project management professionals planning a project in an office

The Ultimate Guide to the PRINCE2® Practitioner Course

What Is the PRINCE2® Methodology?

The PRINCE2® methodology is a structured project management approach that provides a reliable and repeatable framework for managing projects of any size, complexity, or type.

 It is based on the principle of dividing projects into manageable stages with clear objectives, delivering measurable benefits to stakeholders.

The method comprises seven key principles, processes, themes and tailoring guidelines to suit different environments. 

The fundamental principles of the methodology include:

1. Defined roles and responsibilities – ensure that everyone understands their roles and to whom they should report.

2. Manage by stages – This makes it easier to track progress and spot any issues early.

3. Control by exception – regular reviews of the project allow for any potential problems to be identified and dealt with quickly.

4. Tailored approach – PRINCE2® is flexible. Project professionals can use it to suit the specific needs of each project.

5. continual improvement – lessons learned at the end of each stage are used to improve the management of future projects.

What Is the PRINCE2® Practitioner Course in Project Management?

This certification is an advanced-level training programme accredited by Axelos, part of PeopleCert. 

It sits a level above the PRINCE2 Foundation qualification.

The practitioner course provides more detailed and practical guidance on how to apply the methodology in a project environment.

The course covers topics related to PRINCE2®, such as:

  • How to tailor PRINCE2® to different types of projects
  • How to manage a project effectively
  • How to monitor and control a project 
  • How to create a successful project plan 
  • How to close a project using PRINCE2® processes.

The Practitioner Course Includes:

  1. Official PRINCE2® Practitioner Exam
  1. Certified Tutor to assist you with specific course queries
  1. Access to an entire Support Team for assistance with the examination, notes, and study queries
  1. A Simulated Project Assignment for additional insight into applying PRINCE2®
  1. A professional, Project Management-oriented CV rewrite
  1. A LinkedIn profile overhaul to maximise your new networking opportunities

Understanding the Seven Processes, Principles, and Themes of PRINCE2®

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project management team planning project tasks

PRINCE2® Processes: What Do They Mean in Project Management?

The seven processes are structured activities that guide the successful completion of projects. They are comprehensive, clear and act on defined inputs to produce tangible results. 

  1. Starting up a project 

This first stage involves creating a project mandate, appointing a project manager (link to project manager career programme blog), and assessing the project’s feasibility.

  1. Directing a project

An oversight process takes place at this stage. It involves:

  • Setting up a project board.
  • Defining limits.
  • Approving plans to ensure the project is on track.
  1. Initiating a project

At the outset, the team creates a detailed project plan, identifies potential risks and issues, and establishes a project management team structure.

  1. Controlling a stage

This process involves monitoring and managing each stage of the project to ensure progress is in line with project plans, managing risks and issues, and updating plans as needed.

  1. Managing product delivery

This stage focuses on managing the production and delivery of project outputs, overseeing progress, and ensuring the delivery of the final products.

  1. Managing a stage boundary

At the end of each stage, work gets reviewed, plans for the next stage are updated, and progress to the next stage occurs via an approval process.

  1. Closing a project 

The final process involves:

  • A project review.
  • An assessment of the project’s success.
  • Archiving of project documents to bring the project to a close.

PRINCE2® Principles: What Do They Mean in Project Management?

The seven principles provide a framework for effective Project management. These principles include:

Principle 1: Continued business justification 

Keep business justification continually updated throughout the project’s lifecycle.

Principle 2: Learn from experience 

Learn from previous projects to continuously improve project management processes.

Principle 3: Define roles and responsibilities

Clearly define and communicate project roles and responsibilities to ensure accountability.

Principle 4: Manage by stages

Break the project down into manageable stages and have checkpoints at each stage.

Principle 5: Manage by exception 

Establish decision-making limits and only escalate issues when they exceed those limits.

Principle 6: Focus on products

Emphasise the quality and delivery of project outputs rather than focusing only on activities.

Principle 7: Tailor to suit the project environment 

Customise the methodology to fit the specific needs of the project and its environment.

PRINCE2® Themes: What Do They Mean in Project Management?

The seven themes provide a structured approach that guides project managers in managing projects effectively. These themes include:

Business case: Ensure that there is a justifiable reason for the project to be undertaken by regularly updating a business case that outlines the costs, benefits, and risks associated with the project.

Organisation: Establish a transparent project management structure by defining roles and responsibilities, creating a team, and establishing reporting lines.

Quality:  Focus on meeting the necessary quality standards for project outputs by establishing quality criteria, planning quality activities, and monitoring quality throughout the project.

Plans: Create a detailed project plan outlining the project scope, schedule, and budget to provide a roadmap for the project.

Risk:  Identify and manage potential risks and issues throughout the project by creating a risk management plan, identifying risks, and developing responses to mitigate those risks.

Change: Manage changes to the project, including changes to the project scope, schedule, and budget, by creating a change management plan, identifying potential changes, and evaluating the impact of those changes.

Progress: Monitor and control the project’s progress by establishing reporting and control mechanisms, reviewing progress against the project plan, and updating it as necessary to ensure the project is on track to meet its objectives.

The PRINCE2® Practitioner Course: Explained!

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project management team planning a project

What Is the Purpose of the PRINCE2® Practitioner Certificate?

The certification is designed for two groups of people: aspiring and practising project managers. It equips them with the necessary skills and knowledge to manage projects using the method.

This qualification covers a variety of topics, including:

– Project management fundamentals

– Project initiation

– Planning and Control

– Execution and delivery

– Closing projects

–  tools and techniques

Important: Obtaining the Practitioner qualification is essential to becoming a project manager. However, other factors should be considered, like supplementing this certification with practical project experience. 

Investing in personal and professional development through further training opportunities is also beneficial.

What are the Levels in PRINCE2®?

There are two levels for the PRINCE2® qualification: Foundation and Practitioner.

PRINCE2® Foundation: The Foundation level offers an introduction to the methodology. It covers this framework’s fundamental concepts, principles, themes and processes.

The Foundation course assesses a candidate’s knowledge and understanding of the methodology. It also evaluates if they can apply it in a project scenario.

This project management qualification includes a multiple-choice exam with 60 questions. 

The pass mark is 55%, and the exam is a closed book.

PRINCE2® Practitioner: This level is ideal for individuals applying the PRINCE2® methodology to real-life projects. 

The practitioner level builds on the knowledge gained at the Foundation level. It focuses on how to apply this method’s principles, themes, and processes to a project scenario.

The practitioner exam consists of 68 questions per paper, of which thirty-eight marks or more are required to pass. 

Important: The exam is open-book. Candidates can refer to the official PRINCE2® manual during the exam. The manual is called “Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2®”.

How Is the PRINCE2® Practitioner Delivered?

ITonlinelearning provides an interactive online learning environment to study the PRINCE2® Practitioner course.

We provide you access to a professional learning portal that contains lectures delivered via high-quality video content. 

You also get exclusive access to PDF content, interactive quizzes, sample exam questions, and practice tests related to your qualification. 

A dedicated Tutor: We assign you your trained Tutor, whose job is to support you in preparing for your exams. They will share tips and strategies for studying and time management during the exam.

(Think of them as that knowledgeable friend who is always ready to offer advice and help when you most need it.)

Who Should Consider Studying the PRINCE2® Practitioner?

The PRINCE2® Practitioner qualification is for people working in a project environment and those interested in becoming a Project Manager.

The certification is especially relevant for project managers and professionals overseeing project design, development, and delivery.

 Key staff members who play a critical role in the success of a project can also benefit from this project management certification: including Project Board members and the project steering committee. 

How Is the PRINCE2® Practitioner Examination Structured?

  • Objective testing is where your answers will be marked as correct or incorrect. 
  • 68 questions per paper
  • 38 marks or more are required to pass (out of 68 available)
  • Two-and-a-half hours (150 minutes) duration/ no additional reading time
  • Open book. Candidates can use the official printed hard copy of the Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2® 2017 Edition.

Pre-requisites to taking the Practitioner exam 

Please note that we do require proof of having passed these project management qualifications before sitting the PRINCE2® Practitioner exam: 

  • PRINCE2® 5th Edition (Foundation or Practitioner)
  • PRINCE2® 6th Edition (Foundation)
  • Project Management Qualification (PMQ)

PRINCE2® Practitioner Course Frequently Asked Questions (And Answers)

Where Is the Best Place To Learn the PRINCE2® Practitioner Course Online?

We recommend studying with ITonlinlearning, a specialist training company with over 15 years of experience delivering project management education. 

They have extensive experience placing people in project management roles and helping practising professionals advance their careers through accredited project management courses and qualifications. 

Can I Take the PRINCE2® Practitioner Exam Without Taking the PRINCE2® Foundation Course?

No! You have to pass your foundation exams and gain your qualification to be eligible to pursue the practitioner certification. 

Is It Worth Getting a PRINCE2® Practitioner Qualification?

We recommend this qualification if you’re serious about building a successful project management career. 

A foundation and practitioner-level PRINCE2® course will help you gain the skills and knowledge employers seek in project professionals to work in their organisations. 

Is PRINCE2® Better Than PMP?

These are two different project management qualifications targeted at people with varying knowledge, experience and skills.

 PRINCE2® is a structured methodology for managing projects, used and recognised globally. 

PRINCE2® Qualifications include foundation and practitioner levels geared towards beginners (foundation) and practising project professionals (practitioner). 

You must pass the Foundation exams to be eligible for the practitioner qualification.

Project management professional ( PMP) is an advanced project management qualification that’s not beginner friendly and is created to validate the experience of proven project managers with experience leading large projects. 

Is the PRINCE2® Practitioner Exam Difficult?

The practitioner course is indeed more challenging compared to the foundation exams. The reason? The level focuses on practical application than theoretical knowledge. 

However, with adequate preparation and learning, you should be able to pass your exams successfully. 

How Long Does It Take To Become PRINCE2® Practitioner Qualified?

We project a study time of 20 -30 hours when studying with us.

After which you can take your exams. From our experience, you can quickly become PRINCE2® practitioner certified in less than four months. 

Can I Find a Project Management Job With a PRINCE2® Qualification?

A PRINCE2® qualification on your CV will make you more attractive to employers worldwide. This qualification can open doors to a raise in a current or future role because it validates your skills as a project management professional.

Which Is More Challenging, PRINCE2 ®Foundation or PRINCE2® Practitioner?

The foundation training is more theoretical and focuses on understanding core methodologies, principles, processes and themes to pass your exams. 

The practitioner qualification tests your ability to apply the processes, principles and themes to project scenarios. It requires a depth of knowledge and critical thinking. 

Do You Need a Degree To Study PRINCE2®?

No! You can get started with learning project management without a degree. To get started, it is as simple as inquiring about the courses. 

Does the PRINCE2® Practitioner Qualification Expire?

No, the practitioner qualification in PRINCE2® never expires. If you’ve passed your examination and gained your certification, no one can take it away from you or invalidate it!

However, people holding the practitioner certificate are recognised as ‘PRINCE2® Registered Practitioners’ for three years. After which you will have to renew.   

What Is Better, Six Sigma or PRINCE2®?

No one qualification is better than the other because their uses differ depending on each company’s needs; PRINCE®2 and lean six sigma are methodologies used towards delivering projects successfully in organisations. 

While PRINCE2® brings a controlled and structured approach to managing projects, lean six sigma fits organisations interested in prioritising waste reduction in their processes.

Can I Put PRINCE2® After My Name?

You can include: “I am a PRINCE2® registered practitioner on your CV” However, you cannot use the PRINCE2® logo since it is reserved for accredited organisations.


Is PRINCE2 ®Still Relevant in 2023?

Yes, PRINCE2® qualifications are still relevant in 2023 and will continue to be!

This project management methodology is the most popular type of project management practised in the UK, Europe, and globally.

 It provides a structured approach to managing projects, and its focus on the project lifecycle remains relevant.

Is PRINCE2® Practitioner an Open Book Exam?

Yes! The practitioner exam is an open book. You are permitted to bring into the exam a copy of an official PRINCE2® manual (managing successful projects with PRINCE2®) 

Study the PRINCE2® Practitioner in Project Management With ITonlinelearning.

project management professionals planning a project

Six Reasons Why You Should Study With Us:

  1. Experienced Recruitment Consultants 

Unlike your average recruitment specialists, we put the work in so that you can find the best role for you. Once you have completed our proven formula for finding a job, you will forever be in control of your future. 

  1. Improved Career Progression 

We are experts in the industry. We know and understand what works and what does not in learning professional skills for a career. 

Our career progression plan is tried and tested to get you into the correct position and ready to work. 

  1. Internationally Recognised 

The global population is more mobile than ever. You never know where you may end up working one day. Think long-term and obtain the qualifications recognised wherever you are in the world. 

  1. Flexible Finance and Study Options 

With us, you get 0% interest finance plans that are fully flexible and range from 6 to 12 months, allowing you to enrol on your course with complete peace of mind. 

  1. Partnered with Leaders 

We partner with the world’s leading education providers to make sure you have high-quality learning materials that will accelerate your learning. 

  1. Customised Course Planning 

Each of our students has a different path ahead of them. We customise your learning experience to suit your needs.  

Make your next career decision your best one. 

Why not speak to one of our knowledgeable career experts to understand the options and opportunities available to you with this qualification? 

Study with us and gain access to a host of benefits

5 Star Support Team

Flexible Finance

Access to recruitment Specialists

World Recognised qualifications

Fully flexible study options

Unlimited resources

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