should not be confused with a project management standard such as the PMBOK® Guide.

PRINCE2 examinations

The PRINCE2 certification scheme has 2 exams: PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner.

The PRINCE2 Foundation examination is a 1 hour multiple-choice closed-book exam which tests students on their knowledge of PRINCE2. The PRINCE2 Practitioner exam is a 2.5 hour open-book exam which tests students on their ability to apply PRINCE2 to a fictional project scenario.

PRINCE2 complements the PMBOK® Guide

PRINCE2 is a process-based methodology. The processes describe what decisions must be taken on a project and when, and who should take those decisions. The PMBOK® Guide (Project Management Body of Knowledge®) from the Project Management Institute (PMI) is a project management standard. It describes the most common project management techniques which a project manager can apply on a project. On the other hand, PRINCE2 only describes 2 techniques.

One of the key differences between PRINCE2 and the PMBOK® Guide is that PRINCE2 describes responsibilities for 9 different roles which comprise the project management team - e.g. project manager, executive, project board, team manager. The latter only focuses on the project manager role.

The PMBOK® Guide forms the main text used in the Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam.

PMBOK® , Project Management Body of Knowledge® , PMP® , Project Management Professional (PMP)® are registered marks of Project Management Institute, Inc.


PRINCE2® is a registered trade mark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.

PRINCE2 infographic

PRINCE2 infographic