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What's the difference between ITIL® and PRINCE2®? And which one is better? These are questions that some students ask during discussions on their career paths. This is especially the case for IT professionals tasked with projects like their organisation's digital transformation.


But we see that the answer lies in how knowledge and training in these two domains can benefit IT professionals.

Products and services have become intertwined. Service delivery in most sectors is based on IT these days. Technology is now so complex that it requires end-to-end service delivery.

Project managers and IT professionals face a real challenge in creating a team with Best Practice skills for project management and service delivery in a world where the lines between the two approaches have blurred. And at an individual level, people also feel the pressure to be more effective and efficient in delivering services with fewer resources.

Changing views on ITIL and PRINCE2 Training


There is increasing agreement that the Best Practice for delivery is ITIL, whilst the Best Practice for delivering new services into a live environment is likely to be based on a project methodology – and PRINCE2 aligns closely with ITIL.

Learning ITIL is not about IT anymore – it is about the delivery of services. PRINCE2 is not just about delivering large-scale government projects. There is a misconception that using PRINCE2 in smaller organisations is like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. That is not the case at all.

The PRINCE2 manual focuses on tailoring. Even if the organisation is only five-strong, PRINCE2 can be relevant if it is tailored to that organisation's needs.

Organisations have realised that the group of experts who used to be sidelined as IT 'geeks' are now the people at the forefront of the business. They require an understanding of customer service, who the customer is and the business case for any project. The added benefit to those experts on an individual level is that a blended understanding of ITIL and PRINCE2 will also likely create more significant career progression opportunities.

ITIL and PRINCE2 Certifications Go Together

ITIL or PRINCE2 can, of course, support service delivery alone, but a combination of both is ideal for full-service delivery in a live environment. PRINCE2 focuses on the delivery of products, and ITIL focuses on the delivery of services. However, businesses rarely want to deliver a product with no service element.


One of the significant differences between the two approaches is that PRINCE2 is a methodology, and ITIL is a framework. PRINCE2 mandates certain product delivery elements, including stage reports and measurement documentation. In contrast, ITIL is less prescriptive and offers suggestions for Best Practice approaches rather than mandating activities.

When students complete PRINCE2 Foundation, they realise that its strength is that it formalises the documentation needed to deliver the product. ITIL's power is flexibility and adaptability. And it is almost modular. It is not necessary to adopt the entire service lifecycle within ITIL to successfully deliver the service. ITIL is all about adapting and adopting the parts that will support project success. ITIL asks questions about the business's nature and the customer's vision.

Suppose the organisation is not clear about what it is trying to achieve with the services it delivers to customers. In that case, ensuring that the services provided are practical and efficient will be challenging.

Individuals can improve service delivery by choosing and using either PRINCE2 or ITIL. However, using the two approaches in tandem holds a much better prospect of successful service introduction. Those looking to create the right mix of ITIL and PRINCE2 skills can start by applying the principles of ITIL.

Improvement Without Compromise

The two Best Practice approaches become symbiotic. ITIL does not cover project management, but it can help identify areas for improvement before PRINCE2 can step in and support the delivery of the planned improvements. PRINCE2 Best Practice comes into play by setting targets for where you want the organisation to get to before helping to determine how you will get there. It is an instrumental methodology to help improve what you are delivering and, just as importantly, be able to measure that you have succeeded.

But is a combined ITIL and PRINCE2 approach right for you? Is it worth investing your time and money? As a starting point, here are some key questions to ask yourself:

  1. What do I do well?

  2. What don't I don't do so well?

  3. What is the gap between the two skills requirements and knowledge?

  4. How can I bridge that gap? And what learning format will work best for me and my work schedule? For example, e-learning allows me to learn at my own pace and from a remote location, or perhaps in a classroom/workshop environment or a bit of both.

  5. Does my employer understand the benefits?

Maximise ITIL value with PRINCE2 training

ITIL and PRINCE2 are registered trademarks of AXELOS. Axelos works closely with its certification partner, PeopleCert, to manage and accredit the PRINCE2 Agile certification, often in conjunction with accredited training partners like DDLS.


PeopleCert is one of the leading players in the global certification industry, partnering with multinational organisations and government bodies to develop and manage globally recognised certification schemes. PeopleCert has delivered millions of exams in over 150 countries.

DDLS is the largest corporate IT and process training provider in Australia, with campuses in New Zealand and the Philippines. We have been delivering Project Management training courses since 1999 for the IT industry and top 100 ASX corporations.

Interactive training and workshops provide a solid foundation in the concepts, tools and techniques of Project Management and IT Service Management. And with DDLS Anywhere, students can choose to undertake these studies on-site or online – allowing flexible delivery to suit their personal needs and schedule.

Access our guide to project management frameworks to learn about which one can support you as a leader in sustainability. You can also download our eBook on ITIL and IT Service Management. You can also enquire with us about a project management course or ask about our ITSM courses today.



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