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7 Essential Stages of PRINCE2 Projects Simplified

05th Sep, 2023
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7 Essential Stages of PRINCE2 Projects Simplified

We know that some projects are complicated. It is difficult for project managers to manage such projects. To handle such complicated projects and deliver excellent results, project managers need a framework. PRINCE2 is a widely used project management framework for the completion of projects. 

The PRINCE2 methodology strongly advises project managers to adhere to the themes, principles and processes. 

In this article, you will learn about the seven Essential project stages PRINCE2. 

What is PRINCE2 Project Management?

PRINCE2, or Projects In Controlled Environments, is a project management methodology employed in more than 150 countries. It's a systematic approach to project management that emphasises organisation and control throughout the process. Every project begins with a detailed project plan, all the PRINCE2 project management stages are arranged, and any plot points are tied up once the project is completed. 

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What are Project Stages and How Does It Work?

The project manager and the project team share the same goal: to complete the project's work to satisfy the project's objectives. There is a commencement, a middle phase during which activities take the project closer to completion, and an end to every project. The four phases of a typical project are initiation, planning, implementation, and completion. These phases, when taken collectively, reflect the path a project follows from start to finish and are termed as PRINCE2 project lifecycle stages. 

PRINCE2 is a project management methodology based on principles. There are 7 stages of PRINCE2 which form the foundation stones of the method. Everything in PRINCE2 is based upon one of these seven principles: 

A business case must be made for each project. 

You should consider the project's return on investment throughout the project. Determine whether the advantages balance the costs and risks, as well as the possibility of the project delivering those benefits. 

Every level should provide opportunities for teams to learn. 

Teams establish a learning log to record the lessons they've learned from their projects to prevent making the same mistakes again. 

The roles and responsibilities of each individual are clearly defined. 

Everyone involved in the project should be aware of their own and other people's obligations. In a minute, we'll go through the responsibilities in the PRINCE2 technique in further detail. 

"Manage by exception" is how project boards operate. 

The project board (senior managers) establishes the project's timeline, budget, and other requirements before delegating day-to-day management to the project manager. The project manager will contact the board if any incidents occur that impact the requirements.  

The focus of the teams is always on quality. 

The team should maintain a constant emphasis on satisfying project requirements and maintaining a high level of quality. 

The approach is tailored for each project. 

You do not need to follow PRINCE2 management stages to the letter. Adapt the method to the project's size, the size of your team, and so on. 

The PRINCE2 stages explained method enables improved resource management and better business and project risk management. 7 stages of PRINCE2 specify who should be involved and in what capacity in the project. If a project does not follow these essential principles, PRINCE2 is not the best method for project management. 

Management Stages

The 'manage by stages' principle is one of the PRINCE2 project stages principles. If you aren't using this principle in your project, it isn't a PRINCE2-compliant project.  

Management stages

Initiation Stage 

It is the start of the journey. It happens at the very beginning of the project. It's where the project gets started. 

The project manager begins by creating a project plan and a detailed business case to justify the project's investment. During the start phase, the project manager develops quality, risk, change, communication, and benefit management strategies. The project initiation documentation gathers all of this information into a single collection (PID). 

Planning the Next Stage 

A more comprehensive strategy for the next management stage is also prepared by the project manager. This diagram depicts all of the work for the next PRINCE2 project stage, including the timeframes and expenses, as well as the deliverables and resources required.  

The PID and the next stage plan are then used by the project's principal decision-makers (the project board) to determine whether to move to the next management level. If the project board thinks the project is worth the costs, timelines, and risks, the PID and next stage plan can be approved, and the resources needed to accomplish the next stage can be committed. 

Decision Gate

The project board either approves the next stage and commits resources to its implementation, or it decides to stop the project and save the organisation the time, money and resources that were originally budgeted for it. 

As a result, the PRINCE2 project stages are a safer way to make investment decisions than making a single significant decision at the start of the project. At the end of each PRINCE 2 stage, a decision is made to "go or not go." 

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Benefits of Project Stages in Project Management

It establishes a framework for project execution. 

The PRINCE2 stages of a project lifecycle establish a systematic method to project delivery. This allows everyone involved in the project to see how things are going and whether there are any issues with specific deliveries. 

A product that is perfectly aligned with the company's objectives. 

The project stages PRINCE2 of the project management life cycle are in charge of ensuring that the product's design, functionality, and features are the best fit for achieving business objectives efficiently. 

Consistent outcomes 

Managers can provide consistent levels of support and keep a tighter grip on the project scope by following structured PRINCE2 project stages. This ensures that project deliverables are consistent across projects, even if clients have varying requirements. 

It helps team members communicate more effectively. 

As it provides a framework and guidelines that are accessible and understood by all members of the project, it improves communication and helps define roles within the project organisation. Roles and responsibilities can also be allocated based on the project's stage. People can easily grasp what they should do in each phase. 

It optimises the project's evolution. 

The PRINCE2 project management stages help you understand how the project has progressed and identify areas that require more attention at different periods, such as risk management in the early PRINCE2 project stages. The project detail is expanded in detail with each stage. The expense estimates have been improved, and the plans have been fine-tuned. 

It allows for systematic reviews to help with governance. 

It will also enable required people to pre-plan their presence, allowing for swift judgments on whether the project should proceed or not. These periodical evaluations also give stakeholders more confidence by validating early successes and ensuring that the project is still viable and on track. 

Project Management Stages Risk and Complexity

Risk management on a project is a difficult and skilled job. Risk is defined by PRINCE2 as an unpredictable occurrence or series of events that, if they occur, will have an impact on the project's success. The project's objectives are in jeopardy in the context of a project. These project objectives often entail meeting many benchmarks, including time, cost, quality, scope, benefits, and risk. 

The inter-relationships inside a project that affects how it will be managed and the skills required to manage it are referred to as complexity. All projects are comprised of various interconnected functions, roles and responsibilities within an organisation structure, controls for the project's scale, complexity, importance, capability and risk, and PRINCE2 management stages. With the huge spectrum of work that management can handle so, there is a need to tailor all aspects of the discipline to specific circumstances. 


The PRINCE2 management stages are a way of looking at the entire project that determines the steps to completion, assists in maintaining focus and momentum, and offers more defined high-level stages of completion. 

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is a stage plan PRINCE2?

Stage plans describe the products that will be provided, the resources that will be needed, and, in some cases, the activities that will be required. The Stage Plans should also include the exact controls that will be utilised to demonstrate progress and allow the level above to compare progress to a baseline.  

2. What are some of the key characteristics of PRINCE2 projects?

Some of the key characteristics of PRINCE2 projects: 

The project is focused on business justification and long-term value potential. The project management team has a defined organisational structure, so everyone knows what to expect and a product-based planning approach. 

3. What is the minimum number of stages required in a PRINCE2 project?

There are a minimum of two management stages in a project: the Initiation Stage and one further Management Stage. The Closing a Project process is then the last part of the 2nd stage in a two-stage project. 

4. Is PRINCE2 a framework or methodology?

PRINCE2 is a project management methodology that focuses on completing projects on time, on budget, and with high-quality deliverables.  

5. Why are projects divided into management stages PRINCE2?

Dividing the project into management stages or breaking the project into two or more stages provides senior management with control at major intervals.  


Kevin D.Davis

Blog Author

Kevin D. Davis is a seasoned and results-driven Program/Project Management Professional with a Master's Certificate in Advanced Project Management. With expertise in leading multi-million dollar projects, strategic planning, and sales operations, Kevin excels in maximizing solutions and building business cases. He possesses a deep understanding of methodologies such as PMBOK, Lean Six Sigma, and TQM to achieve business/technology alignment. With over 100 instructional training sessions and extensive experience as a PMP Exam Prep Instructor at KnowledgeHut, Kevin has a proven track record in project management training and consulting. His expertise has helped in driving successful project outcomes and fostering organizational growth.

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