What is PRINCE2®

19th Feb, 2024
view count loader
Read it in
20 Mins
In this article
    What is PRINCE2®

    PRINCE2® is one of the methodologies which will lend you a helping hand in managing your project in a successful manner.

    In this article, we will discuss its various aspects, just enough to provide you with the perfect launching platform to comprehend everything about PRINCE2®, all the information that you will need before you dive in for more details later on.

    Not only that, you will also get an overview of how you need to engage yourself with this project management method.

    Let us begin with the basics.

    What is PRINCE2®?

    PRINCE2®, an acronym for PRojects IN Controlled Environments, in fact, is a process-based method to manage any project effectively.

    One of the frequently-used project management methods, PRINCE2® is used by many people and organisations from various sectors and industries. It is practical, flexible, and innovative. Whatever project it may be, whether it is about constructing a flyover, developing software, or even putting forward an advertising campaign, the themes, processes, and principles of PRINCE2® will help you realise all of them. This method belongs to the public domain, and provides a generic but the best guidance to managing any project.

    Key Features of PRINCE2®:
    Key Features of PRINCE2

    • 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.

    History of PRINCE2®

    PRINCE2® originated from PROMPT II (Project Resource Organisation Management Planning Techniques).

    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.

    In the year 1989, a version of PROMPT II was adopted as a UK Government standard for information systems (IT) project management by CCTA, Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency. In June 2010, the Office of Government Commerce Best Practice Management functions moved into the Cabinet Office.

    However, it was renamed in a Civil Service competition to ‘PRojects IN Controlled Environments’. In a short span of time, PRINCE was applied even outside the IT environment, both in the UK Government and private sectors.

    On PRINCE being launched in the year 1989, it effectively superseded PROMPT within Government projects. PRINCE remains in the public domain and the crown holds its copyright. PRINCE2® was published in 1996, having been contributed to by an association of some 150 European organisations.

    PRINCE2® was released in the year 1996 as a common project management method.

    Since then, it has gained increasing popularity, and now it is a de-facto standard for project management in many UK Government departments and across the United Nations systems as well.

    After being revised again in the year 2009, the acronym was changed, this time to ‘PRojects IN a Controlled Environment’.

    Ever since PRINCE2® was launched (1996), it has undergone two significant revisions:

    • ‘PRINCE2®:2009 Refresh’ in the year 2009
    • ‘PRINCE2® 2017’ Update in 2017

    Which are the most popular regions for PRINCE2®?

    As you came to know in the section above, PRINCE2® was born in the UK, and later on, this methodology took many regions of the world by storm. Its simple, yet effective themes, processes, and terminologies have brought a new perspective in the world of project management.

    Till date, the UK has more PRINCE2® certificate holders than any other country across the globe. But now, there are more certificate holders across the rest of the world.

    According to the Axelos 2016 report:

    • 88% of PRINCE2® certificate holders said it had been valuable to their career
    • 85% of practitioners stated that PRINCE2® certification has been useful current role
    • Over 80% of professionals surveyed see the value of working in an agile way.

    Meanwhile, along with the massive global presence and momentum of PRINCE2®, there are already many established countries that adopted PRINCE2® .

    Here are the most traditionally popular PRINCE2® regions:

    • UK
    • The Netherlands
    • Australia
    • Eastern and Western Europe – Poland, Denmark, Germany

    Most popular regions for prince 2

    It has been some years now, and PRINCE2® has really strengthened its grip in the economic market of superpowers like India and China. In the year, 2012, PRINCE2® examinations in India increased by 168%. A year later, the increase in the rate of examination in China overtook India. These figures look perfect for the project managers. China and India both are ambitious nations and it makes complete sense about why they have adopted PRINCE2® methodology for their projects.

    More current figures from AXELOS, represent the regions going through the biggest increase in PRINCE2® examinations with every passing year:

    Why do I need to implement PRINCE2® in my organisation?

    Reasons to implement PRINCE2

    Well, as stated earlier, PRINCE2® is a high standard method for project management. But what makes it stand out from the other methodologies?

    Simply because it is adaptable and flexible. Let us elaborate on this.

    The reason why PRINCE2® is adaptable and flexible is that it represents years of best practice in project management. It focuses on a diverse variety of disciplines and activities, ones which are important while driving a project, and emphasises on the direction the project needs to head towards, that is, ‘Why’, ‘When’, and for ‘Who to’.

    What it has to provide your organisation with are stated below-

    • It provides a common and seamless approach.
    • Helps in keeping a project organised throughout the process.
    • Repeated and timely reviews of progress are made against plan and Business case flexible decision points
    • Ensures that the project continues to meet the business requirements.
    • Provides flexible decision points.
    • Aids to management control of any deviations from the plan if there are any
    • The involvement of management and stakeholders at the right time and place during the project.
    • Helps in maintaining good communication channels between the project, project management, and the rest of the organisation.
    • Provides a method of capturing and sharing lessons learnt.
    • Secures a pathway to increasing the project management skills and competences of the organisation's staff at all levels.

    All right, but why use a project management methodology?

    It has been known from various surveys that the project managers of high-performing projects are most likely to have been PRINCE2® certified. It enables them to manage the project, take risks, and have control over the use of resources.

    Since PRINCE2® and its methods are widely renowned and understood, it provides a common language for all the members in a project.

    It represents years of project management best practice that provides information about a lot of ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’ to the participants in a project.

    With PRINCE2®, it will become easy for you to maintain a flexible and improved communication system throughout the project by employing Agile methods.

    Tell me about the training and certifications

    PRINCE2® certification is awarded by AXELOS, and in order to get the certification, the user needs to take part in a training course with an Accredited Training Organisation, after which the user needs to sit for an examination. There are three ways to undertake the course: Virtual, Online, and Classroom. Trainers must be re-accredited once in every 3 years and undergo a surveillance check once every year.

    However, PRINCE2® examinations are either undergone:

    • As a part of a PRINCE2® accredited training course through your PRINCE2® training provider
    • Online
    • At a public PRINCE2® examination centre.

    Whichever option you select, the PRINCE2® examinations you appear for will have the same style and structure.

    There are four levels of certification for PRINCE2®:

    PRINCE2 Certification Levels

    1. PRINCE2® 2017 Foundation: 

    This level of certification confirms that the holder has adequate knowledge and understanding of the method of PRINCE2® and is qualified to work in a project management team using the very method.

    If you opt for this, then you must be able to:

    • Describe the motive and major content of all roles, the seven principles, the seven themes, and the seven processes.
    • State which management products considered as input or output by using the seven processes.
    • State the main purpose and key contents of the major management products.
    • State the relationships between processes, deliverables, roles, and the management dimensions of a project.

    2. PRINCE2® 2017 Practitioner: 

    This level of certification confirms that the holder has developed an adequate understanding of the way the concepts of PRINCE2® can be applied in a certain given scenario and will be able to apply the same in a real project scenario under proper guidance. However, qualified PRINCE2® Practitioners who pursue the APMP qualification of the Association for Project Management (APM), are not eligible to attend certain topics of the syllabus, ones that are covered in PRINCE2® Practitioner qualification.

             If you go for this, then you must be able to:

    • Produce detailed explanations of all principles, themes, and processes and worked examples of all PRINCE2® products as they might be applied to address the particular circumstances of a given project scenario.
    • Show that you comprehend the relationships between principles, themes, and processes and PRINCE2® products and can apply this understanding.
    • Demonstrate that you understand the reasons behind the principles, themes, and processes of PRINCE2® and that you understand the principles underpinning these elements.
    • Demonstrate your ability to tune PRINCE2® to different project circumstances.

    The examinees are strongly advised to read the book and review the test exams time and time again.

    3. PRINCE2® Agile Foundation:

    This level of certification was released in June 2018 and establishes the fact that the holder has sufficient knowledge and understanding of PRINCE2® and the Agile way of working and is able to work in a project management team by combining the concepts of both.

    4. PRINCE2® Agile Practitioner: 

    This level of certification identifies the holder as being able to implement the principles of PRINCE2® in project management and apply the concepts of Agile, such as Scrum and Kanban.

    So, in a brief, to get PRINCE2® Agile Foundation or Agile Practitioner certification, you need to:

    • Show that you understand the basic concepts of the common agile ways of working
    • Show that you understand the purpose and context for combining PRINCE2® and the agile way of working
    • Demonstrate your ability to fix and flex the six aspects of a project in an agile context
    • Demonstrate the ability to tailor the PRINCE2® principles, themes, processes and management products to a project in an agile context.

    You can visit our link to know more about PRINCE2® Foundation and Practitioner Certification Training

    What is the process of Examination?

    Although you were informed about the four levels of certification in the previous section, the examination format varies accordingly.

    We will provide you with a brief insight into each format and the prerequisites so that you get a general idea about the same before selecting a course with us.

    So, here are the four examination formats.

    The PRINCE2® Foundation Examination format:

    PRINCE2® Foundation Examination format

    • The duration of examination is 60 minutes.
    • There will be a total of 60 questions.
    • It will be a closed-book examination.
    • You will need to have at least 33 out of 60 questions correct, that is, a pass mark of 55%.


    There are no specific pre-conditions for the Foundation level certification.

    • You may study this on your own or as take it as a prerequisite to the PRINCE2® Practitioner course.
    • However, with respect to the PRINCE2® Certification Requirements, while it is not mandatory, having a basic knowledge of managing projects is always preferred.

    The PRINCE2® Practitioner Examination format:

    • The duration of examination is 60 minutes.
    • There will be a total of 68 questions
    • You will need to have at least 38 out of 68 questions correct, that is, a pass mark of 55%.
    • It will be an open-book exam (official PRINCE2® manual only).

    However, if you take the examination in your native language, then the duration of the same will be for 150 minutes. If not, it will be for 188 minutes. The distribution of the questions will be as follows:

    • 35 questions from the theme
    • 25 questions from the processes
    • And 8 questions from the principles.


    In order to appear for the PRINCE2® Practitioner examination, you must be able to provide proof of passing one of the following exams:

    • PRINCE2® Foundation
    • Project Management Professional (PMP)
    • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
    • IPMA Level A (Certified Projects Director)
    • IPMA Level B (Certified Senior Project Manager)
    • IPMA Level C (Certified Project Manager)
    • IPMA Level D (Certified Project Management Associate).

    The PRINCE2® Agile Examination format:

    • It will be an objective test.
    • There will be 50 questions, each worth one mark.
    • You will need a score of at least 30 marks to pass (out of 50 available), that is, 60%.
    • The test duration will be of two-and-a-half hours (150 minutes), no additional reading time.
    • It will be an open-book exam (official PRINCE2® Agile guide only)

    What are the Prerequisites?

    In order to sit for the PRINCE2® Agile examination, you must have a Registered PRINCE2® Practitioner status (i.e. hold a current PRINCE2® Practitioner certificate).

    But why should I get PRINCE2® Certified?

    Why should i get prince 2 certified?

    There are many reasons why it is recommended to study PRINCE2®.

    The most notable of them are:

    • It is the industry standard

    If you are looking to work in project management, then your search ends at PRINCE2®.

    PRINCE2® is a qualification that is recognised worldwide, one that is approved by the UK government as a best practice for project management. It has turned into an important benchmark of capability within the industry, and is considered an important requirement for those looking to further their project management careers.

    • It helps in gaining First Class Project Management Skills

    PRINCE2® offers the skills that will make you confident about managing projects with success. The key element it follows is using a common language, systems, and procedures. What results is you being able to govern resources and risks with fewer mistakes, but the incidents will teach you and your team how to learn from the same mistakes.

    Irrespective of the type of project, organisation, or industry one is involved with, PRINCE2® is adaptable enough to be seamlessly adjusted, not to forget the immense amount of time, money, and effort it saves.

    • The time taken for you to qualify will not take long

    It will not take you long to complete all the certifications of PRINCE2®. Their duration is from 20 to 50 hours for the entry-level PRINCE2® Foundation level, two to three days for the PRINCE2® Practitioner and Professional levels.

    The first level can be studied online. You can take your own time in scheduling your studies according to the time table. However, if you desire to finish your qualifications at a quicker pace, then there are a host of bundled packages having different classifications together.

    • It assists you in shaping your career by getting better jobs

    Having a PRINCE2® certification adds credibility to your CV. It is a renowned international product which has the quality method for managing any project. According to Arras People's 2011 survey, half of the people who opted for the same have certifications in PRINCE2®. This clearly explains why so many companies are hiring candidates who are certified in PRINCE2®.

    The 2016 AXELOS PRINCE2® survey shows that a majority of the surveyees, particularly from Germany and the Netherlands, felt that PRINCE2® certification is essential for better career growth. The ones to opine otherwise stood at less than 10% of the total votes.

    A better future is accomplished by continuously being equipped with the best of the upgrades available and a PRINCE2® certification is one of those top-tier choices.

    • It will qualify you to earn more money

    Many companies worldwide offer an average annual salary of around $42,380 to PRINCE2® Foundation certified candidates. Potential candidates could earn up to $66,206 after they complete their PRINCE2® Practitioner certification,

    So, being PRINCE2® certified helps you secure your financial benefits and career on a long-term basis.

    • You will be open to more opportunities globally

    It is a fact. PRINCE2® qualifications are recognised and acclaimed globally. So, there is no doubt that it creates more opportunities for you globally.

    Did you ever dream of working abroad? If yes, then project management could be the ideal choice.

    What is the cost of the components of the certification?

    components involved in prince 2 certification cost

    Whether it is PRINCE2® Foundation or PRINCE2® Practitionerthe total cost is split into various segments and varies from country to country and from one accredited training organisation to another. All the fees mentioned here have approximate values and may be subjected to change depending on the region.

    The components involved in the PRINCE2® certification cost are:

    • PRINCE2® Training
    • PRINCE2® exam
    • Cost of Sample Examination papers
    • Study Guide
    • Membership fee.

    Well, opting for a PRINCE2® course online means that the cost of your training component in PRINCE2® could be as low as under $300, considering that you go for a PRINCE2® Foundation & Practitioner Certification examinations bundle. Choosing this combination will give you access to the entire course lasting for a year. Some training providers offer such courses for just $60, provided you want to complete the same within a month. Generally, the Foundation examination could cost around $900 but you automatically would end up paying much less on the PRINCE2® certification if you get one of those bundled courses including both PRINCE2® Foundation & Practitioner Certification examinations.

    However, in case you think about attending a classroom training, then you may have to pay around $1000 for your PRINCE2® certification. A few of these PRINCE2® courses cover the cost of the PRINCE2® Foundation & Practitioner Certification examinations. So keep the cost of the PRINCE2® certification in mind if you are planning to go for PRINCE2® training. Moreover, take time to pay attention to the extent of course coverage, flexibility and the bundled services that are provided. This will help you cut down on the cost of PRINCE2® certification.

    PRINCE2® course online

    If you go for a PRINCE2® course online, you will save a lot of money on the PRINCE2® examination cost. PRINCE2® course online for the Foundation level may cost you €450 or more, but the classroom session may cost €1000 or more. Speaking of PRINCE2® examination cost, you will be able to save quite a lot of money by going for the online course.

    And what about the future of PRINCE2® professionals?

    Future of prince 2 professionals

    To determine if the PRINCE2® certifications are worth going for, you will need to have a look at the average salaries of the jobs targeted at PRINCE2® certified Project Managers.

    • The average salary of PRINCE2® certified employees is around $85,000 to $90,000.        
    • A number of studies and surveys demonstrate the fact that PRINCE2® certified professionals earn more than their non-certified peers.
    • You may start with the job role of a coordinator or an administrator, but you can rise up to a director’s position with the aid of a PRINCE2® certification.
    • With the help of a PRINCE2® certification, you also become skilled in handling project delivery successfully, thus becoming an invaluable asset to your company.
    • A PRINCE2® certification imparts knowledge on how to manage your resources on the project effectively. Moreover, you will be able to effectively take care of risks and hence aid businesses more.
    • Axelos survey revealed that individuals feel that PRINCE2® Foundation & Practitioner Certification is an invaluable asset for them irrespective of their position.

    In a nutshell, if you compare the PRINCE2® foundation exam costs, your salary should range from $33,000 to $ 93,000. Hence you can justify the costs of learning PRINCE2® with the staggering salary. Like we mentioned at the beginning of this article, PRINCE2® certified professionals are in high demand in the major companies throughout the world.

    You will be a sought-after person when your peers and organisation become aware of your skills in project management.

    Unlock your potential as a CSPO and lead your team to success with agile methodologies. Embrace the power of effective product ownership and drive innovation. Join the CSPO community today gaining agile product owner certification!


    All the information and discussion shared above is just the tip of the iceberg of information about PRINCE2®. There are more to follow in our subsequent articles having every useful information that will help you choose your career options, especially when you are standing at the crossroads of selecting the appropriate one for your future.

    We wish you all the best on your journey to pursuing excellence!


    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.

    Share This Article
    Ready to Master the Skills that Drive Your Career?

    Avail your free 1:1 mentorship session.

    Your Message (Optional)

    Upcoming Project Management Batches & Dates

    NameDateFeeKnow more
    Course advisor icon
    Whatsapp/Chat icon