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PRINCE2 2009 - Themes part 1

What are the themes?

The PRINCE2® themes describe aspects of project management that must be addressed continually. Any Project Manager who gives thorough attention to these themes will fulfil the role in a professional manner.

However, the strength of PRINCE2 is the way in which the seven themes are integrated, and this is achieved because of the specific PRINCE2 treatment of each theme, i.e. they are carefully designed to link together effectively.

The PRINCE2 processes address the chronological flow of the project - with actions relating to different themes mixed together. Here, the logical thread that runs through each theme is highlighted and more detailed guidance is provided in order to amplify the process activities.

Below lists the seven PRINCE2 themes which are covered in detail later:

Business case

Answers: Why?

The project starts with an idea which is considered to have potential value for the organization concerned. This theme addresses how the idea is developed into a viable investment proposition for the organization and how project management maintains the focus on the organization’s objectives throughout the project.


Answers: Who?

The organization sponsoring the project needs to allocate the work to managers who will be responsible for it and steer it through to completion. Projects are cross-functional so the normal line function structures are not suitable. This theme describes the roles and responsibilities in the temporary PRINCE2 project management team required to manage the project effectively


Answers: What?

The initial idea will only be understood as a broad outline. This theme explains how the outline is developed so that all participants understand the quality attributes of the products to be delivered - and then how project management will ensure that these requirements are subsequently delivered.


Answers: How? How much? When?

PRINCE2 projects proceed on the basis of a series of approved plans. This theme complements the Quality theme by describing the steps required to develop plans and the PRINCE2 techniques that should be applied. In PRINCE2, the plans are matched to the needs of the personnel at the various levels of the organization. They are the focus for communication and control throughout the project.


Answers: What if?

Projects typically entail more risk than stable operational activity. This theme addresses how project management manages the uncertainties in its plans and in the wider project environment.


Answers: What’s the impact?

This theme describes how project management assesses and acts upon issues which have a potential impact on any of the baseline aspects of the project (its plans and completed products). Issues may be unanticipated general problems, requests for change or instances of quality failure.


Answers: Where are we now? Where are we going? Should we carry on?

This theme addresses the ongoing viability of the plans. The theme explains the decision-making process for approving plans, the monitoring of actual performance and the escalation process if events do not go according to plan. Ultimately, the Progress theme determines whether and how the project should proceed.

PRINCE2® is a Registered Trade Mark of the Office of Government Commerce in the United Kingdom and other countries.

This product contains EVERYTHING in the publications:

Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2 - 2005 edition
Managing successful Projects with PRINCE2 – 2009 edition
Directing Projects with PRINCE2.
The Complete Project Management package.

And much more besides - at a fantastic price.