Should I become a Prince 2 Practitioner?

Prince 2 is a project management methodology. It was established by the UK government, and whilst there’s not a lot of evidence that they are any good at project management – and plenty of evidence to suggest they are rather bad at IT project management – the methodology itself has been picked up by the private sector as a thorough approach to managing a project in a controlled way. Relatively few organisations apply it ‘by the book’ – most will adapt it to their own needs and risk profile.

How can I become a Prince 2 Pracititioner?

You will need to undertake a course, normally around 5 days long, and two multiple choice exams. The first, Prince 2 Foundation, is fairly striaghtforward, closed book, and most course providers run this on the afternoon of the second day or the morning of the third day of the course.

The second exam, Prince 2 Practitioner, requires you to stay awake and pay attention all week whether you have prior project management experience or not. You’re allowed to take the manual to the second exam, but it won’t help much as there is a time limit. The best exam tip is to make sure you know exactly where everything is the manual, so if you have time at the end you can go through the questions you’re not sure about with the manual to hand.

What does Prince 2 cover?

The syllabus is based on the manual poduced by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), and is designed to enable you tomanage a proejct using a defined methodology. As a result, it doesn’t cover other approaches to project management.The other point to note is that whilst it will explain the process, it doesn’t provide any challenge or help you assess it’s appropriateness or applicability in your organisation or project.

What does it cost?

The fees are set by course providers – in the UK, expect to pay anything from £600 to £2,000, including the manual and exam fee. You can, in theory, take the exam directly. It’s more expensive though, and no-one does. To make sure you get value for money, ask around to find the good trainers and course providers in your area. Whilst it’s not cheap, pass rates are fairly good and arrangements can be made to resit.

How long will it take?

Generally a week. If you’re not familiarwith project management, it’s a good idea to spend some time getting familiar with the approach first.

Do I get letters after my name?

No. You can call yourself a ‘Prince 2 Practitioner’. That’s quite a lot of letters though, so it’s one for the CV rather than the business card.

Do I need to do CPD?

No. The certification is valid for five years, after which you need to sit an update exam. Usually, this is done as part of a short refresher course.

Is it for me?

If you audit projects run along fairly traditional lines or in a bureaucratic manner, it’s the most appropriate project management certificate. If you audit public sector projects in the UK, it’s a no-brainer. If, however, you spend your time with software development teams who use words like ‘agile development’ and ‘extreme programming’, you’ll find it hard to applyin any meaningful way. If you’re not sure what approach your organisation takes, speak to the project managers and ask them if their methodology is based on or developed from Prince 2. If the answer is yes, Prince 2 Practitioner will raise your credibility and help you udnerstand their approach.

How do I get started with Prince 2 Pracititioner?

Visit the APM group web site to find out more about Prince 2, or do a web search for training courses near you.

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