PRINCE2 2017 – tailored for a changing project management world

PRINCE2 2017 – tailored for a changing project management world

Mike AcasterA new year often brings transition and new beginnings. And, in that spirit, we are bringing you a new PRINCE2®.

Though the existing PRINCE2 is fundamentally sound – and has become the world’s most practised project management method – we have reached a tipping point and the time is right to update a few areas and refocus the principles of PRINCE2.

The guidance has not required updating since 2009, which shows PRINCE2’s increasing level of maturity. But we have not been complacent and have constantly canvassed the views of the best practice community – including practitioners, academics, experts, exam institutes and training organizations – who told us there were areas of the guidance that needed greater clarity.

So, we’ve listened to you closely; but what are we doing about it?

The new PRINCE2 – tailored to suit

The principles, themes and processes outlined explicitly in its 2009 version remain the core of PRINCE2’s way of working and its strength. However, the emphasis is changing.

In particular, people asked us for greater guidance on the principle of tailoring PRINCE2. Therefore, the new PRINCE2 introduces the tailoring concept much earlier in the guidance - and is more prominent throughout - and will also feature in the new exams.

But what does the increased focus on tailoring mean to someone managing a project and what is its value to the organization they work for?

Understanding the context

The new PRINCE2 will help individual practitioners and organizations develop a more flexible approach to delivering projects – a change, for some, from rigidly applying the guidance to tailoring it appropriately in their organizational and project context. Tailoring has long been a principle of PRINCE2 but one that had not received the emphasis it deserved.

Projects are, invariably, introducing a change – something that may be both new and will introduce risk and, therefore, needs ongoing assessment of its value, viability and the risks involved. So, it’s about being clear on what you’re trying to achieve and having a continuous business justification for it. People in the project team have to ask themselves:

  • Can we actually do this, technically? – often referred to as achievability
  • Is it commercially viable? – often referred to as attractiveness
  • Is it responding to uncertainty? Such as changes in the marketplace – e.g. new legislation in the public sector or a competitor in the private sector and customer demand/aspirations?

But also, you need to consider the context of your project: Is it stand-alone? Is it part of a programme? Is it agile? All these factors will influence how you tailor your use of PRINCE2 to be more effective for your organization. And that’s where the new PRINCE2 guidance will help you excel.

PRINCE2 2017 – practically speaking

People told us they wanted to know more about how to apply PRINCE2 more practically in the workplace rather than sticking to the guidance and using templates rigidly.

So, the PRINCE2 2017 update offers a new level of practical advice and examples for anyone using the guidance to manage projects. And – in response to community feedback – this means removing some elements that people find less useful and shifting the balance towards what practitioners and experts feel is of greatest value in PRINCE2.

And this practical guidance has come from a wide variety of sources. Together with our core authoring team of Phil Stanton, Nigel Bennett and Robert Buttrick, we have also included input from 100 people operating across diverse sectors around the world. We have worked closely with these numerous experts, each with experience of developing project management approaches, to develop practical examples that will enable PRINCE2 practitioners to achieve more from the method – and sooner.

With the help of our expert network, the new PRINCE2 is resolutely focused on enhancing the value and the likelihood of success individuals and organizations derive from the guidance: for example, its chapter about change now concentrates on dealing with change control rather than the concept of configuration management. This recognizes that it’s more important to know how to manage change effectively than getting distracted by discussions about the different mechanisms for change control.

Ultimately, the updated guidance provides a heightened focus on your intent when managing a project and what you need to achieve, rather than the means you’re employing.

Taking the PRINCE2 training back to work

Trainers and training organizations involved in delivering PRINCE2 courses will, we believe, be excited by the changes to PRINCE2 2017 as along with imparting the fundamental principles, the new guidance provides them with a lot more scope for equipping candidates to deploy PRINCE2 more effectively when back at work.

And changes we’re making to the syllabi and the exam are directed more at how to apply the method in practice and less about how to pass the exam. Crucially, this means helping anyone involved in a project to get the best out of PRINCE2 and to achieve a successful outcome for their organization.

PRINCE2 2017 – for those who know already and those who should know…

The seismic changes in the working world and the fractures in the global economy since the time of the previous PRINCE2 update have shown us all what risk really means and the long-term implications of getting things wrong.

The PRINCE2 method has always focused on risk and is effective in identifying threats and opportunities in projects, questioning the assumptions we make and the uncertainty that needs to be managed in order to de-risk an organization’s product development and change initiatives.

PRINCE2 2017 helps to address those issues, along with the need for organizations to be more agile and to change more rapidly in line with market demand; while underpinning that change with regulation and control to achieve the best outcomes. And it is now fully aligned with our Management of Risk (M_o_R®) and Managing Successful Programmes (MSP®) guidance on how to deal with risks.

For existing PRINCE2 users, the good news is that nothing has fundamentally changed in PRINCE2; essentially, we have streamlined it to enhance your capability to tailor the guidance to your everyday project challenges. You will continue to benefit from all the advantages of PRINCE2 that have previously been recognized: common language, roles and responsibilities, approach and techniques, giving you consistency of project work and all based on years of proven success achieved through PRINCE2.

For those who are new to PRINCE2, what you get already is the advantage of a consistent, effective and agile-enabled approach to project management. And, with its latest modifications, you can access best practice principles that take you beyond the training room and endow you with practical skills to manage or contribute to project work, making you more effective in the workplace.

See our PRINCE2 and PRINCE2 2017 sections for more information.

Current rating: 5 (3 ratings)


23 Jan 2017 Clinton in't Veld
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I am keen to understand if ATO's can continue to deliver against their current P2 2009 courseware and still order current Foundation/Practitioner exams (English versions) throughout 2017 or must ATO's adjust their courseware to comply with the new 2017 edition from the end of July 2017, i.e. ATO's will no longer be able to deliver courses against their 2009 edition courseware, because the Foundation and Practitioner exams will be against the new 2017 edition format only from the end of July 2017. Can you clarify please?
23 Jan 2017 Tom Lynam
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Dear Clinton, thanks for your message. Can I ask are you part of an Accredited Training Organization? If so please let me know your email address and I can follow up with you directly and in more detail.

Broadly, in answer to your question both sets of training materials can be used throughout 2017 (and concurrently by an ATO), the only stipulation is that the training must relate to the exam that is being sat. I.e. if a candidate takes current/2009 training, they have to sit the current/2009 exam. If they sit the 2017 training course, they will need to take the 2017 exams.

I hope that answers your question.
13 Feb 2017 Rajan Sood
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In mid-Jan'17, I paid for training course and PRINCE2 manual. I wasn't aware of this change.
Should I continue preparing as per 2009 pattern? I plan to appear for exam around April/May 2017.
17 Feb 2017 Tom Lynam
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Dear Rajan,

Thanks for your question. The 2009/current version of PRINCE2 will be still available in English until the end of 2017. If you are currently booked on to a course in April/May I would recommend still sitting it, and once the new guidance has been released familiarize yourself with the changes.

Kind regards,
16 Apr 2017 Rajiva_Gupta
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Can I use old book in new exam of Practictioner.
19 Apr 2017 Tom Lynam
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Dear Rajiva,

Thanks for your comment. The only permitted publication to take into the new Practitioner exam is the 2017 edition of Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2, as otherwise this would be an extreme disadvantage to the candidate.

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PRINCE2 2017 Core Publication

Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2 2017 Edition

Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2 2017 Edition

Our updated project management guidance places a new emphasis on the flexibility of the method and how to tailor it to your specific projects.

Buy the PRINCE2 guide >