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PRINCE2® and PMBOK® Guide – Let’s Compare!

Some people will say that PRINCE2 and PMBOK® cannot be compared, one being a project management methodology and the other being a list of tools and techniques. However I think that it is useful for project managers to learn the strengths, weaknesses and complimentary aspects of both. You may find that combining elements of both the PRINCE2 and PMBOK® framework will fill gaps in your project management strategy, making in a more robust and powerful approach. 

The PMBOK® Guide: a valuable reference manual

One of the main area of contrast between PRINCE2 and PMBOK® is the difference in quantity of tools and techniques. The PMBOK® Guide’s biggest strength is its range of 119 tools and techniques, whereas PRINCE2 only refers to 40. The PMBOK® Guide serves as a great reference tool for many different aspects of project management. It is often described as descriptive alongside PRINCE2, which is often referred to as prescriptive. Although the PMBOK® describes the outputs of its processes, it fails to give an idea of what information would be useful to record in the outputs. PRINCE2 on the other hand does explain this information, also while describing who is responsible for recording it. This brings me onto my next point. 

PRINCE2: well-defined roles and responsibilities

Another area of contrast between PRINCE2 and PMBOK® is the difference in responsibility across the project. A major strength of PRINCE2 is that it focusses on a wide range of project management team roles. There are 9 roles in total which can be shared between 2 or more team members or even combined for one team member. No matter what kind of project is being managed using PRINCE2, all of the defined roles must be dedicated to someone. This greatly differs to the PMBOK® Guide whose main focus is on what the project manager does.

Summary: PRINCE2 and PMBOK® comparison

As a project manager, you will already know about the benefit of having many tools in your toolkit. From comparing the PRINCE2 methodology with the PMBOK® Guide, it is evident that we as practitioners can benefit from learning which tool is best to use in which circumstances. The PMBOK® Guide is a powerful reference manual which will teach you the tools and techniques to help you better manage your project.


Would you like to learn more? Read the full “PRINCE2 and the PMBOK® Guide: a comparison” ebook, to learn more about PRINCE2 and the PMBOK® and which elements of both will suit your project.


“PMBOK® Guide” is a registered mark of Project Management Institute, Inc.

“PMP” is a registered mark of Project Management Institute, Inc.

PRINCE2® is a registered trade mark of AXELOS Limited.