2. PRINCE2 Overview


PRINCE2 Foundation

The course is part of this learning path

PRINCE2 Overview Part 1

The course focuses on the components of the method and how they help to structure project delivery. Delegates should note that evening work will be assigned which is not expected to exceed two hours per night.

Specific course content will include:

PRINCE2 Overview

  • The structure of the method and the guide will be introduced before we discuss the context within which a PRINCE2 project operates.
  • Principles
  • The seven PRINCE2 principles provide the framework for managing the project and are built on good practice developed from successful and failed projects.
  • Themes and Processes


The seven PRINCE2 themes are aspects of the project that must be continually addressed and integrated as the project journeys through its life cycle.

  1. Business Case
  2. Organization
  3. Quality
  4. Plans
  5. Risk
  6. Change
  7. Progress


The seven PRINCE2 processes encompass the chronological activities that are required to direct, manage and deliver the project successfully. The activities include pre-project, initiation and delivery, and end with project closure.

  1. Starting up a Project
  2. Directing a Project
  3. Initiating a Project
  4. Controlling a Stage
  5. Managing Product Delivery
  6. Managing a Stage Boundary
  7. Closing a Project


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

The Swirl logo™ is a trade mark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved


- Welcome to module two, part one where we have an overview of PRINCE2. We're going to look at what PRINCE2 is and also what it's not. We're going to take a look at the structure of the PRINCE2 manual, and we're going to give a brief overview of what's going to be in the foundation exam and what to expect there. The PRINCE2 foundation course is based around this book that you can see, you got the image there on the right, the "Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2" which I will call the PRINCE2 manual 'cause that's just easier to say. So it's quite a chunky book, and hopefully you all have one in front of you, and you can actually use this to follow me through the videos. We have after this module, we've linked up the modules to the chapters in the book. And so we will have an introduction, we talk about the project management with PRINCE2, then we discuss the principles, there's a chapter on tailoring and adopting PRINCE2, and then we have several chapters dedicated to the themes. We have more chapters dedicated to processes, so several of those, and then we start thinking about the considerations for using PRINCE2 in an organisational situation for adoption there. And then finally, we have a number of appendices. So that's what you've got form the start to the end of the book. So feel free to annotate this PRINCE2 manual. You can highlight it, write notes in the margins. The foundational exam is a closed book exam, but the practitioner exam is not. So any annotations or any thoughts that you have about PRINCE2, sure you can write them down on note, in notebooks, on blank sheets of paper or whatever you've got around with you at the time. But actually, the best place to write your notes and annotation is in there. So do write notes in the book where they will be useful if you ever turn up to the practitioner exam. Right, let's get started. Let's introduce PRINCE2. PRINCE2 stands for projects in controlled environments. So you got the PR for projects, in by itself, and then the C for controlled, and the E for environments. So projects in controlled environments. So we've got a project, but we want to control it so it doesn't over run, you know, over spend and all of that. And it is one of the most widely used methods for managing projects in the world, and they're very proud of that. And there are a number of reasons why that is and they are, it contains best practise gathered over many years. It can be tailored, this methodology can be tailored. You can use it with a very light touch or add lots to it if you have a very complex project to manage. So it's completely tailorable, and it can also be applied to any type of project in any industry. So we talk very generically about projects. You can use it, you know, to make cars, or organises conferences, or all sorts of things in between, and it provides a common vocabulary, and there's something that happens when we have a number of PRINCE2 qualified people in the room, you all know what these words mean, they mean the same things to you and you can actually cut to the chase very quickly and have quite high level project management discussions, so it's very useful in that respect. I have a feeling that's one of the reasons why it's become so popular. The PRINCE2 methodology has a structure and there are four parts to it that you need to know of. We have the diagram here that you'll see in the chapter, in the opening chapter of the book, and let's have a look at this four integrated elements. The first integrated element we talk about here are principles. And you can see actually, this cake shaped diagram, principles are the bedrock of it. These are guiding obligations and good practises for the projects. And you must abide by these principles. We're going to look at those principles a little bit later on. There are also themes, aspect of project performance that must be continually addressed. And that's the upper part of our cake, and it's split up and you can actually see some of the themes there. So we need to think about how we're going to address risk, and change, and progress, and quality and all of those there, in fact there are seven of them. In fact they like the number seven quite a lot in PRINCE2. There are also seven processes. Now they haven't been listed here, but in the centre of the top of that cake, we have the PRINCE2 processes. And the processes are a life cycle. So we will go through the life cycle of a PRINCE2 project from starting up a project process, right the way through to closing a project process. So there are seven processes in total, and near the end of the course, we'll take a little run through those. The final integrated element that we have in PRINCE2, we need to consider the project environment. We need a consistent and tailored approach, and imbed PRINCE2 properly into the organisation. We need to consider, then, how big the project is, or how small or how complex, and we also need to consider the kinds of language and documents already being sued by the organisation, and also some external influences experienced by the project and the organisation as well. So, bearing that in mind, the project environment becomes very important to us. So we cannot change the principles, we must use our seven principles and make sure we use them throughout. But we can tailor our approach to the themes and the processes so that we have a better methodology for our project. So those are the four integrated elements in PRINCE2. Principles, themes, processes, and the project environment. So that's what the PRINCE2 structure includes, and what the methodology examines, but there are some things that are not included. So what does PRINCE2 not provide? Well, and I think a bit strangely, for me anyway, leadership capability over there on the left is not covered in any depth here in the PRINCE2 methodology. We know, and the PRINCE2 manual does acknowledge how important leadership and motivation is to the success of a project, but because it's impossible to co define a method, they haven't got anything about it in detail. There's not techniques recommended on how to be a good leader, or how to motivate people. They've left it well alone. So leadership capability and any discussion on how to do that part of, you know, the very important part of the project manager's job is just really outside the scope of our PRINCE2 methodology. And also because PRINCE2 can be applied to any kind of project in any kind of industry, we leave out any specialist aspects. So some of you might be using HR delivery methods, some of you are making cars, some of you are organising conferences, some of you are reorganising your departments, and I can not tell you how to do that and PRINCE2 can not tell you either. They're just going to keep it very generic, and we're going to talk about how you run a project and how you control it and what management products you need. But the specialist aspects of how to make that car, or how to organise the conference, or how to restructure that organisation, you're the experts on that, or you might have to go to other experts if you don't know. We also don't include detailed techniques, although there are a couple of acceptions. And for a start, you know, and how do you go about testing a server. I mean, really, some of you would know this, but that's not going to be relevant for every project now is it. There are some techniques that we recommend for things like planning, we used a product based planning technique. We also look at the quality review techniques. And there are some notable acceptions, but I'm gonna take you through those when we come across them, and, so you will remember those I'm sure when it comes to your foundation exam. So that's what PRINCE2 does not provide, and that will become useful when you get into that exam, so let's take a look at what that foundation exam contains. Well, there are 60 multiple choice questions that you're going to have to answer, and you've got one hour to answer them in. The pass mark is 55% or 33 marks in total. And it's closed book, so you can't take the PRINCE2 manual in with you, unfortunately, you're going to have to rely on your memory. So keep taking notes as we go through the course, a tip is to note any definitions and any bulleted lists. PRINCE2 examiners love definitions and bulleted lists because they're so easy to make foundation questions, you know, multiple choice questions from. So I would suggest that when you look at your reading assignments, and there are key messages or definitions or bulleted lists, those are the ones to take notes off in preparation for you're exam. And the content, what's covered by the exam are the key concepts, the principles, the themes, the processes that I've already mentioned. We will give you tips along the way about what may turn up and what you might need to be aware of but don't need to worry about too much when it comes to the methodology. So practise sample papers if you can, we're going to provide some along the way and give you practise doing exam questions within the chunk of time, so 15 questions in 15 minutes. Those practise questions are really, really useful. Try and do them to time when you are coming across those tasks if possible. And mark them using the mark schemes and then have a look in the PRINCE2 manual for the answers if you got them wrong. So, that's the PRINCE2 foundation exam summarised, and that's the end of part one.

About the Author
Learning Paths

A hard working, self-motivated and dedicated IT Consultant with extensive experience and a proven track record in the areas of Management, Networking, Communications and Security. A capable organiser, quick to grasp and make good use of new ideas and concepts. Reliable and conscientious in all work aspects. Possesses exceptional interpersonal skills and utilises communicative abilities to build, develop and maintain effective relationships. A motivational and inspirational manager, who enjoys being part of a successful and productive team, and thrives in highly pressurised and challenging working environments.