Have you heard of PRINCE2?
If you are living in the UK, Europe or Australia you then the most probable answer is yes. However, if you are based in North America or the Middle East, it is less likely that you have heard of it.
In short PRINCE2 is a project management qualification like the PMP but more famous in the UK, Europe, and Australia.
Although there are many differences between the PMP and PRINCE2, both certifications are there to help project managers to complete projects successfully.
I heard of PRINCE2 when I was attending my PMP exam training. My trainer was also a PRINCE2 qualified trainer and had helped many professionals to become PRINCE2 qualified.
After completing the training I never paid much attention to it. However these days I am noticing that more and more people have started taking an interest in this qualification and a few of them have contacted me as well.
Since I did not write any posts on this topic, I usually referred them to other resources. This approach was okay but not ideal because some of them came back to me with further questions.
So it became like a loop and I was facing a problem. So I researched the topic and decided to write a complete blog post on PRINCE2 qualifications to answer some basic questions.
If you are PRINCE2 qualified, I request that you share your experiences and thoughts on the process through the comments section so we can all benefit.
Okay, let’s get started.
What is PRINCE2
PRINCE2 stands for PRojects IN Controlled Environments, and it is owned by AXELOS. AXELOS is a joint venture between the UK government and Capita Plc.
PRINCE was derived from PROMPT (Project Resource Organisation Management Planning Techniques) which was a project management methodology developed by Simpact System Ltd in 1975. In 1979 the CCTA (Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency) started using it in all government IT projects.
In 1989 the CCTA established PRINCE, and later the CCTA was renamed the OGC (Office of Government Commerce).
In 1996 PRINCE2 was published after consultation from more than 150 European organizations.
Now PRINCE2 is more versatile and comprehensive.
PRINCE2 provides you with the methodology to complete the project with minimal hassle, and it even helps you define the role of the project manager and team members as well.
Now let me give you an overview of the PRINCE2 elements, principles, themes, and processes.
PRINCE2 is composed of four elements:
- Custom Tailoring to the Project Environment
The PRINCE2 methodology is based on seven principles:
- Continued Business Justification
- Learn from Experience
- Defined Roles and Responsibilities
- Manage by Stages
- Manage by Exception
- Focus on Products
- Tailor to the Project Environment
Like principles, PRINCE2 has seven themes as well. The themes concern the aspects which should be addressed throughout the project. These seven themes are as follows:
- Business Case Theme
- Organization Theme
- Quality Theme
- Plans Theme
- Risk Theme
- Change Theme
- Progress Theme
The processes define who is responsible for performing themes at different points of the project. PRINCE2 has seven processes:
- Starting up a Project
- Directing a Project
- Initiating a Project
- Controlling a Stage
- Managing Product Delivery
- Managing Stage Boundary
- Closing a Project
Also, note that since every project is unique so you must tailor and customize the theme and processes to suit your project’s needs.
Benefits of PRINCE2
PRINCE2 offers you many benefits, and some of which are outlined below.
Provides You with Methodology
This is the most important benefit of PRINCE2.
PRINCE2 provides you with methodology to complete the project. This methodology has a theme and processes which guide you with regards to why, how and whom. You can customize the theme according to your project requirements.
Not only methodology, it even provides you with pre-made templates which can be very useful for various project management related activities.
This is something that the PMBOK does not provide you with; it provides you with the framework or the “how” part of the project.
The principles of PRINCE2 are universal in nature so you can apply them to any size or any kind of project. It does not matter whether it is small or large, or whether it is a construction project, IT project, or a product development project.
Management by Exception
PRINCE2 uses management by exception. This means as long as the issue is below the tolerance limit, the project manager will manage it; however as the issue crosses the tolerance limit, it becomes an exception.
In this case higher management will intervene and come to rescue the project manager.
PRINCE2 is globally recognized and developed by professionals throughout the world. You will be more confident and more likely to complete the project successfully.
It brings you to a common platform, and allows you to sync your knowledge with the best industry practices and hence you will be in control.
Of course the PRINCE2 qualification is globally recognized, and having it on your resume will greatly increases its weight.
For many UK government contracts, PRINCE2 is mandatory and you cannot apply for these jobs unless you are PRINCE2 qualified.
How to Become PRINCE2 Qualified
Becoming PRINCE2 qualified is different than becoming PMP certified.
Throughout the process of getting your PMP certification you directly deal with the PMI. You apply for the exam, pay them, attend the exam and get the certification.
However, it is different in the case of PRINCE2.
To become PRINCE2 qualified you need to contact the PRINCE2 training providers. They provide you with the training and conduct the exam.
After successfully completing the exam, you will be PRINCE2 qualified.
PRINCE2 offers three qualification levels:
- PRINCE2 Foundation
- PRINCE2 Practitioner
- PRINCE2 Re-Registration
This is the basic level qualification from PRINCE2. Here you can learn the basics of the PRINCE2 methodology and terminology.
Anyone can acquire this qualification.
No experience or education prerequisites are mandatory for this qualification.
The exam consists of 75 multiple choice questions, and the score of 5 questions is not counted towards the final score.
The duration is 60 minutes and you must get 50% to pass the exam; i.e. 35 questions right out of 70.
It is a closed book exam.
This qualification never expires; it will be valid forever.
If you are an experienced project manager, and are managing projects in a PRINCE2 environment, you can try to obtain your PRINCE2 Practitioner qualification.
This qualification will give you an in-depth understanding of the relationships between the PRINCE2 elements, principles, themes, etc.
To apply for the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam you must have passed any of the certifications listed below:
- PRINCE2 Foundation
- Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
- Project Management Professional (PMP)
- IPMA Level A (Certified Projects Director)
- IPMA Level B (Certified Senior Project Manager)
- IPMA Level C (Certified Project Manager)
- IPMA Level D (Certified Project Management Associate)
You can attempt this qualification if you are a project manager, program manager, project management consultant, project team member, etc.
The exam consists of multiple choice questions. There will be 8 sets and each set will have 10 questions worth one mark. The duration of the exam will be two and half hours and you must get 44 questions right on the exam, or 55% to pass it.
This is an open book exam which allows you to use the official PRINCE2 manual; i.e. “Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2”. You must understand this manual if you want to become PRINCE2 qualified.
The PRINCE2 Practitioner qualification is valid for 5 years. To renew your qualification, you will have to pass another exam called “PRINCE2 Re-Registration” within 3 to 5 years.
In order to maintain your PRINCE2 Practitioner qualification, you must pass the Re-Registration exam within 3 to 5 years of passing the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam.
Failing to do so will withdraw your PRINCE2 Practitioner status.
The PRINCE2 Re-Registration exam consists of 30 questions in three sets and each question is worth one mark.
The duration of the exam is one hour and you must get 17 questions or 55% to pass the exam.
This is an open book exam which allows you to use the official PRINCE2 manual.
How the PRINCE2 Exam is Conducted
The PRINCE2 exam is conducted by many ATOs (Accredited Training Organization) under a controlled environment.
To become an ATO, a training provider has to be accredited with any of the following examinee institutes. These examinee institutes are certified by AXELOS to offer the PRINCE2 exam.
As of now AXELOS has five Strategic Examinee Institutes:
- Acquiros (formerly known as CSME)
- APMG International
- BCS, Learning & Development Ltd
You have two options to become PRINCE2 qualified:
- Get trained with any ATO, attempt the exam under their supervision and become PRINCE2 qualified.
- Do self-study, attempt the exam under their supervision and become qualified.
Training is not mandatory but it is recommended.
The PRINCE2 exam is based on the official PRINCE2 Manual “Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2® 2009 Edition”.
You must study this official manual to pass the exam. Along with this manual you may need to refer to some other study materials as well.
Will there be PRINCE3?
PRINCE was launched in 1989, and at that time the focus was on IT projects.
There was a need to make it more universal so it could be used in other industries as well.
Therefore, PRINCE2 was launched in 1996, which is universal in nature and can be used in any project regardless of industry.
After that there were a few updates to it; the most recent one was in 2009 but it was still PRINCE2. Keep in mind that the launch of PRINCE2 was necessary because PRINCE was based on IT projects and it was necessary to develop a methodology whose principles could be applied universally.
Moreover, even if it is decided to launch a new version, there will be many expenses such as branding, producing training material, enforcing qualification to the new version, etc. The costs involved in this process do not outweigh the benefits.
So in a nutshell, there is a no plan to launch PRINCE3.
Should I Get My PRINCE2 Qualification?
I will say yes – at least the foundation qualification, even if you live in a country where the PRINCE2 is not common and even if you hold another project management certification such as the PMP.
Please note that PRINCE2 is a globally recognized qualification and offers you many benefits which you may not get elsewhere.
It helps you in every stage of the project life cycle, and it gives you everything to run and complete the project including templates.
If you are interested in obtaining your PRINCE2 qualification, I recommend you start with the PRINCE2 Foundation qualification.
There are many training providers offering this course, however I suggest you join GreyCampus’s online PRINCE2 Foundation course by clicking the link given below.
Although the cost of this course is a little high, you can get a 50% discount using coupon code PMSC. The offer is valid until January 31st, 2017.
GreyCampus is certified by PEOPLECERT as an Accredited Training Organization (ATO) for the PRINCE2® Foundation Qualification training and exam. They are also a PMI approved REP as well. So if you are a PMP and join this course, you can also claim 35 PDUs towards your PMP CCR Cycle.
PRINCE2 is one of the world’s leading qualifications for professionals engaged in project management activities. Its principles are universal and can be used on any type of project. It provides you with methodologies, templates and everything that you will need to complete projects with better control. It even defines the roles of each team member as well.
So if you are serious about your profession, you should consider becoming PRINCE2 qualified.
Here is where this blog post on PRINCE2 ends. If you have something to share, you can do so through the comments section.