Our guide to PRINCE2

Our guide to PRINCE2

First published date February 26 2014 Amended date July 13 2015

Have you ever wanted a career in project management? Project managers are highly sought after, from retail, finance, technology and health, all industries need effective project managers. Project management can be a rewarding career that involves creativity, problem solving, organisational and communication skills to be successful. Taking one of our PRINCE2 courses will point you in the right direction to a project management career.


What is PRINCE2?

PRINCE2, an acronym for Projects in Controlled Environments, is a project management methodology, used extensively and as the de facto project management standard by the UK Government. It was developed by the UK government agency Office of Government Commerce, and is also widely recognised and used by the private sector, even internationally. It aims at teaching you a general approach and a method that will help you to be successful at managing any type of project.


Becoming PRINCE2 qualified

To successfully become a fully qualified PRINCE2 project manager you must first complete two stages to show that you have learnt the PRINCE2 processes. You can take these stages individually but it is often cheaper to do a combined course that offers both stages at a discount rate.

Foundation – The PRINCE2 Foundation qualification teaches you the principles, terminology and the processes of PRINCE2 You will learn the main purpose, key content and the relationship between the processes, roles and management dimensions of a project. The Foundation will include a one hour exam consisting of 75 multiple choice questions (five of which are trial and not counted). You will need a mark of 35 to pass (50%).

Practitioner – The Practitioner qualification will aim to take the methodology that you learnt from the Foundation qualification and teach you the PRINCE2 techniques for the running and managing of a project, within the environments supporting PRINCE2. You will need to demonstrate you understand the reasons behind the processes and demonstrate that you have the ability to apply PRINCE2 techniques to different project management situations. You will have to pass a two and a half hour exam that will have eight main questions, made up of 10 smaller questions. Out of 80 you will be required to get 44 (55%) to pass.

After three to five years you will be required to re-register as a PRINCE2 practitioner. If you fail to complete the re-registration after five years you will be stripped of your registered status.


Career prospects

London is the home of start up companies in the UK and many are eager to hire a professional project manager that can lead their company to success. There has been a surge in new London start ups; places such as the Silicon Roundabout, east London, have seen over 1,000 new start ups each month throughout 2013. Out of the UK’s top 20 areas for start ups, 17 were in the capital. 

Salaried positions for project managers can range anywhere from £20,000 to £100,000 depending on your experience and you could also make a living freelancing for different business on specific projects. Specialising in an industry could help you get a job as it will show employers you have more knowledge over your competitors aside from just being good at project management.


The eight steps of PRINCE2

Start up: A project mandate will define the reason for the project and what outcome is sought. The decision makers will then appoint a project manager.

Planning: Identifying the activities and preparing the schedule while analysing the risks of each stage; will include estimates of cost, time and other resources.

Direction: The project board will manage and control the project through various reports. They are the heads of the project and all its information but the project manager will be in charge of the details and running of the project.

Initiation: The project manager will submit a project initiation document to the project board for approval.

Controlling a stage: The project will be broken down into manageable stages, each stage will consist of plans on how to succeed at that stage.

Managing stage boundaries: This process provides the project board with the information to decide on whether to continue with the project. The previous stage must be a success and a plan for the new stage must be drawn up.

Managing product delivery: The project manager must make sure that right products are chosen and produces a schedule for each stage.

Closing: Now that the project is completed, the project manager must analyse and submit a review of the project to the project board. Once the project board confirm the project was a success the project can be closed down.