PMI’s Project Management Professional – or PMP – and PRINCE2 are two of the most sought-after project management certifications. But what are the differences and how do you choose?
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PMP & PRINCE2
First, PMP stands for Project Management Professional. It is the principal qualification of the Project Management Institute. Organizations around the world recognize it as a benchmark for solid professional project management skills.
And second, PRINCE2 is a project management methodology that arose in the UK public sector. Its primary focus is on strong governance. PRINCE2 certifications carry an assurance that holders understand the basics of a rigorous PM approach.
PMP & PRINCE2: Who are they for?
The PMP is designed for Project Managers to demonstrate a high level of Project Management knowledge and experience. The pre-requisite experience requirement is high (at 36 months of experience leading projects if you are a full graduate or 60 months if you have a diploma level education). That said, I am convinced that not every candidate could really justify their claimed experience!
PMP is valued globally – and most strongly in organizations and in countries that look to the United States, where the PMP is based. PMI intend PMP to be equally value in all areas of Project Management.
PRINCE2 is designed for Project Managers who want to lead projects with a high level of accountability and strong governance. It was created to serve the needs of the UK public sector for rigorous processes and a high confidence that these are accountable to the public.
There are two tiers of certification. The lower, PRINCE2 Foundation tier, has no pre-requisites and is open to all current and aspiring project managers. The PRINCE2 Practitioner certification has requirements based on a range of certifications. There are no experience requirements.
PRINCE2 is also valued globally, but mainly in the UK, British Commonwealth, and northern Europe. It is mostly used in environments like the public and not-for-profit sectors where good governance is an important priority.
PMP & PRINCE2: The Nature of the Approach
Both the PMP and PRINCE2 certifications are intended to be methodology agnostic, in the sense that practitioners can apply the core knowledge to Predictive, Agile, and Hybrid projects. Yet, both originate in traditional predictive project management.
PMP has made a big move in recent years. The syllabus has become wider and more decoupled from the PMI’s Project Management Bogy of Knowledge, the PMBOK Guide. And that guide has also changed to be far less prescriptive about how we manage our projects.
Take a look at my video, Top 10 Things to Know about PMBOK 7 – the 7th Edition of the Project Management Body of Knowledge
Instead it is based much more on principles. To pass the PMP, you will need a good working knowledge of both predictive and adaptive project management methods.
PRINCE2 is intended to apply equally to predictive and adaptive approaches. But, in truth, it remains heavy on methodology – and that methodology still feels pretty traditional. Indeed, there is a new PRINCE2 Agile methodology that comes with its own Foundation and Practitioner certifications.
I’ve done a video on What is PRINCE2 Agile? …and Does it Make Sense?.
PMP & PRINCE2: Syllabus
The PMP syllabus is set out in an Exam Content Outline, or ECO, which PMI updates every 4 years or so. The current one (mid 2023) was published in June 2019 and covers three domains of:
- – the human aspects of project management: communication, team leadership, stakeholder engagement
- – the core project management disciplines like scope, risk, budget, schedule, procurement, quality, and delivery management
- – a small part of the syllabus (8%) covering the external business environment, along with project compliance and benefits delivery
The PRINCE2 approach is founded on 7 Themes, 7 Processes, and 7 Principles. It is all contained within the book, Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2 , which I describe in my video, Top 10 Things to Know about Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2.
The PMP & PRINCE2 Exams
The PMP exam consists of 180 questions, over 230 minutes and two 10-minute breaks. Questions are a combination of multiple-choice, multiple responses, matching, hot area, and limited fill-in-the-blank.
The PRINCE2 Practitioner exam has 68 questions, over 150 minutes and is open book – you may use your copy of Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2.
For More on the Topic of PMP & PRINCE2…
Recommended Videos and Articles to Help with PMP
- What is a Project Management Professional (What is the PMP)? | Video
- PMP Certification: What You Need to Know [Complete Review]
- Introduction to the PMP Certification (Project Management Professional) with Cornelius Fichtner
- How to Pass Your PMP Exam [Project Management Professional] | Video
- 2021 PMP Exam: For Candidates – All the Facts You Need to Know
- New PMP Certification Exam: Discussion with Markus Kopko | Video
- PMP or CAPM? What You Need to Know about the Differences
Recommended Videos and Articles to Help with PRINCE2
- What is PRINCE2? | Video
- An Introduction to PRINCE2 with Frank Turley, ‘the PRINCE2 Guy’ | Video
- PRINCE2 Certification: Everything You Need to Know
- Top 10 Things to Know about Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2
- Management Plaza PRINCE2 Course Review: How Good is it?
Our Recommendations for PMP & PRINCE2 Preparation Courses
- TOP PICK: PM PrepCast Online Self-paced PMP Training
- Alternative Style: GreyCampus Online Instructor-led PMP Training
- TOP PICKS: mPlaza PRINCE2 Foundation and PRINCE2 Practitioner Programs
- Alternative Style: GreyCampus Foundation and Foundation/Practitioner bundle programs
What Kit does a Project Manager Need?
I asked Project Managers in a couple of forums what material things you need to have, to do your job as a Project Manager. They responded magnificently. I compiled their answers into a Kit list. I added my own.
Note that the links are affiliated.
Learn Still More
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For more of our videos in themed collections, join our Free Academy of Project Management.