What are the benefits of training for PRINCE2?

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Last updated on
17th Mar, 2021
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12th Feb, 2021
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What are the benefits of training for PRINCE2?

The era of rapid change

We are living in an era where change has become the norm rather than an exception. Emerging technologies and market unpredictability have further fueled change, impacting all industries globally. But the true test of an organization's capability is its ability to endure change and adapt to it.  This is the philosophy of ‘Kaizen’ or changing for the better, that helps organizations stay competitive, relevant and in focus with the customer.  

If there is change, there are also ways to cope with it. Project management methodologies provide a framework that helps organizations streamlines processes and emerge stronger. One of the most popular project management methodologies is the PRINCE2® (PRojects IN Controlled Environments).  It is a structured, process-based method for effective project management and is based on experience drawn from several projects, their stakeholders and academia.

Having originated in the 1970s, it has been revised year on year with its latest updates, the 6th edition being the current version that was brought out in 2017.  

is now owned by AXELOS Limited UK. While it was originally used as a standard for projects in the UK, it is now endorsed globally across organizations and projects.

Benefits of using PRINCE2® project management

This methodology offers several benefits, such as:

  • It is a proven best practice which can be applied to any project
  • Clarity of responsibilities related to the project management team
  • Focus on products
  • Improved communication and control
  • Proper representation of stakeholders
  • Mechanisms for escalation or exception management (refer example below)
  • Continued project justification
  • Continual learning and improvement
    …and more.

Example of applying one of the benefits of PRINCE2:

When the project manager is not able to prevent a possible deviation beyond the allowed budget for a particular stage of the project, it needs to be escalated to the next upper level of management in a specific manner.

Note that PRINCE2 is a method, with a set of project management activities, roles and techniques to perform the activities. Organizations may choose to use PRINCE2 as their project management standard. In such cases, its effectiveness may be benchmarked by performing a formal health check and maturity assessments endorsed by PRINCE2.

Project management standards

There are also several project management standards such as:

  • “A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (the PMBOK® Guide)”, from Project Management Institute (PMI®.)
  • The various Competence Baselines from International Project Management Association (IPMA)
  • ISO 21500 Guidance on Project Management from ISO
  • BS6079 Project Management Principles and Guidance from British Standards Institution (BSI)
  • APM Body of Knowledge from Association for Project Management (APM)

Such standards provide rules, principles, guidelines and concepts which may be used to ensure effective project management, thereby increasing the project’s chance of success. These standards should be applied as appropriate to the business when PRINCE2 is being used by the organization.

Example of combining a standard or body of knowledge and the PRINCE2 method:

An organization may decide to apply the standard for cost estimation or controlling quality from PMI’s PMBOK Guide when using the PRINCE2 method for managing their projects.

The PMBOK® Guide is a body of knowledge while PRINCE2 is a structured method. The former reinforces the science while the other provides a structured approach. Thus, both complement each other.

What is PRINCE2 certification training?

What is PRINCE2 certification training?

The PRINCE2 certification suite

The PRINCE2 product portfolio offers Foundation and Practitioner level certifications for PRINCE2 and PRINCE2 Agile. About two days of training is recommended for each of them and self-study is also allowed.  The exams are offered in several languages. The syllabus is based on the official PRINCE2 and PRINCE2 Agile guidance from AXELOS.

Prerequisites

Prerequisites apply only for the Practitioner exams, for which either the Foundation or an equivalent certification is required. Practitioner certificates are valid for 3 years and may be renewed by maintaining AXELOS PRINCE2 membership and claiming a minimum of 20 CPDs (continuing professional development) units annually, or by appearing for a re-registration exam.  

Curriculum

Trainings cover in detail the PRINCE2 integrated environment, the 7 principles,  the 7 themes, the 7 processes and project tailoring. Some of the projects I worked in were based on the PRINCE2 method, though some were adopted to the organization’s ways of working.

The PRINCE2 Agile course further provides a detailed understanding of how to blend PRINCE2 with various agile concepts, frameworks, behavior and techniques. Those of you who are familiar with highly used frameworks like Scrum, Kanban, SAFe and others will be able to understand and appreciate how to blend them with PRINCE2 using PRINCE2 Agile project management.

Example of blending agile concepts and techniques with PRINCE2 Agile:

PRINCE2 product descriptions may be described and agreed in the form of a collection of user stories or epics rather than in the traditional form of requirement specifications.

KnowledgeHut PRINCE2 trainings have been designed to give you complete clarity on the style and syllabus of the certification exams, along with detailed descriptions on all relevant concepts, exam questionnaire practice, case studies and scenarios for real world understanding, exam tips and extensive study materials.

Exam details

The exams are administered by the exam body organization PeopleCert on behalf of AXELOS. One has to create an account on the PeopleCert website and register for the exam before appearing for it. There is also a retake option purchasable at a significantly lower exam fee.

  • The PRINCE2 Foundation is a 60 questions exam of 1 hour duration. It is multiple choice based, wherein recall of concepts and understanding are tested. A minimum score of 33 marks is necessary to pass the exam.
  • PRINCE2 Practitioner is a 2.5 hour exam of 68 questions (or 46 as some questions are clubbed), based on a scenario. A minimum score of 38 is necessary to pass the exam. It is an open book exam; only the official hard copy of the PRINCE2 manual is allowed, except when specified (such as during the COVID19 pandemic) wherein an online version is being allowed on a second system until a date as specified by AXELOS.

What is not covered in PRINCE2?

Though some of the below listed topics are described briefly in the guidance, they are not part of the certification syllabus. These may be learned in detail through other literature and certification trainings, such as Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® or Project Management Professional (PMP)® and others (International Association for Project Management or IPMA, Association for Project Management or APM, etc.):

  • Skills and competencies required by a project manager
  • People management
  • Stakeholder identification & engagement techniques
  • Task scheduling, scheduling techniques like critical path method, resource optimization, schedule compression, etc.
  • Estimation techniques
  • Costing and budgeting techniques, including reserve management
  • Business analysis or requirements gathering techniques
  • Industry specific product solution and design techniques like product analysis
  • Detailed quality control and assurance techniques
  • Techniques for risk identification & analysis
  • Detailed communications aspects such as communication requirements analysis
  • Specific monitoring and controlling techniques such as earned value management, trend analysis, root cause analysis and others
  • Specialized project management areas like project procurement or safety

What are the reasons for you to choose PRINCE2 certification and training? 

Increasing usage of PRINCE2

Over the years, use of PRINCE2 has expanded to many countries and industries due to its structured way of handling projects, while at the same time allowing flexibility to apply other approaches and techniques that suit the project.

While PRINCE2 specifies advantages or benefits of applying it, let us look at how learning and becoming certified in PRINCE2 will help you meet your aspirations in particular.

Impact of automation on project management

As day-to-day operations get more and more automated, human resources will become more involved with the management of projects. This will result in a demand for capable project managers who are skilled in decision making, stakeholder engagement, collaboration, and other areas which can be performed better by humans than machines.

How can the PRINCE2 method  benefit you?

PRINCE2 is among the most widely used project management methodologies due to the numerous advantages it offers. But how does it help an individual PRINCE2 holder? Let's take a look:

  1. It is a proven best practice and governance approach for project management. Therefore, you will be able to apply the right approaches to help succeed in your projects.
  2. It works for all types of projects (size, scale, industry, country, culture) and industry-specific methods and models. So, the more you practice PRINCE2, the better you become at managing all types of projects.
  3. It promotes involvement of key stakeholders, such as those from business, user and supplier areas. This promotes collaboration. This also indicates that PRINCE2 accommodates agility. The amount of agility may be tailored by adopting agile practices or frameworks such as Scrum or Kanban along with PRINCE2, and other agile concepts, behaviors and techniques.  
  4. It provides clarity of project management roles and responsibilities. This facilitates better accountability, delegation, authority and communication. For you, the role of the project manager becomes much clearer.
  5. As PRINCE2 projects are managed by exception, sufficient freedom is given to the project manager to handle the project. This is done by defining boundaries for when escalation is necessary to be done to the next upper management level. There will be other points on which the project manager will provide information to the upper management for decision making. It is said that if there are no escalations in a PRINCE2 project, then there is no need for meetings, only reports and consultations suffice. Isn’t that great news?
  6. For those who are working in product-based organizations, the good news is that PRINCE2 has a high product focus during planning. This means that product planning is done first before understanding the work that needs to be performed to deliver products.
  7. There is high focus on the justification of the project in the form of a business case. Though traditionally, business sponsors own the business case, in PRINCE2 the project manager is involved in creating and maintaining the business case; thus supporting the sponsor and providing project performance information when required.
  8. PRINCE2 promotes continual learning and improvement. As you might be aware, this has become important and relevant in the rapidly changing information age we are in.
  9. Because PRINCE2 provides a common vocabulary, it promotes the use of common language among project members which makes relevant communications consistent. However, PRINCE2 is very flexible, therefore organizations may still use their own vocabulary while understanding how it maps to PRINCE2.

Reflect for a moment, which of the above are top reasons for you to get certified in PRINCE2.  

For me, it is all of them but if you put me in a spot and ask me to pick only three of them, then they will be 1, 7 and 8.  

  • 1 because it raises my confidence in handling projects
  • 7 because it allows me to go beyond traditional project manager responsibilities and even support the project sponsor
  • 8 because continual learning and improvement will enable me to understand and support businesses and customers even better

Conclusion

A lot of literature is available online, relating to project management careers and certifications. However, we focused on a few key things.

We first understood what PRINCE2 is and how it relates to project management standards and bodies of knowledge. Next, we looked into PRINCE2 certification levels and curriculum, along with what is not covered by PRINCE2. Though the PRINCE2 Agile certifications were also mentioned, we focused on the PRINCE2 certifications only.

PRINCE2’s relevance in the digital era and its impact on project management was briefly highlighted. Finally, the advantages of PRINCE2 and how they might rightly connect with your own aspirations were listed. Hope you found your own connects from that list or maybe even added your own.

Profile

Muralidhar Gaddam

Author

Murali is a certified trainer and course advisor since 2015 for ITIL®4 Managing Professional, PMP®, PRINCE2® Practitioner, MSP® Practitioner, VeriSM™ Professional & EXIN ASM (Agile Scrum Master). He has over 25 years of IT & Project Management experience and has worked with global teams in the USA, Western Europe, Canada, India, Southeast Asia, and Australia.

Murali uses his work experience to deliver training. Supporting diverse industries in leading tier-one global organizations, he is a computer engineer by education, a certified corporate trainer, and a coach.

He is a subject matter expert in areas of IT service management, software, project, and program management.