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Difference Between PRINCE2® Foundation and Practitioner

19th Feb, 2024
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    Difference Between PRINCE2®  Foundation and Practitioner

    PRINCE2® is built on seven principles, themes, and processes, and is the world’s most widely-adopted project management method, used by people and organisations from a wide range of industries and sectors. Further, it is a flexible method that guides you with the essentials for managing successful projects, regardless of their type and scale.

    AXELOS revised the PRINCE2® guidance and certification scheme in 2017. This scheme comprises of two main levels, namely, Foundation and Practitioner. The PRINCE2® Foundation level introduces the PRINCE2® method, whereas, PRINCE2® Practitioner Accreditation can be taken up by anyone who is into project management as a part of their role. This blog intends to discuss the various differences between Foundation and Practitioner levels under PRINCE2 Certification.  

    PRINCE2® Foundation Vs. PRINCE2® Practitioner

    The basic differences between the key benefits of PRINCE2® Foundation and Practitioner can be listed down as follows:

    PRINCE2® FoundationPRINCE2® Practitioner
    • Know about general principles
    • Allows to be a part of a project team
    • Learn key terms and phrases
    • Get competent knowledge.
    • Adapt principles as per the needs of the project
    • Apply principles to manage projects
    • Get practical knowledge
    • Allows to run a project team

    Apart from these differences, both levels can be differentiated based on their purposes. The PRINCE2 Foundation certification intends to confirm your knowledge and understanding of the PRINCE2® method properly in order to be able to work effectively with or as a member of a project management team working within an environment supporting PRINCE2®.

    On the other hand, the purpose of the PRINCE2® Practitioner certification is to confirm that you have sufficient understanding of the application method and can tailor the method to a range of different project environments and scenarios. Further, it is for the people who are a part of a formal project management function or a role in which project management is an inherent part of the day-to-day work.

    The following chart discusses the different aspects of PRINCE2® Foundation and PRINCE2® Practitioner:

    different aspects of prince 2 foundation and prince 2 practitioner

    DifferencePRINCE2® FoundationPRINCE2® Practitioner
    Cost£236 (in India)£389 (in India)
    Key Benefits

    Get more valuable skills:

    Get equipped with a highly-demanded Project Management certification.

    Get more valuable skills:

    Equip yourself with one of the highly-demanded Accreditation in Project Management.  

    Understand the PRINCE2® method:

    Work effectively as a member of a team working within a PRINCE2® environment with the best practices.

    Apply and tailor PRINCE2®:

    Understand and learn to apply and tailor the PRINCE2® method in a range of different project environments and scenarios.

    Get set for the future:

    Open your doors for higher levels of Project Management certificates, like PRINCE2® Practitioner and PRINCE2 Agile®.

    Advance your career:

    PRINCE2®  opens the doors in order to advance your career in Project Management.

    Exam info60 Exam Duration150 Exam Duration
    5 languages15 languages
    33 out of 60 marks44 out of 80 marks
    Closed bookOpen Book

    Difference between the exam formats:

    PRINCE2® Foundation and Practitioner can be differentiated based on the principles and terminologies. The Foundation level aims to measure the ability of a project management team that uses the PRINCE2® method within a project environment supporting PRINCE2®. Whereas, PRINCE2® Practitioner level aims at measuring the ability of a candidate to apply PRINCE2® while running and managing a non-complex project within an environment supporting PRINCE2®. Before we move to the examination format, the difference between the ability that you will acquire after understanding the principles and terminology of both the levels can be listed down as follows:  

    PRINCE2® FoundationPRINCE2® Practitioner
    • You will be able to describe the purpose and major content of all roles, the seven principles, the seven themes, and the seven processes.
    • You will be able to state the management products which are inputs or outputs of the seven processes.
    • Ability to identify the main purpose and key contents of the major management products.
    • You will be able to state the relationships between deliverables, processes, roles, and the management dimensions of a project.
    • You will acquire the ability to produce detailed explanations of all principles, themes, processes, and worked examples of all PRINCE2® products as you can apply them to address the particular circumstances of a given project scenario.
    • You will be able to show your understanding of the relationships between themes, principles, and processes as well as, PRINCE2® products and application of this understanding.
    • Demonstrate your understanding of the reasons behind the principles, themes, and processes of PRINCE2®, as well as the principles, underpinning these elements. 
    • Demonstrate your ability to tune PRINCE2® to different project circumstances.

    Apart from the above understandings which you will acquire from PRINCE2® Foundation and Practitioner, both the levels have certain differences in terms of the examination format. The differences are as follows:

    PRINCE2® FoundationPRINCE2® Practitioner
    • Exam duration of 60 minutes
    • 60 questions
    • Closed book
    • 33/60 required to pass = 55% pass mark
    • 18 PDUs (online) or 21 PDUs (classroom).
    • Exam duration of 150 minute
    • 68 questions
    • 38/68 required to pass = 55% pass mark
    • Open book exam (Official PRINCE2® manual only)
    • 20 PDUs (online) or 21 PDUs (classroom).

    Further, PRINCE2® Foundation and PRINCE2® Practitioner differs from each other in terms of the prerequisites for appearing for these assessments. As an entry-level, you don’t need any prior experience or knowledge to take PRINCE2® Foundation. But there are certain prerequisites which you need to fulfill in order to take PRINCE2® Practitioner. You need to provide proof of passing one of the following levels in order to sit for the PRINCE2® Practitioner exam: 

    • PRINCE2® Foundation
    • Project Management Professional (PMP)®
    • IPMA Level A (Certified Project Director)
    • IPMA Level B (Certified Senior Project Manager)
    • IPMA Level C (Certified Project Manager)
    • IPMA Level D (Certified Project Management Associate)
    • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM).

    Syllabus - PRINCE2® Foundation Vs. PRINCE2® Practitioner

    Before we dive into the differences in the syllabus of PRINCE2® Foundation and PRINCE2® Practitioner, let us understand what PRINCE2® encompasses. It is based on 7 principles, themes, processes, and project environment. The PRINCE2® method helps you to manage projects successfully, irrespective of its scale and size. It comprises of:

    • The PRINCE2® manual - Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2® 2017 Edition.
    • The Certification Scheme enables you to reach either the Foundation level or Practitioner level.
    • You get an opportunity to avail the Membership subscription facility.

    Unleash your potential with a project management professional certificate. Take control of your career and confidently lead successful projects.

    PRINCE2® Principles: 

    Prince2 Principes

    These principles form the guiding requirements and good practices which determine the genuine management of the project using PRINCE2®. There are seven principles which should be applied to a project to be a PRINCE2® project. The seven principles are as follows:

    1. Continued business justification: A project should be closed if there is no justifiable reason for running and managing the project.
    2. Learn from experience: The lessons learned from previous work should be continuously sought and drawn on lessons by PRINCE2® project teams.
    3. Defined roles and responsibilities: There should be a clear organisational structure and involvement of the right people in the right tasks in the PRINCE2® project team.
    4. Manage by stages: A stage-by-stage planning, monitoring, and controlling must be involved in a PRINCE2® project.
    5. Manage by exception: A right amount of authority should be given to the people working within the project for effective work within the environment.
    6. Focus on products: PRINCE2® projects focus on the product definition, delivery, and quality requirements.
    7. Tailor to suit the project environment: PRINCE2® must be tailored in order to suit the project’s environment, size, complexity, importance, capability, and risk.

    PRINCE2® Themes

    The PRINCE2® themes describe the aspects of project management that must be addressed parallelly throughout the project. These themes explain the specific treatment required by PRINCE2® for various disciplines of project management and at the same time, explain its necessity.

    The seven PRINCE2® themes are as follows:

    1. Business case: create and maintain a record of the business justification of the project.
    2. Quality: the way, project will deliver quality requirements and measures.
    3. Organisation: the individual roles and responsibilities of the whole project team gets defined.
    4. Risk: identify opportunities and risks that could impact the project.
    5. Plans: the steps required to develop the plans and the PRINCE2® techniques that should be used.
    6. Progress: the ongoing viability and performance of the plans and the way the project should proceed.
    7. Change: the methods adopted by the project manager to assess and act on changes to the project.

    PRINCE2® Processes

    From the initial idea to project closure and measurement of the benefits, PRINCE2® processes describe the steps of the project lifecycle. Each process provides checklists on recommended activities, related responsibilities, and guidance about the method to tailor to a specific environment.

    The seven PRINCE2® processes are as follows:

    Prince2 Process steps

    1. Starting up a project
    2. Directing a project
    3. Initiating a project
    4. Controlling a stage
    5. Managing product delivery
    6. Managing stage boundaries
    7. Closing a project.

    As we have learned about the 7 principles, themes, and processes that lay the foundation of PRINCE2® certification, let’s compare the differences in the syllabus of PRINCE2® Foundation and PRINCE2® Practitioner based on the learning outcomes. The differences can be listed down as:

    Learning outcome 1:

    The first learning outcome of PRINCE2® Foundation is that you would get to understand the key concepts relating to projects and PRINCE2®. On the other hand, the first learning outcome of PRINCE2® Practitioner level is that you will learn to apply the PRINCE2® principles in context.

    Learning outcome 2:

    The second learning outcome of the PRINCE2® Foundation enables you to understand the way PRINCE2 principles underpin the PRINCE2® method, whereas, the second learning outcome of the PRINCE2® Practitioner is to apply and tailor relevant aspects of PRINCE2® themes in context. The difference between PRINCE2® Foundation and PRINCE2® Practitioner can be further drawn in terms of the assessment criteria related to the second learning outcome of both the levels of PRINCE2® Accreditation. 

    Learning outcome 3:

    The third learning outcome of the PRINCE2® Foundation is to understand the PRINCE2® themes and their application throughout the project. Whereas, the learning outcome differs in PRINCE2® Practitioner, which apply and tailor relevant aspects of PRINCE2® processes in context.

    Learning outcome 4:

    The PRINCE2® Foundation consists of a fourth learning outcome which is to understand the PRINCE2® Foundation processes and how they are carried out throughout the project. However, there is no fourth outcome under PRINCE2® Practitioner.

    Cost: PRINCE2® Foundation Vs. PRINCE2® Practitioner

    If you want to demonstrate your understanding of PRINCE2 methodology and work efficiently as a part of a project management team within a PRINCE2® supporting environment, then you should opt for a PRINCE2® Foundation. You can take your PRINCE2® Foundation Exam in India by paying £236 via PeopleCert Online Proctoring. 

    A PRINCE2® Practitioner Exam can be taken up by someone who wants to demonstrate his or her achievement of sufficient understanding of applying and tailoring the PRINCE2® methodology in a scenario situation. You can take your PRINCE2® Practitioner assessment in India by paying £389 via PeopleCert Online Proctoring.

    To Conclude

    Get introduced to the PRINCE2® method with PRINCE2® Foundation and get sufficient knowledge and understanding of the PRINCE2® method with PRINCE2® Practitioner Accreditation. Apart from the purposes, there are multiple differences between PRINCE2® Foundation and PRINCE2® Practitioner. The differences discussed in this blog will surely help you realise the importance of both Knowledgehut PRINCE2 certifications as well as their market worth and relevance.


    Kevin D.Davis

    Blog Author

    Kevin D. Davis is a seasoned and results-driven Program/Project Management Professional with a Master's Certificate in Advanced Project Management. With expertise in leading multi-million dollar projects, strategic planning, and sales operations, Kevin excels in maximizing solutions and building business cases. He possesses a deep understanding of methodologies such as PMBOK, Lean Six Sigma, and TQM to achieve business/technology alignment. With over 100 instructional training sessions and extensive experience as a PMP Exam Prep Instructor at KnowledgeHut, Kevin has a proven track record in project management training and consulting. His expertise has helped in driving successful project outcomes and fostering organizational growth.

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