PRINCE2 and APMP – Confusion!

Latest survey results from Arras People’s birthday celebrations show a confusing picture in the world of project management qualifications and accreditations. I know there is already confusion in terms of which ones are the most recognised, most requested, most likely to get you a job etc however see what you make of this:

We asked the question ‘Which of the following qualifications do you believe is the best indicator of a competent Project Manager?’

The Association for Project Management (APM) takes the lead with the APMP, followed by PRINCE2 and then the Project Management Institute’s PMP. Clearly in the UK at least, the APMP, as voted for by project management professionals, is an indicator that you know what you’re doing when it comes to performing a project management role.

We then asked a second question, “Do you have any of the following accreditations?”  Now what we should be expecting to see is the APMP up there as the most popular, after all, our project management professionals believe it is the preferred way of conveying to the marketplace that they know what they’re doing when it comes to managing projects.

No wonder the project management industry gets called out for being a bit confusing when you consider these results:

That’s right, only 7% of our project management practitioners have the APMP! PRINCE2 is still the dominant force in what project management practitioners chose to do with 65% of them having the accreditation. Yet only 24% believe that PRINCE2 is a good indicator of a competent project manager. So what do we think is happening here?

There has been a great debate in recent weeks on the APM Linked In group with the question being posted, “Today I was contacted by a recruitment agency and they told me my APMP wasn’t valued. Recruiters want to see PRINCE2 instead. I was baffled! Anyone else had this feedback!” the lively debate still continues today. The results above tell me that whilst we recognise that accreditations like APMP and PMP are valued by the practitioner unfortunately the message hasn’t yet got across to the wider industry like recruiters, hiring managers and HR departments. Project practitioners are responding to what they see happening in the marketplace – that PRINCE2 is often the major requirement over and above anything else – so if that’s what the market wants who are we to deny them. Yet project practitioners really should be taking care to make sure that the only career development they’re doing is the one which benefits the marketplace and not themselves. Isn’t it time project management professionals started thinking about number 1?


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  1. This survey does not unfortunately surprise me! i must have spent many hours over the years talking with people about the various qualifications in the project management world. So many people are perplexed and frankly, I am at times.
    It’s time for the qualifications to be rationalised however I wonder…in my life time? Too many vested interests….

  2. I just want to add to Lindsay’s post that from APMG’s perspective, we would never advocate that someone who has a Foundation or Practitioner PRINCE2 qualification has demonstrated they are a competent project manager. We believe that the differing certifications are complementary. Here’s a link to a blog post by our chairman on this subject.
    If your readers would like to talk to us in person about this issue they are welcome to attend, and they can see Arras People there too.

  3. Thanks for the comments and information, Kate, and thank you for your perspective, Ron.

    The debate Lindsay mentions on the APM LinkedIn group page regarding recruiters and a better understanding of PM certifications premiered three months ago. 67 comments later, the discussion continues without any real feel that anyone’s being superfluous or repetitive, or even that the discussion isn’t without a new angle or tangent to consider. This thread has life three months later. Altogether, it is very fascinating to watch it unfold, IMHO.

    Likewise, we at the Arras People LinkedIn group have indeed noticed the tiff between APM and PMI in recent weeks regarding Chartership. Ron, Kate: You are most welcome to drop some knowledge to our debate on the disagreement. We look forward to hearing from you –

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