PRINCE2 Update 2017 - what are the changes

PRINCE 2® Training Course Update 2017

At the beginning of this year, AXELOS announced first major update of PRINCE2® since 2009. Known as the PRINCE2® 2017 update, this hugely successful project management course has been updated to reflect the constant demands of today’s business environment.

PRINCE2® 2017 is due to be released in the middle of the year and offers updated guidance and new Foundation and Practitioner examinations.

So what’s changed in PRINCE2® 2017 Training?

New improved guidance has been published to emphasise:

  • Tailoring PRINCE2® to the needs of the organization and project environments
  • The principles that underpin PRINCE2®
  • Clarifying the link between themes and principles
  • Restructuring the Themes guidance to accommodate specific examples of tailoring
  • The practical application of the method and guidance, with numerous examples, hints and tips

Stronger emphasis on tailoring methods to project, the principles, how the themes and principles link and the practical application of of the guidance with examples, hints and tips

New Foundation and Practitioner Exams with a focus on the core of PRINCE2® and equipping Practitioners with practical skills to apply PRINCE2®

Specific guidance on identifying minimum requirements, using PRINCE2® elements to suit project scales and referencing PRINCE2® Agile where relevant

What if I book a PRINCE2® 2009 training course? 

PRINCE2® 2009 version is still valid and your PRINCE2® accreditation is valid for 5 years. With the PRINCE2 2017 update your accreditation is valid for 3 years

PRINCE2® 2009 Is Similar: The majority of the underlying principles & terminology will remain the same.

Are there any benefits in waiting to book the PRINCE2® 2017 training course? 

PRINCE2® adapts to the needs of your organization, the nature and scope of your project, and your professional role – even if you are not a full-time project manager

Completely scalable due to the new focus on tailoring

New guidance that is practical, accessible, authoritative and relevant

New exams, equipping Practitioners with practical skills to apply PRINCE2®

I have the current/2009 version of the practitioner Certificate, will the update make this redundant? 

Any current PRINCE2® Practitioner certificate holder who passed the exam before the 2017 update remains as relevant as any end-learner. Your current certification in PRINCE2® will remain valid until the end of its five-year period.

If i have the current/2009 version of PRINCE2®, can i still take PRINCE2 Agile® Practitioner training course? 

Yes. The PRINCE2® 2017 update does not affect the existing prerequisite requirements for PRINCE2 Agile®. 

How to find out more about PRINCE2® Training Courses 

To find out more about PRINCE2® courses or to book a place on a PRINCE2® course, please give us a call or send us an email and one of our account managers can advise you to help you to choose the right course to suit your requirements.

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It’s not a rule book!

By Steven Gardiner

It’s not a rule book! This is a phrase I always use on the PRINCE2 courses I teach. Many delegates

arrive on the Monday morning with this big, shiny new book thinking it’s full of rules to be followed

word for word. They couldn’t be further from the truth.


The PRINCE2 manual is quite simply is a reference manual. It is not there to be followed word for

word. During a project it is to be used when you need some guidance on the PRINCE2 treatment of

key project management topics such as risk and planning. The manual is to be dipped in and out of

when needed. The only time it would be read cover to cover is when you are on the course and

that’s only down to the fact that there are exams to sit!


One of the key PRINCE2 Principles is that it is a methodology that needs to be tailored. The Themes,

Processes and Management Products that PRINCE2 provide are there to be adapted. Take the

Management Products. Many people look at those and all they see are documents. One of the

common misconceptions that many people have about PRINCE2 is that they will spend their whole

time writing documents if they use the methodology. This again couldn’t be any further from the

truth. If you are spending your time on the project just writing documents you are doing it wrong.

The Management Products can be documents but that is just one way of presenting that

information. They could be a slide set presentation, an email and even a conversation, although this

PRINCE2 trainer would stay away from that. They only need to be documents if that is appropriate.

Also another question to be asked is do you need them all?


Another misconception that people have is to say that as they are only a small organisation that

PRINCE2 will not work as it is for big projects with large project management teams. People are

always surprised when I tell them that the minimum number of people needed for a PRINCE2 project

is only 2! The roles that PRINCE2 provide are there to be adapted to the size and complexity of the

project. All that is needed for a PRINCE2 project is an Executive carrying out the Project Board role

along with assurance and the Project Manager to do the rest. Also what is not crucial is the name of

the role e.g. say if the Executive is called a Sponsor – that is not an issue. What is important is that

the individual fulfilling the role understands their responsibilities.


As I always tell delegates what makes a project a PRINCE2 project is the implementing of the 7

PRINCE2 Principles. To me the Principles are just sensible project management. Principles such as

Continued Business Justification and Learn from Experience are the kind of things any Project

Manager should be thinking about. Quite simply follow these Principles and you will become a

better Project Manager.


Finally the key to PRINCE2 and good project management is just using common sense. PRINCE2

provides the tools to manage projects more effectively. However it is how you use the tools that will

make the methodology work for you. Treat the manual as a rule book and you will run into trouble.

Use it with common sense and then it becomes what it is meant to be – a great part of a project

manager’s tool box.

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