PRINCE2 (Projects In Control Environment)
PRINCE2 is an integrated project management method that provides a set of processes and issues applicable to the management of a project from start to finish. PRINCE2 provides a model of what needs to be done, who needs to do it, and when it needs to be finished.PRINCE2 was developed by the UK Office of Government Commerce (OGC) in 1996 and is a registered trademark of Axelos. The current version is the PRINCE2 6th Edition.
PMP (Project Management Professional)PMP, which stands for Project Management Professional, is a standard, a "body of knowledge" (PMBOK). It contains "everything" you need to know and do in Project Management. PMP covers the broad spectrum of project management skills and techniques that Project Managers may need to apply, such as leadership and negotiation. The certification was developed and is issued by the Project Management Institute (PMI), an authoritative body in the field of project management. Interested to learn more about PMP? Register for our FREE webinar. Xavier Heusdens will explain why it is worth it to invest in the PMP certification.
The differences between PRINCE2 and PMPThe key difference is that while PRINCE2 is a methodology, PMP is considered a body of knowledge. The PRINCE2 method can guide and tell you how to proceed with your projects. To help you achieve your goals, it also provides templates that you can use or adapt to your projects and the needs of your organization. PMP on the other hand, provides a framework, a body of project management knowledge. It can provide you with a range of techniques and tools that you can apply according to your needs. This means that PMP certification certifies the mastery of Project Management skills and techniques, while the PRINCE2 certification certifies the ability to manage the project in a controlled manner following the PRINCE2 method. An example. To create a plan in PRINCE2 it is necessary to estimate the activities - there are various techniques that can be applied depending on the project, but PRINCE2 does not say what these techniques are. The PMBOK instead offers an explanation and analysis of the range of estimation techniques available so that you can choose what fits best for your project.
PMP and PRINCE2 comparison
ApplicabilityBoth certifications can be applied to any type of project. They are both standards and can be adapted or tailored as needed.
Importance and diffusionBoth are certainly two important and prestigious certifications, recognized worldwide. In general, PRINCE2 is more widespread in Europe and PMP in The United States of America. Both certifications can be required for participation in public tenders. On a more individual level, both can also improve and influence the CV and career path of a professional.
Levels of certification and prerequisitesPRINCE2 consists of two levels: PRINCE2 Foundation and PRINCE2 Practitioner. The Foundation level contains the theoretical part of the method, so it serves to have a general understanding of the methodology. There are no prerequisites for this level, but experience in project management is recommended. The Foundation certification does not expire and is a prerequisite for accessing the next level, the Practitioner. The Practitioner level gives the possibility to understand how to apply the method in practice. The Practitioner certification lasts for 3 years. In order to access it, you must have one of the following certifications:
- PRINCE2 Foundation,
- for those in possession of a degree, it is necessary to have achieved project management work experience for at least 4,500 hours over a minimum of 3 years
- for those in possession of a high school diploma, having achieved project management work experience for at least 7,500 hours over a minimum of 5 years.
ExamsThe PRINCE2 exams to obtain official certifications can only be taken through an ATO (Accredited Training Organization). ATOs are accredited by Axelos. ATOs typically offer PRINCE2 training courses which include the PRINCE2 Foundation and PRINCE2 Practitioner certification exams. The PMP exam must be taken at one of the Pearson Vue centers, the only ones recognized by PMI for the exam part. The exam must be booked through the PMI, the exam preparation courses can instead be taken at an R.E.P (Registered Education Provider) of the PMI or other training institutions. A fundamental element is a certificate that demonstrates the 35 hours of training (contact hours).
PRINCE2 and PMP. ConclusionPMP and PRINCE2 certifications are certainly different from each other but they have a common goal: to improve the success of projects. The choice of one over the other must be based on several factors which may include your personal professional needs. You have to really understand whether you are looking for a methodology that could help improve the managing of your projects, or whether you are more curious to learn the ins and outs of project management. Another important aspect that can influence your choice between PMP and PRINCE2 is the current methodology that is used by your organization. But also market needs, personal growth, and general management may impact your choice. Of course, the two certifications are compatible: if you have the PMP certification it might be useful to learn the PRINCE2 method. Likewise, after obtaining the PRINCE2 certification, you could read the PMBOK Guide and evaluate the PMP certification to demonstrate your knowledge and skills along with your Project Management experience.
Looking for Project Management Training? Contact UsDo you have more questions about the differences between PMP and PRINCE2? Contact us and we will be happy to support you with more information, customized to your needs! QRP International is ATO, we are accredited by Peoplecert on behalf of Axelos and we can provide you with the necessary training to obtain the PRINCE2 certificates. We also provide preparation courses for the PMP exam.
The benefits of PMPThe certification process of the PMP requests a time-investment and covers a lot of topics. The certification process requires dedication. However, also the benefits speak for themselves, both for the individual and the organisation. We listed the 5 main benefits:
1) New skillThe PMP certification scheme includes many new learnings. It covers both technical skills as soft skills and prepares the participant to be all round Project Manager.
2) Global recognitionPMP is universally recognised. PMP is global and the learned techniques and skills can be applied to all sorts of projects. PMP is industry independent.
3) Commitment to your professionTo be able to write ‘PMP’ behind your name, will show your colleagues, managers and recruiters that you take your profession very seriously. It shows that you are up to date regarding the latest project management developments and that you are eager to learn and constantly develop yourself.
4) Join the clubGlobally there are about a million PMP certified professionals. PMI regularly organises events for these professionals to increase networking possibilities. But there are also many other online and offline communities where PM related topics are being discussed.
5) Professional growthThe PMP certification increases your chances of career growth and salary increase.
The five areas of PMPThe PMBOK guide offers a process-based approach to project management. It breaks down project management into 49 processes, which are then grouped under PMBOK process groups and knowledge areas. The process groups guide you in what actions to take, while the knowledge areas cover the things that you need to know as a PM. There are five different process groups: 1. Initiating Processes required to launch a new project or project phase
2. Planning Processes required to define and plan the project and its execution.
3. Executing Processes required to complete project activities and tasks
4. Monitoring and controlling Processes required to check, monitor and report the project progress and performance5. Closing Processes required to finalize a project or project phase The 10 Knowledge Areas that have been defined in project management are:
. Project Integration Management This knowledge area contains the tasks that hold the overall project together and integrate it into a unified whole.
. Project Scope Management This knowledge area contains the work that is included in the project. It defines and validates the scope.
. Project Schedule Management This knowledge area contains the planning of activities and schedule (start and finish dates of tasks).
. Project Cost Management This knowledge area contains the determination of the budget and manage the costs.
. Project Quality Management This knowledge area contains plans, manages and controls the quality of the project.
. Project Resource Management This knowledge area contains the planning and managing of the team and the resource allocation.
. Project Communications Management This knowledge area contains the planning, managing and monitoring of the communication to and with stakeholders.
. Project Risk Management This knowledge area contains the risk analysis, the monitoring of risks and the risk responses.
. Project Procurement Management This knowledge area contains the planning, conducting and controlling of procurement activities.
. Project Stakeholders Management This knowledge area contains the identification of the stakeholders and managing the stakeholder engagement.The 5 process groups and 10 knowledge areas come together in a matrix format to encompass the 49 individual processes. The processes intersect with each process group in such a way that each of the 49 processes falls under one knowledge area and one process group.
Getting PMP certifiedTo be able to take the PMP certification exam, there are some basic requirements you must meet. PMI wants to keep the level high and therefore requires that the candidate must have worked as a PM for 4.500 or 7.500 hours (depending on previous education). It is also a must that the candidate has followed 35 hours of project management education. The PMP certification also requires lots of self study, it is generally assumed that 300 to 400 hours should suffice to be fully prepared. If you study 2-3 hours a day, this means that you can plan the exam about three months after you start studying. The PMP exam itself takes 4 hours and is made up by 200 multiple choice questions. Once you have passed the exam and are an official Project Management Professional, you will have to maintain your certification. This means that you have to earn 60 Professional Development Units (PDU) every three years. There are two types of professional PDU’s, ‘education’ and ‘giving back to the profession’. Interested to learn? Register for our FREE webinar. Xavier Heusdens explains why it is worth it to invest in the PMP certification.
What is your current job, what do you do?I am a senior IS consultant in a digital transformation consulting company. My assignments change roughly every 1.5 / 2 years. At the moment, I work as an Agile Business Analyst with Renault management. I help and accompany them with a project that is trying to define a tool that will manage all the applications of their dealers.
How did you come to have a career in project management and agility?I have a fairly mixed background, I obtained my engineering degree in electronics and computer science at ECE Paris. However, I did not want to orient myself towards the profession of the developer as I was looking for something more functional. I started out as a project management assistant where, over my seven years of experience, I was able to acquire various skills, particularly in needs management. For two years, in the continuity of my career, I became a Business Analyst.
There is not just one definition for the job of the business analyst but several realities depending on the company where he/she works. What would be your definition of a business analyst?As you said, there is no definite definition of the profession of Business Analyst and it is not always easy for us to define ourselves. At the start, the role is rather vague. Mainly we are present where we are needed. This is my second assignment as a Business Analyst and what I mainly take away from the role of a Business Analyst is that it can be compared to a Swiss army knife. He/she must have various skills in order to help the Product Owner, the Team Leader and the Technical Team on Agile projects. You have to know how to analyze situations, know how to express a need to the customer, know how to present a solution, know how to guide the technical team, support the Product Owner. The Business Analyst is truly multitasking. It is also my role to raise an alert if user stories are poorly written, if they are missing or if the Product Owner is overwhelmed. I sometimes take the follow-up and write them for him/her. Clearly, my role is to work in support of the Product Owner, while being close to the technical team and the team leader to know their needs in terms of technical limitations and have a 360 ° vision on each project. In my view, the Business Analyst must become familiar with the organisation of work resulting from the internal and external constraints of the company. He/she can acquire this organisational knowledge by observing all the key contributors to the project. This in order to take ownership of the way in which the user operates within the framework of his work environment and to understand the links and interactions between the roles and services of the organisation. Business processes are of course at the centre of the analysis, but we must also list all the elements that might impact the project. I would even add that the profession of a Business Analyst is open, it is not a fixed profession. As the perimeter is not always clear or well defined, it is an opportunity for the Business Analyst, to reinvent his profession and to redefine his perimeter, depending on needs, skills, desires. The business analyst has the possibility of always doing more to participate, to better help the realization of the project and to discover new things. That’s the whole point of the job.
What are the issues/challenges that business analysts can encounter?The main challenge is precisely this completeness. You can be a good business analyst, but it is very difficult to be a complete Business Analyst. There are always gaps or weak points in certain areas. For example, in all projects, I will be expected to know how to do SQL and queries, which is not necessarily my daily life. It is at this very moment that it is important to strike quickly, when speaking to me in technical language, to update myself quickly to at least understand the issues that are addressed to me. As the Business Analyst is expected on all fronts, responsiveness makes the difference and allows not to be excellent but at least effective on all fronts.
What do you think is key to being an excellent business analyst?You have to be humble, learn quickly and not be afraid to say you don't know the answer. It might have been one of my weak points at the beginning but today it has become my strength. We always work in very competitive projects, where there are high expectations of the consultant (Business Analyst). As a consultant, It can be scary to say that we do not always know the answer. However, if we do admit this, it will help to identify the issue and get closer to the right people that will be able to teach us. The second point that joins the first is listening and learning. There is always a solution to a challenge, but you have to understand from the outset how the project team works. Who are the people who can help me learn and who are the people I have to help?
What about Agile and remote work, how have you handled the COVID situation?I see it as a very interesting experience. To me, it proves that although human contact is pleasant, we do not especially need to be physically present in the same space to work, exchange and learn. We continued to have our meetings and ceremonies (daily meeting, sprint review) remotely using the Microsoft Teams collaborative communication application. This app also offers an interactive whiteboard on which it is possible to recreate post-its, draw, write notes or even create complex diagrams. We have not encountered any particular communication or other problems. It really depends on the projects, but since our technical team is international, we were already used to working remotely. The team on-site has adapted very well by increasing the number of mini-vision during the day.
What are some concepts you would like to focus on in the near future to develop yourself as a professional?In the near future, I would like to focus on project management. As a business analyst, we see and hear a lot of things regarding the project. I would like to have the position that goes with this experience acquired and which allows us to look at the project as a whole. I am also very interested in developing my skills in business strategy. Business strategy requires good analytical skills, in order to help either companies, managers or directly large projects to know how to define themselves, to embark on a market.
De Facto Standard Documents in many Change MethodsIn a lot of change management methods, especially the more lifecycle- and process-focused ones, like MSP (5.) and Agile Change Management (1.), techniques are proposed to capture what needs to be changed, what the reason for the change is and how the change is linked to that reason. These techniques usually focus on putting something on paper and typically result in one of these types of documents:
- A vision A short, high level, motivating description of a desired future state, which explains where we want to go and the reasons why, and is used for communication purposes.
- A blueprint A more detailed “to be” description of this desired future state, which can be a POTI blueprint, a Target Operating Model, a Business Model, 7S model, Copafith description etc., and is used to be compared with the current “as is” state, to identify what changes are needed in more detail.
- Requirements Descriptions in one form or another for outputs or ‘deliverables’ needed to be able to implement the change. This can be in the form of epics, user stories, functional requirements, product descriptions, etc.
- A benefits map A model, map or visualization that explains the link between the end goal of the change, the more detailed changes and the outputs needed for that change. This can be a benefits map, a benefits dependency diagram, an objectives tree, a goal diagram, an Ishikawa diagram, etc.
Typical Uses of these documents: Governance, Quality, ControlA vision, blueprint, benefits map and requirements are often only used for governance reasons. Approved requirements mean that we can start working on them. An approved blueprint means management has agreed and given the go-ahead. However, this does not mean that they are motivating the people that must change the way they are working. These documents, if prepared well, inherently raise the quality of preparations of a change initiative. A coherent blueprint guarantees that we have not forgotten anything, a good vision statement helps to communicate and creating a common understanding of the change. Well-written requirements help in realizing the right outputs and well-defined benefits help in evaluating the success of a change. Still, for raising engagement in the change, technical quality alone does not suffice. Monitoring and controlling progress are other important uses of these documents, but when used solely for that purpose, they might actually be countering our effort to raise engagement. A vision and a benefits map should not be used only for governance, for raising the quality or for monitoring and control, but also for raising engagement.
Raising Change Engagement With a Vision and Benefits MapFor raising engagement with these documents, we must look at Dan Pink’s 3 areas for increased performance and satisfaction, autonomy, mastery and purpose:
- Autonomy — Our desire to be self-directed. It increases engagement over compliance.
- Mastery — The urge to get better skills.
- Purpose — The desire to do something that has meaning and is important. Businesses that only focus on profits without valuing purpose will end up with poor customer service and unhappy employees.
Limitations‘To participate in… as much as possible’ may sound vague. There are two situations I think are worth talking about that limit the participative approach:
- Dan Pink’s work on autonomy, mastery and purpose is especially relevant for people doing ‘knowledge work’. He said that as soon as more than “rudimentary cognitive skills are required” (3), these three factors become more and more important in motivating people. With people doing purely physical work the three factors are less relevant. In practice, however, knowledge work is becoming increasingly important in every sector of business, and so are Dan Pink’s three factors for motivation.
- Emergency change: “change or die” situations require speed and limit how participatory the change initiative can be. Of course, if an organization is in such a situation, the purpose of the change as a whole will be clearer as well. However, that does not mean that people understand how what is asked of them personally, is linked to this bigger purpose. Especially if they are asked to suffer the (sometimes dire) consequences of an emergency change. Low engagement and lower return on investment of the change are the logical results, which is only one of the reasons why management should try to avoid such an emergency change.
ConclusionTo summarize, to raise engagement for non-emergency changes that involve rudimentary cognitive skills:
- Ensure the purpose of the change as a whole is shared and understood, and also link the personal change activities to this purpose, using a clear vision statement and benefits map.
- Ensure benefits are SMART, specific, measurable and timebound, surely, but also attainable, relevant and ambitious (enough) on a personal level; and create a safe environment.
- Allow the people that have to change their way of working, to participate in the creation of the vision statement, blueprint, benefits map and requirements as much as possible.
More informationIf you are interested in managing change, how to prepare a vision, a blueprint benefits map or in the transformational change method MSP, visit our MSP and Change Management pages and learn how these courses can help you improve the management of change! MSP® is a registered trademark of AXELOS Limited. References 1. Franklin, M. (2014), Agile Change Management, Kogan Page Ltd, London, UK 2. Kotter, J.P. (2007), Leading Change, Why Transformation Efforts Fail, HBR, Jan. 2007, HBSPC, Brighton, USA 3. Pink, D., (2009), The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Riverhead Books, New York, USA 4. Smith, R. et al (ed.), (2014), The Effective Change Manager’s Handbook, Kogan Page Ltd, London, UK 5. Sowden, R. et al, Crown Copyright, (2011), Managing Successful Programmes, TSO, Norwich, UK
- PRINCE2 Foundation (or higher) - this only applies to certificates obtained after 1 January 2009
- Project Management Professional (PMP)*
- Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)*
- IPMA Level A® (Certified Projects Director)
- IPMA Level B® (Certified Senior Project Manager)
- IPMA Level C® (Certified Project Manager)
- IPMA Level D® (Certified Project Management Associate).
PRINCE2 Practitioner Exam Target
- Project Managers and aspiring Project Managers
- Project Board members (e.g. Senior Responsible Owners)
- Team Managers (e.g. Product Delivery Managers)
- Project Assurance (e.g. Business Change Analysts)
- Project Support (e.g. Project and Programme Office personnel)
- Operational line managers/staff.
PRINCE2 Practitioner Exam Format
- Language: English (please add the relevant languages for your markets)
- Duration: 150 minutes
- 25% extra time if you take the exam in a language that is not your native language
- Materials: The Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2
- This is an ‘open book’ exam. The Official PRINCE2 Manual, 2017 edition, should be used (and you can make notes inside the book), but no other material is allowed.
- Questions: 68
- All 68 questions are Objective Test Questions (OTQs)
- You should read the ‘Project Scenario’ which gives background information about the project that the questions apply
- Pass Mark: 38 marks or above (there is no negative marking)
- Level of Thinking: Bloom’s levels 3 & 4
- Bloom’s level 3 questions: The individual needs to apply his/her knowledge to a situation.
- Bloom’s level 4 questions: The Individual needs to analyze the information provided and the reason whether a course of action is effective/appropriate.
- Exam Format: Online or Paper
- Certificate Format: Online
- The online certificate is usually included in the exam fee, you could ask for a paper certificate to the Exam institute after your exam
PRINCE2 Practitioner Exam Questions examplesThe questions are all ‘multiple-choice’. There is a short description of a situation, and then a question. For the ‘classic’ questions (1 mark), you have a question and four options (A, B, C, D). For the ‘matching’ questions (3 marks) you have 3 pieces of information and you have to choose an answer for each from a list of 5 or 6 options.
Example ‘classic’ OTQAt the end of stage 3, the risk that production costs could exceed the sales for the software is estimated to be high, as all of the cost tolerance for stage 3 has been used. As a result, the project manager has defined tight cost and time tolerances for the work packages to produce the 'artwork' and develop the software during stage 4. Which principle is being applied, and why?
- 'Manage by exception', because the level of control retained by the project manager must match the tolerance available.
- 'Manage by exception', because action should be taken so that production costs do not exceed the album sales.
- 'Manage by stages', because cost tolerance should be set for each work package in a stage.
- 'Manage by stages', because team managers should be given authority before work can commence.
Example ‘matching’ OTQHere are three statements from the business case for the Music Album Project. Under which heading of the business case (A-F) should the statements be recorded? Choose only one for each statement. Each heading can be used once, more than once, or not at all.
- It has been decided to invest in a new singer.
- We need to keep up with our competitors who have seen an increase in sales from the new singers they are signing with.
- Current customers may not buy from us if they see a change in the style of music we sell. This may cause a decrease in overall sales.
PRINCE2 Practitioner ObjectivesThis exam has been developed to assess whether the candidate can apply and tailor the PRINCE2 project management method. As a candidate you need to demonstrate the achievement of these learning outcomes:
- Apply the PRINCE2 principles in the context
- Apply and tailor relevant aspects of PRINCE2 themes in the context
- Apply (and tailor) relevant aspects of PRINCE2 processes in the context
PRINCE2 Practitioner CertificateThe validity of PRINCE2 2017 Practitioner certificate is 3 year. This certificate will expire unless the candidate:
- Retake the PRINCE2 2017 Practitioner Exam before the expiry date.
- Maintain the certification through CPD points and a digital badge available on the Axelos website.
What are output, outcome and benefits?
OUTPUTDeliverable, also translated as results. Output can be a product and/or service that introduces something new (a change).
OUTCOMEThe change introduced by the output leads to an outcome, a final result, which offers direct benefits.
BENEFITSThe real “why” of the project. Benefits are measurable improvements resulting from the final result or outcome. What are the characteristics of these three elements and what is their relationship?
- The outputs are easy to measure; it is easy to see whether the output has been created/achieved or not.
- Outcomes are more difficult to measure and they interest the user. To measure them, you can, for example, interview those who use the product and/or service.
- The benefits are the hardest part and are difficult to measure. They are of particular interest to the people who have to decide to carry out the project. To measure them you can use collected data, statistics or surveys.
Relationship between outputs, outcomes, benefits in a projectAccording to The PM² Methodology Guide v3.0, all parties involved in the project must be able to identify the outputs, outcomes and benefits of a project. Without understanding, project participants can lose sight of the original goal and produce deliverables that have little (or no) value for the organisation. Since the project team finishes its work with the delivery of the output, it is the Project Manager who must ensure that they are implemented. In order to do so, he/she must create the vision from the beginning of the project and share this vision with the project team. While it is true that often the final results and benefits are realized only after the closure of the project, it is necessary to avoid reaching the conclusion of the project without the involvement and a clear vision for all team members. For example, the output of a project can be the development of new software that keeps user requests for a particular line of products. The outcomes can be service improvement, greater accuracy of the data collected and better user satisfaction. The benefits could be a 20% increase in product sales and 25% revenue growth.
Best practices for realizing the benefits of a project:
- Establish project KPIs: measuring is key. Also, make sure you create the right structure to measure. The KPIs help the whole team to focus on common goals and ensure the alignment of all the resources involved.
- Involve the project team. If you are the Project Manager focused on the final results and benefits expected by the organisation, you will inspire other team members. It is important to always have in mind the reason for the project. If you are a Team Member, question yourself and question your Project Manager if you are not clear about the vision of the project.
- Clearly written in the Business Case what the planned (and therefore expected) benefits are. Review estimates regularly, especially if real benefits are difficult to measure.
- Project management methods can certainly offer you a useful tool to check performance and have tools to improve it.