PRINCE2 or PMP?

This week the Camel features posts related to PRINCE2. We kick off with the basics.

Students often ask me which methodology is most useful in a project management environment. So I’ve attempted to answer this below…


What’s in a name?

First, let’s look at the acronyms:

PRINCE® stands for Projects in Controlled Environments. The most common PRINCE2 qualifications are Foundation and Practitioner.

PMI® stands for the Project Management Institute. The Institute publishes the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK). The qualification that is most commonly sought is PMP (Project Management Professional)


A tale of two countries

PRINCE2 is part of a suite of products originally developed by the Office of Government Commerce in the UK. PMI qualifications have their origins in the USA. This has led to PRINCE2 becoming the standard in the UK, with a strong presence in Europe, Australia and other countries outside North America. In North America, PMI qualifications remain the most popular.


What’s the real difference?

PRINCE2 is concerned with the framework in which to manage projects – a methodology. The PMP focuses on the skills and knowledge required by the Project Manager to manage the project through the lifecycle. You would actually benefit from having knowledge of both, providing a more rounded approach to project management. In an ideal world, all Project Managers would hold both qualifications, but students often choose one or the other.


So which to choose?

When considering which qualifications to take, you may be concerned with how each will enhance your employment prospects. Taking a quick look through the Arras People job board its easy to see that most advertisements carry the need for a PRINCE2 qualification over and above mention of the PMP.

However, different industries often favour one accreditation over another. So it’s worth considering which industry you’re targeting. The routes to entry for both qualifications are also substantially different. To apply for the PMP, students need to have either:

  • A four-year degree (bachelor’s or equivalent) and at least three years’ project management experience. With 4,500 hours leading and directing projects, and 35 hours of project management education. Or;
  • A secondary diploma (high school or equivalent) with at least five years’ project management experience. With 7,500 hours leading and directing projects, and 35 hours of project management education.

There are no prerequisites to sit the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam, although it is recommended that students have some knowledge of working in a project environment and attend a training course before attempting it.

In an ideal world a qualification like the PMP would be achieved first, creating a solid foundation on which to build and adding methodology training when the time is right.

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