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PRINCE2 Certification and PMP

How PRINCE2 can compliment PMP® and the PMBOK Guide® 

PRINCE2 - PRojects IN Controlled Environments - is a major worldwide project management methodology. It takes a different approach than Project Management Professional (PMP)® , but the goal of both is to improve project performance.PMP® is generally well-accepted worldwide, it is by far the leading approach in North America. PRINCE2 on the other hand is de-facto standard method for project management in the United Kingdom, with a strong presence in Europe, Australia, and other typically English-speaking countries.

The process, clarity and strengths of PRINCE2 are balanced by the depth of the PMBOK Guide® . PRINCE2 can be studied by itself as it is a scalable, practical, process-based methodology providing “what” you need to do in project management with its step-by-step guidance.  Those who pass PMP® often ask – after they have completed their certification – “Where do I actually start? How do I put all of this together to actually run a project?”  PRINCE2 becomes useful to at this point because, as a methodology, it can shape and direct that knowledge. 

Here are a two approaches to getting value out of PRINCE2.  PRINCE2 was designed in an integrated manner, so a Project Manager can get the most out of it when it is used in its entirety.  But there are elements of PRINCE2 that can be lifted and applied directly in any project environment.   

Approach 1: Use PRINCE2 for its unique approaches and insights into project management

  • Read the PRINCE2 manual, or read the manual and take a PRINCE2 course
  • Get a grasp of how the “package” as a whole works
  • Focus on the elements that can be most easily transplanted into your current environment, for the greatest value
  • The most straightforward elements are: Product Descriptions, Change Control, Issue Management, Quality Reviews and Work Packages (all discussed under “The Strengths of PRINCE2”)
  • None of these require “permission” from authorities outside the project, so they are easily implemented by the Project Manager (or by project teams, or in sub-projects)
  • As these approaches and techniques become accepted by stakeholders and others on the project, consider using other aspects of PRINCE2
  • Because of PRINCE2’s integrated approach, if you use most of PRINCE2’s approach to a specific piece in the first round of implementation, you can add features in almost a plug-and-play manner
  • Features like Project Boards can be powerful when implemented, but usually require greater buy-in and commitment from stakeholders to succeed — so put these off until greater interest is shown by management. (It is helpful to have more senior managers attend a PRINCE2 Foundation or Overview course to understand its potential.).

Approach 2: Use PRINCE2 as the proven, low-cost basis for your company’s methodology

  • Get to know PRINCE2 and consider using it as the core of your company’s new project management approach — perhaps along the lines of “PMP® and PRINCE2 – Together”
  • Suggest it to management, selling it through its credibility wherever it has been implemented (internationally, including such organizations as the United Nations Development Programme and NATO), and its open (no-fee) availability
  • Remind management that, when used in an integrated manner, it will support your company’s fulfillment of any future “maturity” plans
  • Propose that a small group create a prototype project management methodology built around PRINCE2, to build understanding and to plan out how to integrate it into your organization’s environment
  • Your core group should consider getting themselves accredited in PRINCE2, so you are confident your team understands how to use it effectively.  (You will become the Project Office/ resource team for all future work under PRINCE2. You will also learn a lot by using PRINCE2 to set up your methodology: learning-by-doing)
  • Remember that you will need to bring parts of the PMBOK Guide® into this methodology to make it complete, so while you’re learning about PRINCE2, think forward towards how you will combine the two.  PRINCE2 doesn’t have to be used “as-is” — but understanding how to implement it to cover critical quality areas will help ensure that your company will meet later “maturity” accreditation requirements.

By using PMP® and PRINCE2 together you are taking advantage of the two most respected project management approaches in the world.