26 January, 2017

What You Need to Know about PRINCE2 2017

By Mike Clayton

26 January, 2017


This year, PRINCE2 becomes PRINCE2 2017. What is PRINCE 2 and what are the main changes we can expect?

First-off, if you don’t know what PRINCE2 is, let me catch you up.

What's up with PRINCE2 2017?
What’s up with PRINCE2 2017?

PRINCE2 is a project management methodology. It is designed for traditional (rather than Agile) projects. It therefore places the emphasis on governance.

PRINCE was developed in the UK, as a methodology to reduce failure rates among Government projects. Over the years, it’s been through a number of changes. The biggest of these came with the name change to PRINCE2. In the UK it is mandatory for public sector projects.

PRINCE: PRojects IN Controlled Environments

Okay, But I don’t live in the UK, nor work in the Public Sector

That’s fine. But be aware that, firstly, many of commercial organizations use PRINCE2. Some of them because they work with the public sector, and others because they like the methodology.

And second, PRINCE2 is also used in other countries. If you are serious about project management, you need at least to know the bones of what PRINCE2 is. You’ll find a video about PRINCE2 in our Project Manager’s Immersion Program. This is our fullest core program, designed for serious students and practitioners.

Okay, I’m Caught up, So What’s up with PRINCE2 ?

Earlier this month, the owners of the PRINCE2 methodology, AXELOS, announced an update to:

  • the methodology,
  • the published documentation, and
  • the certification examinations.

This’ll be the biggest change since 2009 and will take place in mid-2017. They are referring to this new version as PRINCE2 2017.

The 7 themes, 7 principles, and 7 processes of PRINCE2 will remain. But the themes chapters in the principal guidance, Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2, will reflect a new flow. And there will be new material on tailoring projects to specific contexts. There will also be more focus on the practical applications of the guidance, with examples, hints and tips.

The new versions of PRINCE2 publications will be out later this year. The new PRINCE2 2017 Foundation and Practitioner exams will replace the current ones a little later. The balance of the exams will shift, and the level of understanding you’ll need will deepen a little. AXELOS says the number of questions will reduce so the exams take the same time.

What are the 7 Themes, 7 Principles, and 7 Processes of PRINCE2 2017?

Great question. Let me give you an outline.

The 7 Themes of PRINCE2 2017

Themes are about how you should manage your project. They are the disciplines, or knowledge areas of Project Management. Set them up at the start of your project and manage them throughout.

  1. Business Case
  2. Organisation
  3. Quality
  4. Planning
  5. Risk
  6. Control of Change
  7. Progress

The 7 Principles of PRINCE2 2017

There are 7 core principles to PRINCE2 2017. Together, they give you a powerful a framework for good practice:

  1. Continued Business Justification
  2. Learn from Experience
  3. Define Roles and Responsibilities
  4. Manage by Stages
  5. Manage by Exception
  6. Focus on Products
  7. Tailor to the Environment

The 7 Processes of PRINCE2 2017

The PRINCE2 2017 methodology 7 processes by which you can run your project. And, as project manager, you will oversee all of them.

  1. Starting Up a Project (SU)
  2. Initiating a Project (IP)
  3. Directing a Project (DP)
  4. Controlling a Stage (CS)
  5. Managing Product Delivery (MP)
  6. Managing Stage Boundaries (SB)
  7. Closing a Project (CP)

More information

The best place for more information is the AXELOS website. For detail, I recommend you download their PRINCE2 2017 Update FAQs pdf document, from the page I’ve linked to.


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Mike Clayton

About the Author...

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.
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