Prince2 is a process-based method for project management that is recognized across the world. Project managers aspire for this certification not only to showcase their expertise and commitment to the profession but to also learn the skills required to manage the project effectively. To this end, there are two courses and subsequent exams when discussing Prince2 namely PRINCE2® Foundation & PRINCE2® Practitioner. In this article, we will explain the difference so that aspiring candidates know where to start from when embarking on this wonderful journey.
Prince2 stands for Projects IN Controlled Environments and was developed by the UK government as a way to standardize and improve the management of projects. It has since been adopted by many institutions across the globe helping project managers in diverse fields. The structure of PRINCE2 is set up in such a way that irrespective of the field you operate in, you are able to implement what you have learned, and this is what makes PRINCE2 so special.
The PRINCE2 Foundation course and subsequent examination is the entry-level PRINCE2 certification and is applicable to current and aspiring project managers alike. Any other functions involved in the delivery of a project can also take this course which offers benefits to anyone working within a project context. Its aim is to lay down the foundations of the PRINCE2 method and its many benefits to the business.
By following this course, you can expect to learn the fundamentals of PRINCE2 however do not be misguided – what this course offers is not only the building blocks of more advanced certification but a solid understanding of project management which you can begin to implement straight away.
By following this course you will learn how to start and close the project in a controlled way by applying the principles promoted by PRINCE2. In managing projects, you will also learn how to divide the projects into manageable chunk whilst being able to delegate, control, and monitor the project and its progress. Change control and optimized decision making s also covered in this course along with an understanding of regular reviews and communication between all stakeholders.
Learning all of this, as any project manager can attest to, can greatly and vastly improve the skills and competencies of both project manager and the organization as this methodology filters its way through the ranks and the projects. If you are looking for a way to improve your performance and manage the project better, this is definitely one of the best ways to start towards that journey.
The PRINCE2 practitioner is a more advanced certification aimed at established and prospective project managers looking at establishing themselves and increasing employment opportunities. To be able to sit for the practitioner exam, prerequisites are set in place in the form of one or more certifications from the following;
- Prince2 Foundation
- IPMA Level A – D
Keep in mind that examination results will be withheld until you provide proof that the prerequisite has been met. As such, it is advisable to check the validity of any certification you may hold with regards to the prerequisite to avoid disappointment.
The PRINCE2 Practitioner course builds upon the foundations laid out in the foundation’s course and examination, covering the entire project process from inception to completion and everything in between. It will also teach you the techniques to implement everything you have learned in actual real-life projects; perfect from both existing and aspiring project managers looking to increase they’re on the job performance or improve their career prospects by showcasing your knowledge thus greatly improving your chances of success.
The practitioner course can be done pretty much straight after the completion of the foundation examination, with some learning service providers offering courses that cover both certifications. This setup can be ideal for those looking to get fully certified as quickly as possible with both foundation and practitioner courses typically running for 2 days each. If you are able to follow this format, then you could essentially be looking at a very productive week indeed at the end of which you will be a fully-certified project manager holding a globally-recognized certification, ready to go.
Both exams have a 55% pass mark with the foundation exam lasting for one hour whilst the practitioner exam taking two and a half hours. Whilst the foundation exam is a closed book exam with multiple-choice questions, the practitioner exam is open book, which means you can bring a hard copy of the ‘Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2®’ book in with you during the actual exam. PDFs are not allowed whether they are in printed or digital format so make sure you have a physical copy of the book before applying for the exam. This exam is also objectively tested which means there are right and wrong answers so choose carefully.
Exams can be a tough experience and this can apply to both foundation and practitioner exam. Do not underestimate the power of the foundation examination – it lays out the foundation of the entire PRINCE2 certification and as with anything else, a strong foundation is of the utmost importance to continue to build and grow upon.
Project management is not the easiest of careers however it can also be one of the most rewarding ones. Whilst it is true that a good percentage of projects fail and do not make it to the closure phase, having a framework and knowledge such as what is thought in PRINCE2 can go a long way in helping you manage projects more effectively thus decreasing the failure yet. This is exactly why both project managers and those looking to become one should undertake this certification to improve their project execution and make their career future a far brighter one.