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How to Use ITIL and PRINCE2 Together

While AXELOS maintains both ITIL and PRINCE2, the two might not look compatible. After all, ITIL is the de facto framework for IT service management and PRINCE2 is the de facto framework for project management. However, with the right guidance, the two can work together. Applying ITIL to an organization can be seen as a project, and PRINCE2 is a framework built for any type of project.


PRINCE2 principles that ITIL can use


Business justification – This could be the most important benefit PRINCE2 brings to projects. Continued business justification keeps projects focused on the goal. For ITIL, PRINCE2 can guard against common problems like function creep. When the project board sets financial tolerances, it’s easier to manage spending and time.

Management by stages – ITIL covers every IT function in an organization, and even goes into depth about the processes and stages. This can make changes and additions to ITIL daunting. PRINCE2 recommends breaking projects into controllable stages.

Lesson learned – PRINCE2 emphasises learning from experience. This will help inform things like the business justification. At the same time, it neatly plugs into ITIL’s Continual Service Improvement theme.

Risk management – PRINCE2 emphasises risk identification and assessment. The detailed risk register in particular can help the change manager and change advisory board (CAB) approve changes.


How to use PRINCE2 with ITIL


  1. First, create a Product Initiation Document (PID) identifying the stakeholders, executive, project board, and the rest of the project team. ITIL projects tend to have obvious roles for project management teams, like incident managers as senior users.


    The PID should also establish roles, procedures, quality criteria and decide what comprises a successful implementation. Because this is an ITIL project, you can refer to Service Strategy and Service Design for clear and detailed project mandates. Once the PID is approved, you can implement the project like any other.


  1. When executing stages, PRINCE2 doesn’t specify what management stages should be, since every project is different. For ITIL, you can follow the Service V Model. This concept was introduced in ITIL V3. Each step of the model can be used as a management stage.


    The first part of the V Model is “Define Customer/Business Requirements”. So if you’re using the V Model, it should begin from the PID.


  1. After completing a stage, carry out a review. This falls back on PRINCE2’s managing a stage boundary process. Because this is an ITIL project, the review will likely focus on change. ITIL 2011 introduced the Change Evaluation process. This will highlight the predicted vs actual delivery. You can then recommend changes to the change authority (or in PRINCE2 terms, the project board).


    Because PRINCE2 is project-focused, once the stages are complete, the work is done. Since ITIL is service-focused, Service Operation then takes over. It monitors the day-to-day incident management, problem management, request fulfilment, and event management.




With any two frameworks, you can expect differences or conflicts between terms. Thankfully, PRINCE2 strongly promotes tailoring, especially when it comes to terminology. This list of equivalent terms between PRINCE2 and ITIL should help you translate between the two. At the same time, it highlights the similarities the two frameworks share.

Service Owner Senior User
Customer Customer
Service Portfolio Manager Project Executive
Business Case Business Case
Service Design Package Product Initiation Document
Change Evaluation Managing Stage Boundaries
CSI Register FOAR
CAB and Change Authority Project Board
Technical/Application and/or Operational Management Team Managers
Configuration Librarian Configuration Librarian


With an understanding of both guidances, ITIL and PRINCE2 can make a great combination. PRINCE2’s principles can assist ITIL, even if you need to translate and tailor certain elements. To do this right, make sure you have an ITIL qualification and PRINCE2 training. You can find out more about our ITIL course, or get answers to other questions, through our contact page.