The different PRINCE2 certifications explained

Joanna PRINCE2

What is a PRINCE2 certification?

PRINCE2 (an acronym for PRojects IN Controlled Environments) is a de facto process-based method for effective project management. Used extensively by the UK Government, it is also widely recognised and used in the private sector, both in the UK and internationally. The PRINCE2 method is in the public domain, and offers non-proprietorial best practice guidance on project management.

Key features are:

  • Focus on business justification
  • Defined organisation structure for the project management team
  • Product-based planning approach
  • Emphasis on dividing the project into manageable and controllable stages
  • Flexibility that can be applied at a level appropriate to the project.



PRINCE2 History

PRINCE was established in 1989 by CCTA (the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency), since renamed the OGC (the Office of Government Commerce). In June 2010, the Office of Government Commerce Best Practice Management functions moved into the Cabinet Office. PRINCE was originally based on PROMPT, a project management method created by Simpact Systems Ltd in 1975, and adopted by CCTA in 1979 as the standard to be used for all Government information system projects. When PRINCE was launched in 1989, it effectively superseded PROMPT within Government projects. PRINCE remains in the public domain and copyright is retained by the Crown. PRINCE2 was published in 1996, having been contributed to by a consortium of some 150 European organisations. Ever since then the focus has been on providing PRINCE2 certification options.

How can this accreditation benefit You?

Using PRINCE2 provides you with greater control of resources, and the ability to manage business and project risk more effectively. This will benefit:

  • Individuals seeking leading project management skills and greater employment prospects
  • Project managers
  • Directors/executives (senior responsible owners) of projects, and
  • Organizations.

For individuals, PRINCE2 certification is an invaluable asset to your career as it increases employment prospects and helps you do your job more effectively. This is true for any job function.

Prince2 certification, prince2PRINCE2 Qualifications and Training

There are three different kinds of PRINCE2 training qualification levels:

  1. For those starting out as beginners: PRINCE2 Foundation, it covers covers the basic methodology and terminology.
  2. Moving onto the intermediate stage its PRINCE2 Practitioner, suitable for those managing projects within a PRINCE2 environment.
  3. For the Advanced stage, its PRINCE2 Professional, this will test your ability to manage a non-complex PRINCE2 project across all aspects of the project lifecycle.
Course Finder

You can take both PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner in a single course. And don’t forget that there’s a re-accreditation process too.

Prince2 certification, prince2Luckily there’s the official Managing successful projects with PRINCE2 book that is worth having if you are going to self-study and take the exams without attending a course. If you’re taking a course check to see if the book is included in the course cost.

There’s also PRINCE2 Agile for those managing software development projects.

Don’t forget to become a member of a professional project management body.

How Can PRINCE2 Benefit Your Organization?

For organizations, PRINCE2’s formal recognition of responsibilities within a project, together with its focus on what a project is to deliver (the why, when and for whom) provides your organization’s projects with:

  • A common, consistent approach
  • A controlled and organised start, middle and end
  • Regular reviews of progress against plan
  • Assurance that the project continues to have a business justification
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