PRINCE, which stands for Projects in Controlled Environments, is a project management method covering the organisation, management and control of projects. PRINCE was first developed by the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) in 1989 as a UK Government standard for IT project management.
Since its introduction, PRINCE has become widely used in both the public and private sectors and is now the UK's de facto standard for project management. Although PRINCE was originally developed for the needs of IT projects, the method has also been used on many non-IT projects. The latest version of the method, PRINCE2, is designed to incorporate the requirements of existing users and to enhance the method towards a generic, best practice approach for the management of all types of projects.
The design and development work was undertaken by a consortium of project management specialists, under contract to CCTA, and over 150 public and private sector organisations were involved in a Review Panel which provided valuable input and feedback to the consortium.
The PRINCE2 manual is published by The Stationery Office (formerly HMSO), priced £50.
In brief, PRINCE2 is a process-based approach for project management providing an easily tailored, and scaleable method for the management of all types of projects. Each process is defined with its key inputs and outputs together with the specific objectives to be achieved and activities to be carried out.
The Prince2.com website provides some downloadable samples manuals and brochures.