In this post, guest blogger Simplilearn explore just why PRINCE2 is the most popular project management certification in the UK.
There are several project management certifications out there in the market and most people aren’t sure of which certification course to take. Having said that, we think PRINCE2 has not received the due credit it deserves. PRINCE2 is a systematic set of guidelines that aims to enable managers rather than spoon feed them. People with a PRINCE2 certification are able to adapt to almost all situations and tend to deliver projects on time because the structure of this methodology anticipates all the possibilities of a project.
In this article, we highlight what PRINCE2 is, the types of PRINCE2 certifications, and why you ought to get certified in PRINCE2.
What is PRINCE2?
PRINCE2 (Projects in Controlled Environments) is a project management method and certification that aims to make projects easier to accomplish by dividing them into smaller, more manageable, stages. PRINCE2 was created in the UK and was the brainchild of the Cabinet Office. In 2013, the rights to this program were handed over to AXELOS, a joint venture of the Cabinet Office and the privately owned Capita.
Initially started by the UK government as a standard practice for Information Systems project management, its success soon pushed the government to adopt and scale it for other fields as well. Since then, PRINCE2 has become a de-facto standard project management across the UK and the rest of the world. Even the United Nations uses this methodology to manage its projects.
Types of PRINCE2 Certifications
PRINCE2 certifications take place in stages. The PRINCE2 foundation course is intended for beginners while the PRINCE2 practitioner course is intended for people who have been in the field for a while. Participants could also choose to take both the courses in one shot. Given below is a small introduction to the different levels of PRINCE2.
PRINCE2 Foundation – The PRINCE2 foundation exam is the first certification of the PRINCE2 series. In this level, professionals will learn the PRINCE2 methods, so they can work effectively with a PRINCE2 project management team. This certification is relevant to current or aspiring project managers and others who will be required to work with organizations that use PRINCE2.
In this certification exam, participants must be able to:
- Identify the 7 processes, themes, and principles of PRINCE2
- Map the relationship between the processes, deliverables, and roles of the stakeholders in a project
- Know what the major management products are and what they are used for
PRINCE2 Practitioner – The PRINCE2 practitioner exam is for those who are already in the process of managing projects. This certification aims to teach you how to apply PRINCE2 principles to real-life situations. This certification is relevant for anyone who wants to improve their understanding of project management.
In this certification exam, participants must be able to:
- Explain in detail the 7 principles, themes, and processes of PRINCE2
- Apply and understand the relationships between the principles, themes, and processes
- Identify the reasoning behind the principles, themes, and processes
- Apply the structure of PRINCE2 to project situations
PRINCE2 Agile – This is a single-tier practitioner certification. It is different from the PRINCE2 practitioner certification because it aims to train participants in Agile principles and their applications.
Who Issues the PRINCE2 Certification?
AXELOS is the PRINCE2 certification authority and provides the PRINCE2 certification. This certification is intended for professionals with little to no experience and wants to understand the underlying principles of successful project management.
Structure of PRINCE2
The PRINCE2 methodology consists of 7 principles, 7 themes, and 7 processes. These 3 models come together to detail and better execute a business plan.
PRINCE2 Exam and Certification Details
While the PRINCE2 exam and certification are certainly useful for anyone who is looking to become a project manager, very little is known about the certification and exam process. Here are some good-to-know facts about PRINCE2.
- Certification expiration period – The PRINCE2 Foundation and the PRINCE2 practitioner certifications don’t have an expiry date. However, if you are a PRINCE2 practitioner, then your status as a registered practitioner expires 3 years after getting certified. To get re-registered, you can take an exam within 3 years. The re-registration exam follows a different format than the certification exam. It is less intensive and is more concerned in updating participants on the latest PRINCE2 practices than testing them on already-tested principles. Additionally, you will also be required to maintain 20 CPDs (Continuing Professional Development) points each year to be eligible for the re-registration.
- Prerequisites for the PRINCE2 Foundation course – There are no prerequisites to fulfill when enrolling in a PRINCE2 foundation course. This is great for aspiring project managers with no prior experience. On the other hand, for people who want to get a PRINCE2 practitioner certification, they must first complete the PRINCE2 foundation certification before they can start this. Alternatively, professionals could also take a foundation and practitioner course and get certified in both levels at once.
- Cost – AXELOS does not conduct training sessions and instead has training partners. As a result, there are no standardized prices for a PRINCE2 course. The price depends on various factors, including where you live and the type of training provided. On average, a good PRINCE2 foundation course could cost you about £600, while a foundation and practitioner course could cost about £1000 – £1500.
- Duration of PRINCE2 Foundation course – While it may take longer to prepare, the average PRINCE2 foundation course lasts about 2-3 days (including the exam). For the PRINCE2 foundation and practitioner exam, the course could last about 5 – 6 days. This time period is purely indicative, people may take longer to prepare for their certification exam.
- Exam format – The exam formats for the PRINCE2 foundation and practitioner certification are different.
For the PRINCE2 foundation certification, the exam format consists of:
- 60 questions
- 55 pass marks; you have to get at least 33 points out of 60
- The duration of the exam is 60 minutes
The PRINCE2 Practitioner certification exam format consists of:
- 68 questions
- Each question is worth a mark
- A pass percentage of 55 is required to clear the paper; participants need to get at least 38 marks to clear the paper
- The exam lasts 2.5 hours (150 minutes) and no additional time is given to finish
- Unlike the foundation exam, this is an open book exam, which means you can bring your PRINCE2 manual (only) to the exam center with you
Reasons to do a PRINCE2 Certification
1. Industry Standard
PRINCE2 has been around for ages. This project management certification is backed by the UK government and even used by the UN systems. For those looking to gain a footing in the project management sector, this certification will help to carry them through the barriers.
2. More Employable
This goes without saying. It is easier for PRINCE2 certified professionals to get employed, especially when compared to their non-certified peers and when the organisation is specifically looking for those with the PRINCE2 certification. Certified PRINCE2 professionals have the backing of a well-respected certification board. Holding a PRINCE2 certification implies that you are well-versed in the knowledge necessary to implement a project of any scale successfully.
3. Doesn’t take too much time
The average PRINCE2 foundation course takes about 3 days to complete (including the exam), while the PRINCE2 practitioner course takes an additional 2-3 days to clear. Most people choose to take the PRINCE2 Practitioner and Foundation certifications together, which can be completed in 5 days. People looking to get certified in PRINCE2 will not have to put their lives on hold. They could choose to enroll in an online course or at worse, take a 5-day holiday to get certified.
4. Earn More Money
Certified PRINCE2 professionals can earn about £52,000 pounds a year and are highly valued throughout the globe. Professionals with this certification are not only well-paid but are also employable in a huge variety of industries and countries.
5. Doesn’t have arbitrary prerequisites
Project management certifications like PMP requires people to have about 7,500 hours of project management experience before they can get certified. Unfortunately, this sets a dangerous cycle. Most professionals cannot make the jump into the project management field without a certificate and now, as it turns out, they cannot get certified without any experience. PRINCE2, on the other hand, does not have any such requirements. As a result, this is the perfect certification for anyone who wants to become a project manager.
6. Open Global Doors
A PRINCE2 certification is well-recognized throughout the globe. Places like the UK, Netherlands, Australia, East and West Europe, and Commonwealth countries like India and China all use PRINCE2. As a result, a PRINCE2 certification can get you employment throughout the globe. This certification renders you potentially employable throughout the globe.
7. Higher Success Rates for Projects
The PRINCE2 methodology of project management operates on a systematic basis. At its centre lies the belief that a project has a chance at higher success if it is broken down into smaller, more manageable stages. PRINCE2 also believes that when members of a project are aware of their roles and responsibilities in a project, there will be operational transparency and accountability, which lead to a project’s success. As a result, projects implemented using PRINCE2 tend to have a higher success rate than others.
8. Work on Projects of a Larger Size
PRINCE2 is completely scalable. This means you can adapt these principles to projects with 5 people as well as projects that involve multiple teams in different countries.
9. Work in any industry
PRINCE2 is designed to adapt. This means that no matter what industry you are in; what size your company is; which part of the world you are in; PRINCE2 can be adapted to suit your needs. Unlike CSM or Six Sigma, PRINCE2 can be used in all sectors, even non-IT ones. As a professional, this prevents you from restricting your employability in just one field.
Most people have the misconception that PRINCE2 is only meant for the IT field, but companies like FES GmBH, a waste management company, and Eurofins, a life science company, both have successfully used PRINCE2 to manage their projects.
10. Delivery Confidence
When you use the PRINCE2 methodologies to manage projects, you give business teams an assurance that you are using a project management method that is extremely likely to work. PRINCE2 projects have a high rate of success because they follow a detailed guide that specifies each member’s role in the project and what is expected of them. Unlike other project management techniques, in PRINCE2, everyone owns and takes full responsibility for their role in a project.
11. Talk the Same Jargon
Time is of the essence when managing projects. It is for this reason project managers must all speak the same jargon. Not understanding industry-related terms like ROI, Business Plan, etc. will be a waste of time. With a PRINCE2 certification, project managers can speak the industry jargon and avoid cases of miscommunication.
12. Meet the Expectations of the Client more Effectively
PRINCE2 methodologies are client-focused and descriptive. This means that teams following these principles will be equipped to prevent misunderstandings between clients and production teams. When using PRINCE2, managers are not only required to lay the final goals and objectives of the client down but also attempt to estimate the expected ROI on the project. Since consensus has been formed right at the start, expectations are specific and clear.
13. Enable Cross-Functional Working
PRINCE2 supports, in fact, encourages, communication between production and support teams. Therefore, teams involved in a product, are required to keep the HR and the IT teams in the loop right from the start of a project. In this way, teams that use PRINCE2 can get the support they need to complete the projects with ease.
14. Meet and Network with other Professionals
People with a PRINCE2 certification can grow in their careers, not just because of their certification, but also because being a part of the PRINCE2 community allows them to work with other experienced members in this field and learn from them.
15. Flexible Control
As roles and responsibilities are specified right at the start, there is minimal interference from a manager’s side when the project is underway. Thanks to this, processes are streamlined for efficiency and there is minimal red tape to hinder speed.
So there you have it, PRINCE2 in all its glory. A great PRINCE2 certification will not only get you the job of your dream, it’ll also give you the big bucks to go with it. With PRINCE2, you can manage projects successfully and ensure that all members of the team work effectively without micro-managing them. What are you waiting for? Get PRINCE2 certified today!
Akshata is a Content specialist for various companies. She has previously worked at Sears and had her start at ANSR source. She loves learning and caught the PM bug when doing research for an article. Since then, she has written multiple PM-related articles for various sites. She values curious minds and loves learning by trying and by talking to new people. Follow her on LinkedIn to learn more.
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