PRINCE2 Foundation Certification Notes 3: 7 Themes

PRINCE2 Foundation Certification Notes 3: 7 Themes

Important: The new PRINCE2® Foundation and Practitioner exams (PRINCE2® 2017) are available from 10 July 2017 (details of the changes here). Don’t worry, the changes are quite minor indeed as all the 7 principles, themes and processes remain the same. From now on until the end of 2017, candidates can take either the existing or updated English versions of the PRINCE2® exam. All PRINCE2® Foundation and Practitioner exams will be based on PRINCE2® 2017 from 1 January 2018. You can still seize the time to get certified based on the current version! Once you get PRINCE2® certified, your certification is still valid under PRINCE2® 2017 and onwards!

Introduction: In PRINCE2®, each theme describes a facet (an important aspect) of project management that must be monitored and addressed continually during the life of the project. Each theme has an important purpose for the success of the project, which is developed based on the PRINCE2® principles. There are altogether 7 Themes for the PRINCE2® Methodology.

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7 Themes of PRINCE2® Methodology

The following provides an overview of the 7 PRINCE2® Themes, these themes will be discussed in more details in the subsequent PRINCE2® study notes:

  1. Business Case theme — describes the business justifications for the project (= ‘Why’ the project is taken)  [PRINCE2® principles: ‘Continued business justification’]
  2. Organisation theme — describes the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders for the project (= ‘Who’ are taking up the project and do what) [PRINCE2® principles: ‘Defined roles and responsibilities’]
  3. Quality theme — describes the quality requirements of the deliverables of the project to ensure they are ‘fit-for-purpose’ (= ‘What’ will be delivered) [PRINCE2® principles: ‘Focus on products’]
  4. Plans theme — plans the project activities and control and communication mechanisms with a view to achieving project objectives within the budgeted resources and timeframe (= ‘How’ and ‘When’ to create the products and perform the activities and ‘How much’ time and money required), the Plans theme also details how the PRINCE2® techniques are applied and steps to develop the plans  [PRINCE2® principles: ‘Manage by stages’, ‘Tailor to suit the project environment’, ‘Learn from experience’]
  5. Risk theme — investigates and details the uncertainties the project is facing and the plan to manage and handle them (= ‘What if’ __ happens?)  [PRINCE2® principles: ‘Manage by exception’]
  6. Change theme — describes how issues and changes are to be assessed (against approved plans and budget) and managed (issue are unplanned events that need to be dealt with in the project) so that changes are agreed upon with the relevant authority [PRINCE2® principles: ‘Manage by exception’ and ‘Learn from experience’]
  7. Progress theme — compares actual project achievements against the plan and details the decision-making and escalation processes for approving plans and changes [PRINCE2® principles: ‘Managing by Stage’, ‘Continued Business Justification’ and ‘Manage by Exception’]

Though all the 7 RPINCE2 themes must be applied in the project, however, these should be tailored according to the scale, level of risk and complexity of the project in question. And the PRINCE2® Themes can be “tailored up or down” — i.e. for a complex project, the project manager can require more detailed documentations and tighter control for the process; for a simpler project, informal communication instead of formal written documentation may be sufficient.

(These are somewhat like the counterparts of the Project Management Knowledge Areas as described in the PMP Certification Exam: Project Integration Management, Project Scope Management, Project Schedule Management, Project Cost Management, Project Quality Management, Project Human Resource Management, Project Communications Management, Project Risk Management, Project Procurement Management.)

Conclusion: PRINCE2® Foundation Certification Study Notes

This PRINCE2® Foundation Certification Study Notes provides a concise introduction to the 7 PRINCE2® Themes. These themes are established to help the project manager and the organization to achieve project success by highlighting the important aspects of project management that need to be monitored and acted upon continually during the project life. These 7 PRINCE2® Themes will be discussed in greater details in the chapters to follow.

Wish you PRINCE2® Foundation Exam success!


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Edward Chung

Edward Chung aspires to become a full-stack web developer and project manager. In the quest to become a more competent professional, Edward studied for and passed the PMP Certification, ITIL v3 Foundation Certification, PMI-ACP Certification and Zend PHP Certification. Edward shares his certification experience and resources here in the hope of helping others who are pursuing these certification exams to achieve exam success.

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