Land of a Thousand Posts: 2007 – PRINCE2 & Grumpy Old Man


How to Manage a Camel, the official project management & recruitment issues blog of Arras People, is closing in on a milestone: we’re closing in on our 1,000th blog post.

The Camel has been in operation since September 2006, and we opened up our post account for 2007 with first of 29 posts for the year with VM – Value Management and PM “Project Management – Cost Savings & More for your Money & Time”. And as we began to find our stride in the blogosphere, our voice became more confident, as expertise and knowledge of our domain went on display in a more regular fashion.

Some information from one of our best posts from 2007 by John Thorpe

A fisherman at One Thousand Island Lake pulls out an August 2007 blog post about PRINCE2 by our own John Thorpe. Background image courtesy king damus @Flickr, re-used with permission

What was going down in 2007?

  • Gordon Brown earned the ultimate promotion in UK politics, becoming prime minister 27 June.
  • A draft Climate Change Bill was published, outlining a framework for achieving a mandatory 60% cut in carbon emissions by 2050.
  • Despite MG Rover’s bankruptcy declaration two years earlier, a scaled-down Longbridge car factory re-opened in Birmingham.
  • The UK’s largest non-London building was completed – the Beetham Tower, Manchester, which stands at 168 meters, 47 storeys.

As for this blog? Undoubtedly the most talked about post from that year highlighted a growing frustration many in PPM were having with the lax testing standards of the unofficial “standard certification” for project management. From 31 August 2007, John Thorpe did not belieeeeeeeeeeeeeeve it when wrote the following in PRINCE2 Meets the Grumpy Old Man!

Is it really true, am I going all Victor Meldrew in my old age? I really can not help myself having seen the latest output from the PRINCE2 website regarding the changes to the exam.

The document, available at www.prince2.org.uk/nmsruntime/saveasdialog.asp?lID=1142&sID=365 is an amazing read, explaining why the prestigious and much sought after qualification is now to be an “Objective Testing Exam” or in old currency multiple choice!

Now don’t get me wrong, I have not accused anybody of “dumbing down”, the changes of course are to make them more acceptable to the growing international market, oh, and of course, to bring a significant time reduction in delivering results to candidates! Now in my day a product that was aimed at an international audience would be “localised” to meet the local market requirements not changed at source to accommodate international requirements!

I am being naïve here or just suffering the Meldrews? Ok, so it’s being changed to speed up the results for the candidates, ah, customer focussed, just what we all want to hear! Oh no, Meldrew’s strike again, am I being cynical or has the monster grown to big and now we need a computer to mark the papers so that the cash cow can be milked?

And finally, yes “there will be very little writing involved so therefore the exam will be easier for those unused to writing for extended periods of time.”

Make your own opinion, but I would love to see their PID!

Since then, we’ve delved into PRINCE2 frequently here at the Camel. To wit:

  • 26 February 2009′s Project Management Guidance – The Lowdown: “The process model has become slightly simplified, but the real improvement with the PRINCE2: 2009 Refresh comes from the introduction of key themes and supporting information on techniques. For many the downside of PRINCE2® has been the lack of guidance on how to initiate the project, how to create the plan etc, here’s hoping this section lives up to expectation.”
  • 19 June 2009′s PRINCE:2009 Twitter Hour – Live with Andy Murray: ARRAS: Do you think PRINCE2:2009 Practitioners will be seen as more favourable than PRINCE2 Practitioners?” MURRAY: “The foundation/practitioner certificates do not distinguish between the PRINCE2 version the exam is based on. It is my opinion that the improvements to PRINCE2 2009 will help practitioners deliver better projects.”
  • 27 October 2010′s A Princely Mess!: “Whilst some significant high profile projects have already been scrapped by the new Government (ID Cards, BSF, E Borders & Nimrod) it would appear that there are still a significant number which are steaming ahead; the problem, as Pitchford pointed out is ‘nobody in the UK Government seems to know how many projects they have on the books, nor how much these are likely to cost!‘”
  • 13 June 2012′s PRINCE2 Professional: “PRINCE2 Professional is a practical, hands-on take…giving candidates the chance to put their knowledge into action in front of trained evaluators, who will award points based on 19 separate core competencies. The assessment is not an examination but a kind of running group interview, with assessors watching candidates apply PRINCE2 methodology and ideas to a variety of case-studies, essays, team exercises & role-playing tasks.”

What caught your eye about project management in 2007? What has changed for you since then? Heck, while we’re on about it today: what do you think of PRINCE2 at the moment? Talk with us about it, either here or at our LinkedIn Group today.

Background image courtesy king damus @Flickr, re-used with permission

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Lindsay Scott

About Lindsay Scott

Director of Arras People, the programme and project management recruitment specialists. You can find out more about Arras People and follow me on Twitter and Google