Still wondering if you should do a PMP or a PRINCE2?

trg1.jpgPRINCE2® vs PMBOK
What is the difference between PRINCE2® (PRojects IN a Controlled Environment) & the PMBOK® (Project Management Body of Knowledge)?

Project Managers who want to advance their careers often face a dilemma when they wish to go for certification programmes. They don’t know if they should go for PMP or PRINCE2. Both are good, but which is better? For all those, who are fighting this battle PRINCE2 vs PMP. This article is designed to provide you information that would help you make this decision. IT professionals also have a 3rd option, ITIL but we will come back to it later.

Brief Overview of PRINCE2

Origin of PRINCE2 is in UK and its administration is done by APMG in UK and Internationally. PRINCE2 has a well defined and sophisticated methodology that outlines in detail the steps, templates and processes that a project should follow in order to be delivered successfully in a controlled environment.

It also spells out the roles and responsibilities of those involved in a project, like project executive, project manager, senior supplier, financier etc., it also provides templates that facilitate smooth execution of project such as change request form and progress report.

A few features of the PRINCE2 include:

  • PRINCE2 is generic, as in, it can be used for just about any kind of project.
  • It has a standard and well laid out approach.
  • The roles and responsibilities of the team undertaking the project is clearly defined which eliminates the ambiguity and makes project execution easy.
  • It focuses on both project and process.

Brief Overview of PMP

PMP originated in USA at the Project Management Institute (PMI) but gained international acceptance quickly. The PMP Certification is structured around the PMBoK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) developed by the PMI. The course measures the ability of a candidate as a project manager to complete the project right from planning stage of a project, based on your skills and understanding of project management.

It differs from PRINCE2 as it basically evaluates your skills and mastery of project management. As such, you are required to have some experience in the field, unlike PRINCE2, which can be done by a person who is new to the field.

A few features of the PMP qualification include:

  • PMP covers project management extensively. It can be considered as the encyclopedia of knowledge pertaining to project management.
  • It can be seen as a comprehensive overview and generally accepted knowledge and principles of project management.
  • It is also a dictionary of terms related to project management

PRINCE2® is a structured method for effective project management of all types of projects. PRINCE2® is in public domain owned by the Cabinet Office in the United Kingdom and a widely recognized de facto standard used extensively by the UK government and in the private sector. The 2009 version is an update on the 2005 version and is based on best practice method sourced from project management professionals.

PRINCE2® project training is provided by first attending the PRINCE2® Foundation course and then the PRINCE2® Practitioner course. The courses are delivered by Accredited Training Organisations (ATO) approved by the APMG in the United Kingdom. Courses conform to the APMG curriculum. All successful students receive an International qualification accredited by the APMG in the United Kingdom.

The PMBOK® is a body of knowledge and serves as a guide on general project management best practices. The PMBOK® guide is authored and owned by the PMI (Project Management Institute). The Fourth Edition “A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge” was refreshed during 2008.

PMBOK® project training is provided through a variety of courses focussed on the project management theory covering fundamentals and advanced concepts, supported by amongst others team soft skills and scheduling courses. PMBOK® courses are delivered by training organisations that design courses based on the Guide to the PMBOK®. Some Training Providers optionally register with PMI® and are not mandated to follow a set curriculum. Junior project staff requiring formal certification can register for the CAPM® (Certified Associate in Project Management) examination, whilst experienced project staff can enrol on the PMP® (Project Management Professional) examinations.

In summary PRINCE2® is a project management method and the PMBOK® encapsulates general theory on project management

Now that we have some basic knowledge of what PMP and PRINCE2 are, let’s start the PRINCE2 vs PMP match.

PRINCE2 vs PMP: Pre-requisites The pre-requisites for PMP are more stringent, which makes it very much attractive to employers. Greater the minimum requirements, smaller are the numbers that can pass through

Pre-requisite PRINCE2 PMP
Education Graduate degree of 4 years or equivalent+ 35 hours of formal study of any aspect of Project management
Experience 3+ years of work experience in the field of project management. With atleast 4,500 hours in managing a project
Tests to qualify for certification 2 1

PRINCE2 vs PMP: Industry DemandsUnfortunately, neither is better than the other when it comes to industry demands, which is the center of the whole PRINCE2 vs PMP debate. The demand for the certification varies both industry wise and on the location. For example, some European countries like UK, Denmark, Germany prefer PRINCE2 while PMP is preferred in North America but as said before, there is no clear trend as both the certifications are global.

PRINCE2 vs PMP: Benefits

Very Exhaustive Walking encyclopedia of Project management
Well laid out methodology for Project management Better Salary from existing employers and future employers
Standardization of project management Networking opportunities with the best and brightest in the field.
Improved Employability Value to your employer
Driven By Business Case Efficiency in project execution

PRINCE2 vs PMP: Conclusion

We have provided you the objective information so far. Most training providers would at this point conclude that doing both is the best and suggest you to do both, and it seems like a good idea at first.

It may not be ideal for everyone though. The terminology used is different for both and some techniques differ vastly (eg: categorization of risk). If you’re not the brightest of the bright, chances are your knowledge of project management becomes confusing.

The value of both the certifications is not the same. The pre-requisites of the PMP certification itself is an indication of the difficulty of getting the certificate. The rarity of PMP professionals is also what attracts the industry towards this certification and also the increased salary and other perks.

The ideal path would be to choose PRINCE2 at the start of the career when the experience is low, this means you can find a job easily than the others and have a slightly high paying job. As you build your experience in the field shift to a PMP.

As PRINCE2 deals with the framework and creates templates for project management, with experience you can inculcate these principles. Once you have enough experience, go for a PMP, this provides you the extensive knowledge and skills required for project management and better career prospects.

The fact that you once did PRINCE2 and now hold a PMP would be a huge boost to your profile without compromising your knowledge and avoiding confusing knowledge.

Still wondering if you should do a PMP or a PRINCE2?

Do I attend a PRINCE2® or PMBOK® Training Course?
To be effective, Project Managers must have a blend of:

  • deliver projects according to a structured method – provided by PRINCE2® courses;
  • general project management knowledge – provided by PMBOK® courses;
  • project management experience – successfully applying PRINCE2® and PMBOK® courses.

In conclusion, PRINCE2® and the PMBOK® are complimentary. We recommend attending PRINCE2® training and expanding on your project management knowledge by attending PMBOK® based training.

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