Today, over a million project managers use PRINCE2 in countries all over the world in public and private sector projects. It’s attention to rigor and good governance make it a popular standard for many organizations.
This is one of our giant guides, in which we aim to answer all your basic question – in this case, about PRINCE2 and PRINCE2 Certification.
Your main questions, of course, will be:
So, here is what you can expect to find:
Let’s start with a video I made in autumn 2016, that answers the basic question, ‘what is PRINCE2?’
PRINCE2 is one of the most widely-used project management methodologies. Its owners boast over 1 million users in over 150 countries. And, it deserves to be widely used. Its emphasis on rigor and good governance makes it ideal for critical projects.
The UK Government developed PRINCE2 to improve the control of public sector projects. And it remains compulsory for projects that spend public money in the UK to use PRINCE2.
But now a wide range of organizations in all industries and sectors use it. And not just in the UK: PRINCE2 is used world-wide.
Also, PRINCE2 is highly flexible. You can adapt its principles and processes to manage successful projects
And, if your need is Agile, then PRINCE2 also offers a solution: PRINCE2 Agile.
PRINCE2 is managed by a commercial company called AXELOS. AXELOS is a joint venture company, formed in 2013 and co-owned by:
AXELOS manages and develops the Global Best Practice portfolio that the Cabinet Office used to take responsibility for. The portfolio includes:
Before the Cabinet Office, these methodologies were managed by the Office for Government Commerce (OGC), and earlier still, the original toolsets were created by the Central Computing and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA).
PRINCE currently stands for PRojects IN a Controlled Environment. But this was not always the case
At first, the original methodology was called PROMPT (Project Resource Organisation Management Planning Techniques). In 1989, the CCTA adapted PROMPT II to create UK Government’s standard for IT (information technology systems) project management. They gave it the name ‘PRINCE’, which originally stood for ‘PROMPT II IN the CCTA Environment’.
They later ran a competition to find a better meaning for the PRINCE acronym. First, they chose ‘PRojects IN Controlled Environments’. Then, in 2009 they revised it to its current meaning ‘PRojects IN a Controlled Environment’.
As a result of its flexibility, t
PRINCE was updated to PRINCE2 in 1996. Now, it was a generic project management method, that has become a de facto standard for project management in UK Government departments. It is also widely used in the United Nations (UN).
There have been two major revisions of PRINCE2 since its launch in 1996.
There are currently two levels of PRINCE2 certification:
You will learn enough to work as part of a project team delivering within a PRINCE2 environment. It is an entry-level qualification that doesn’t require any previous knowledge or experience.
To be eligible to sit the PRINCE2 Practitioner examination, you will need a PRINCE2 Foundation certification.
However, AXELOS will also recognize* prior learning and achievements that the following qualifications represent:
* As long as you can provide documentary proof to the Examination Institute (EI) that their qualification remains current.
For full details of these pre-requisites, read the AXELOS Guide: ‘PRINCE® pre-recognition of qualifications‘.
In addition, you may also have heard of the PRINCE2 Professional Level. This was the most advanced qualification in the PRINCE2 family. The examination was by a residential assessment center over several days. It was available for a short time from 2012, but it is no longer available.
The full PRINCE
This is Published by The Stationery Office. If you go for the print edition and also have a copy of PMI’s shockingly poor print edition of the PMBoK 6th Edition, this will seem like a refreshingly good quality of printing.
The main features of the PRINCE2 methodology are designed to encourage good governance and control, through:
Therefore, the PRINCE2 methodology consists of four elements:
There are seven Principles to PRINCE2 2017. Together, they give you a powerful framework for good practice. Indeed, they are all mandatory parts of a PRINCE2 project:
The seven Themes cover what you should manage within your project. They are the disciplines, or knowledge areas, of Project Management. You will set them up at the start of your
The PRINCE2 2017 methodology 7 processes by which you can run your project. And, as project manager, you will oversee all of them.
Finally, the last principle is to ‘Tailor to suit the Project Environment’. Apply the right amount of planning, control, and governance to suit the needs fo the project, and the organization within which it sits.
Your considerations will include:
AXELOS produces a ‘Common Glossary’ of terms used within the PRINCE2 and related methodologies. You can download it from their website.
We’ll break this down into two parts. The value for:
Many employers value a PRINCE2 certification highly. The methodology is a de-facto standard for project management in the UK public sector and many companies. It is also practiced worldwide, especially in European and Commonwealth countries.
The qualification will improve your skills but it will not teach you project management. If you have had no training, we recommend you take one of our Core Programs first.
But once you know the basics of project management, PRINCE2 certification can improve both your confidence and your employment prospects. Most of all, many organizations, both private and public, use PRINCE2, and some require it. So, their staff
For organizations, PRINCE2 offers a strong focus on governance, accountability, and control. So, this means it can give an organization’s projects:
AXELOS publishes a free tool that will help you make the business case for the value of PRINCE2 to your organization.
It is easy to see PRINCE2 and the PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP) qualification as in some way competing. This would be an inaccurate characterization. This is exacerbated by the global geographical split between where the two qualifications are most popular:
But the truth is that they complement one another. You can gain benefit from either
One helpful way to think of the difference between the two is this:
Many companies and practitioners focus their processes and learning on one approach. But, the more tools you have in your toolbag, the more flexibility you have to solve problems and fix things. Depending on your project environment, geographical location, and
We’ll look at three areas:
There are three main resources you will need, to prepare well for your exams:
It’s a difficult exam, but if you prepare well and have experience with the objective testing format, you will be going into the exam with a high chance of success.
30 minutes of extra time is available if you are not taking the exam in your their mother tongue or the language you use in your workplace every day.
Lastly, let me emphasize something here: the answers are in the book. Everything you need to know is in ‘Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2’ (US|UK). This is like the CAPM exam, where everything is in the PMBoK. But it is unlike the PMP exam, where some of the questions are drawn from other documents like the Code of Ethics.
If you take the PRINCE2 Foundation exam only, and pass, you will get your Foundation examination certificate. But, if you take both the Foundation and Practitioner exam on the same day, and pass both, you will only get a Practitioner examination certificate.
Once you have your PRINCE2 Practitioner certificate is valid for three years, at the end of which you can either re-sit the Practitioner exam or you can maintain your certificate through My PRINCE2. There are more details on the AXELOS website.
We do not have space to go into details, but AXELOS also offers two tiers of accreditation against a complementary methodology: PRINCE2 Agile. This serves people working in on Agile projects in a PRINCE2 environment, or people who work in an Agile environment and want the rigor and good governance that PRINCE2 offers.
PRINCE2 Agile is for PRINCE2 Project Managers who need to be able to tailor PRINCE2 to an agile context or environment.
It lets practitioners combine
PRINCE2 Agile claims to be the world’s most complete agile project management solution. It was developed to meet demand from user communities, to help professionals tailor management controls to an agile environment.
PRINCE2 Agile is also available as two certifications: Foundation Level and Practitioner Level.
Are you PRINCE2 certified? O have you chosen not to? Or maybe you are considering it. Please leave your comments or questions below, and we’ll respond to all contributions.
We are. So, please check out our PRINCE2 Pinterest Board.
Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.
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