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7 principles of PRINCE2

The 7 principles of the PRINCE2 methodology

PRINCE2 is one of the most renowned project management methodologies, practiced today across Australia and by a wide range of organisations in both the public and private sectors. One of PRINCE2’s advantages is its focus on controlling one stage at a time. This makes it conducive to maintaining complete control over a project.

In this blog, we will break down and dissect the 7 principles of PRINCE2 methodology.

1: Official business justification
One of the most common mistakes made with projects are undefined goals, for both the project and for the wider business. When starting a PRINCE2 project, an easy but necessary step is to ensure that the project does not conflict with the overall company vision, or does not overlap with other projects that might be in play.

2: Call on your previous experience
Like anything in life, mistakes are inevitable during a project. The important thing here is how we learn from these mistakes. Commonly, a sizable number of reports will be produced in any given PRINCE2 project, so this makes it easier for the project manager to be alert to potential pitfalls. In time, an organisation should provide an archive of these reports, which will be made widely available for future projects. This is part of PRINCE2’s ‘best practice’ commitment to project management.

3: Outline roles and responsibilities from the beginning
It is important to consider, and continuously monitor, whether every member of the project team understands what is expected of them. The chances of delivering a successful project greatly improve when you remove any confusion that may hinder its progress. PRINCE2 requires a defined hierarchy of management which goes a long way to combat these issues. Generally, there are three categories of project stakeholders: ‘business’, ‘users’ and ‘suppliers’. All three of these stakeholder interests must be listened to and represented within the project lifecycle, for it to succeed.

4: Divide the project into stages
A PRINCE2 project requires a minimum of two stages: there will always be an ‘initiation stage’, as well as one other stage that handles the actual delivery of the project. Of course, it is encouraged to implement more than this requirement, in order to better manage the project. In between each of these stages is the perfect break point for the project board to assess the project’s viability and alignment to the overarching business objective. Proposed stage boundaries differ from project to project, but popular boundaries include changes to team members, the date a project is due to be delivered, or the point when a particular project has been delivered.

5: Manage the exceptions
With every PRINCE2 project, the project board will outline the tolerances for all project aspects, including cost, time, benefits and risk, that the project manager will have to adhere to. If the project were to breach any of these tolerances, the project board would be notified and the viability of the project going forward would be assessed. To make this process easier, authority delegation is taken into account. This means that it would be easy to identify who is responsible for any potential corrective action. If a tolerance level is exceeded in PRINCE2, this is known as an ‘exception’.

‘Managing the exceptions’ is ultimately implemented to ensure that the use of senior management’s time is streamlined efficient, and necessary.

6: Focus on products
An important pillar of the PRINCE2 methodology is remaining focused on the end product. A common issue that many projects run into is to get bogged down in the processes that are encountered on the journey to the end point of a project. Staying focused on the end product ensures that every project team member is aware of each product’s quality and purpose. In order to maintain focus on a project, project managers should plan out an estimation of how much time and resource will be required on each stage, and what is necessary to ‘pass’ that stage.

7: Tailor to suit the project
One clear advantage of PRINCE2 is its adaptability. Being able to tailor your project avoids the creation of a templated, ready-made project management approach, where processes are taken automatically without questioning whether it is the easiest approach for your organisation.

The project manager or the project board are responsible again for the implementation of PRINCE2 into an organisation. A Project Initiation Document (PID) should be filled out if necessary, describing how PRINCE2 has been tailored to suit the project. There are many factors to consider when implementing PRINCE2 into an organisation, including corporate culture, team capability, geographical location and risk.

Now you have read through the 7 principles of PRINCE2, discover how you can achieve your PRINCE2 certification with Training ByteSize Australia. We offer various levels of qualification in PRINCE2, depending on your experience. We cover all major cities throughout Australia, and provide flexible learning on all of our courses, so you can either complete the course online or in a classroom setting, as well as in a group or as an individual.

To speak to our Australian based team, you can call us on +61 2 8072 0653 or email us at


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