On the Monday morning of a PRINCE2 course one of the first questions I ask delegates are ‘why do projects fail’. It’s my favourite question of the week also! No matter how many times I ask the question it is always the same answers that I receive back from delegates.

Let’s take a look at the most common reasons and what PRINCE2 can do to help.

1) A lack of communication

How often can it be said about an organisation ‘that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing!’. Or possibly just that the project team don’t know who and how to communicate with other members of the team or the projects key stakeholders.

Communication in a project environment is crucial. A Project Manager should know who are the projects stakeholders and what information they require.

During the Initiation Stage in a PRINCE2 project a communication management approach will be produced. This allows the project manager to carry out stakeholder analysis and also document how and when stakeholders will be communicated and engaged with.

2) Lack of change control

Projects are all about change. Projects will change from the plans set out at the beginning. There is nothing wrong with that. PRINCE2 likes change. It just needs to be carried out in a controlled manner. A widely used term in project management is ‘scope creep’. We will all be aware of projects where timescales and costs have spiralled. This is quite often down to adding to the project without taking the time to look at the impact of the change. This allows costs and times to spiral out of control.

To help control change PRINCE2 provides a five step issue and change control procedure to follow when requests for change are raised. The PRINCE2 change theme provides this procedure and it allows us to make informed decisions on whether a request for change should be approved.

3) Roles and responsibilities are not properly defined

One of the PRINCE2 principles is that a project should have defined roles and responsibilities. People should know what their role in the project is and what their responsibilities are. This stops the hands being put up in the air and saying ‘nothing to do with me’ or ‘I thought such and such was dealing with that’ when something happens in the project.

The PRINCE2 organization theme discusses the roles in the project management team and the PRINCE2 manual provides generic role descriptions for each.

4) Lack of (or no!) planning

It’s amazing how many times organisations just jump in and start a project without asking basic questions about what the project needs to deliver, what will be required and how long or how much will it cost. From experience I’ve quite often found organisations say they don’t have the time to ask these questions and put plans in place but always seemed to find the time to fix things when they went wrong because they hadn’t planned in the first place.

In PRINCE2 a focus is put on taking some time up front to ask questions and document what the project is all about. The first couple of processes in PRINCE2 help support this – starting up a project where we look to see if we have a good idea on our hands and then initiating a project where we get to the detail before a decision is made to (or not) authorize the project.

So we’ve touched on a few of the common reasons for project failure (there are plenty more!) but hopefully you can to see how PRINCE2 can reduce the chances of project failure

Next up

Are you ready for PRINCE2 2017?


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.