Last month I was invited to participate in an APM roundtable discussion on the future of project management qualifications, the discussion will be published in the May edition of Project magazine. I jumped at the chance to join in, partially because I was interested to meet others who were passionate about the subject and listen to what they’ve got to say but also because I’ve been despairing at the PRINCE2 dominant world we’ve come to live in (especially over the last 3-4 years) and wanted to know how we’re going to “fix” this.
I actually came up with a little phrase during the roundtable discussion; “the PRINCE2 juggernaut” because to me, that’s what it feels like, an unstoppable machine that keeps churning out PRINCE2 Practitioners. I’ve also been witness to over the last few years of an ever increasing number of people who want to be project managers and yes, you guessed it, they’ve just taken their PRINCE2 exams and are now ready to find a job as a project manager. Arrrgghh!
We also get a number of calls every week from people looking to get into project management, asking the question “If I take my PRINCE2, will it be easy for me to find a job in project management?”. I also ask the question back, “So why do you think PRINCE2 will enable you to get a job as a project manager?” Invariably the answers are normally “because that’s what all the job specifications ask for, therefore it must be the de facto standard for project management” (OK so it’s not always put as eloquently as that!). What normally follows is me having to briefly describe PRINCE2 as just being one methodology, one way to run a project and what it doesn’t give you is the “how” of project management i.e., how to put together a schedule, how to put together a risk management plan etc
In other words, we end up talking about the APM courses and qualifications because in the UK these are the best for learning the how, and are definitely the ones to do (the Introduction Certificate and APMP) if you are relatively new to project management. But, invariably people have already spent their money on the PRINCE2 course and now I’m saying well, you know, you should have spent it on this instead! It actually makes me feel bad for them because in a way they’ve been won over by the PRINCE2 juggernaut marketing machine and not got the right advice at the right time.
So, I was quite surprised when I received a new whitepaper from OGC called “APMP for PRINCE2 Practitioners” (PDF). Written by Graham Williams, it’s main purpose is to; “explain why any individual who has the PRINCE2 Practitioner qualification, or any organization which employs PRINCE2 Practitioners, should consider the merits of the APMP qualification“. Now this is interesting, it is the first time I have seen anyone attempt to provide a clear distinction between the two and more importantly it comes from OGC, the home of PRINCE2.
The key point here is that whilst PRINCE2 provides a step-wise framework within which its themes are applied, it does not describe the detailed techniques and leadership capabilities that will need to be applied during the project lifecycle for the project to be successful. Also, whereas PRINCE2 explains what needs to be done, the APM Body of Knowledge provides more guidance to how it is done.
The whitepaper goes on to give a clear distinction between the two; taking important areas like risk, change, business case etc and also highlighting which core competencies are not even covered by PRINCE2
There is also a “APMP for PRINCE2 Practitioners” book available, which dropped on to my desk this week. “The purpose of this publication is to provide a study guide for PRINCE2 Practitioners to prepare for the APMP examination. It describes and explains the APMP topics in the context of PRINCE2, and at the end of each chapter there are several sample questions to help you prepare for the APMP examination”
So it looks like this might be the solution for all those PRINCE2 Practitioners out there that need to continue studying to gain more knowledge in the mechanics of project management, the how of project management. The APMP for PRINCE2 is especially suitable for PRINCE2 Practitioners that don’t actually have any experience yet of managing projects but would like to pursue project management as a career path. Of course, you could just take the APMP course, but I think this is a great way to learn the core competencies of project management whilst building on what you already know from your PRINCE2 Practitioner studies.
It mentions in the whitepaper, near the end, about what individuals could do next; enrol on a APMP course, self study for the APMP exam or enrol on an Open University module which covers the APMP syllabus.
I think there will be more news shortly about an APMP for PRINCE2 Practitioners course, watch this space.
Image © graymalkn and used with permission.