What is the Value of a PRINCE2 Certification?
If you’ve ever been curious enough about project management, or worked within the project management sphere for a length of time, you’re bound to have heard a reference or three to project management frameworks and methodologies.
Project management is a discipline that is predicated on control and structure. In order to hit specific goals and create project deliverables, projects must be managed systematically and workflows directed in some semblance of order. To do this, project managers use formal frameworks and methodologies as guidelines for structuring the management of their projects, to streamline processes, and direct the project towards success.
It could be said that modern project management was, in fact, born out of the creation of project management frameworks. With the creation of his Gantt Chart, among other planning techniques, Henry Gantt introduced the first formal planning and monitoring techniques in the 50’s, which helped to define project schedules as we see them today.
The world’s most widely practised project management framework is PRINCE2, unique in that it is one of the only project management frameworks you can certify in. A PRINCE2 certification is widely recognised across the global project management industry, but what does training in PRINCE2 really mean?
With over a million PRINCE2 certified project management professionals around the globe, it has to be inferred that the accreditation still has some clout. But with project management expanding into other industries, and in the face of today's dynamic business environment where arguably anyone is a project manager of some form, does the certification still hold the same value as it used to?
Over the course of this article, we look to demonstrate how and why PRINCE2 is still one of the most respected and useful project management qualifications today, despite the effects of the recent paradigm shifts the industry.
Is PRINCE2 Worth it?
Whilst 60% of PRINCE2 recipients in the United Kingdom, and a further 50% of PRINCE2 recipients from the Rest of the World, surveyed by AXELOS in 2016, had their certification funded by their organisation, an average of 50% from both categories were self funded. So, given its necessary allocation of valuable human and financial resources, it’s understandable why both private clients and companies continue to ask for the demonstrable benefits of a PRINCE2 certification.
Essentially you’re asking what PRINCE2 can do for you; will it help your current career, will having a PRINCE2 certification help you get a job?
Having a PRINCE2 certification on your CV has been proven to do both. To improve your performance in, and the trajectory of, your current role and to improve your employability in your future career. A majority of the respondents surveyed by AXELOS believing that, regardless of function, gaining a PRINCE2 qualification directly benefitted their career, with senior management and consultants leading the pack with a positive perception of the role PRINCE2 plays in their current job role.
Let’s break down how.
Can PRINCE2 Help You Get a Job?
In short, yes. Both the PRINCE2 Foundation and PRINCE2 Practitioner qualifications are internationally recognised, professional qualifications, which are well considered, if not often a prerequisite of a multitude of project management roles. And with the gradual osmosis of project management practices into other industries; a demonstrable knowledge of one of the most widely utilised project management frameworks, as well as a general understanding of project management principles, can benefit you in any career choice.
Unsurprisingly, over 70% respondents to the AXELOS survey were from outside of the typical PMO function, with a growing interest shown in training and certification from work roles not ordinarily associated with Project Management, such as HR, Marketing and Sales.
For more information on who takes a PRINCE2 certification, read our blog here: https://www.prince2training.co.uk/blog/who-takes-prince2-training-and-why/
Whilst the majority of AXELOS survey respondents indicated that they had obtained the certification after they had been in the industry for ten or more years, a significant number became accredited at the beginning of their career.
In a competitive job market it is simply not enough to have only a degree, as a degree alone does not prove significant expertise in your chosen field. A project management certification such as PRINCE2 adds value to your CV and proves a greater expertise than many of your peers. Especially if you are job hunting within the UK, India, Australia and Europe.
Similarly, for a lot of companies that use a PRINCE2 framework to run projects, knowledge of at least the fundamentals of the PRINCE2 system, which the PRINCE2 Foundation qualification provides, is mandatory.
Unlike other project management certifications, there are few prerequisites to attend the training for the basic PRINCE2 Foundation and combination PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner courses. Which is partly why it is such an attractive proposition for young professionals just beginning their careers. As it allows you to increase your capability and market your skills earlier than you otherwise would be able to, affording you better and more rewarding job opportunities.
However, a completion of the certifications won’t land you a coveted managerial role straight off the bat. As PRINCE2 is explicit in training you in the framework for managing PRINCE2 projects, it is equally as explicit not telling you how to directly manage the projects. Within PRINCE2, it is here that the project manager fills in the blanks, acting as the glue to the various pieces of the project.
Whilst it is part of the PRINCE2 Practitioner certification to demonstrate the direct applications of your training to real time projects, and your understanding of the framework, it is not a clear substitution for real time project experience. It is best to use the qualifications in conjunction with demonstrable project management experience.
Can PRINCE2 Help Your Career?
When asked why they chose to certify in PRINCE2, the highest number of responses surrounded career progression and skills development, with 60% of respondents stating that the PRINCE2 certification was valuable to their career. Unsurprisingly, those working in project, portfolio and programme management reported PRINCE2 as most valuable to their career, with Senior IT and Operations management shortly behind them.
Similar to the reasoning behind why PRINCE2 is so successful in securing jobs, the candidate's demonstration of fundamental project management skills and hard technical knowledge of the PRINCE2 framework, is key for workplaces that work both within, and outside of, the PRINCE2 project framework.
Combined with project experience, certifying yourself in PRINCE2 can equip you with the necessary accreditation and skills to demonstrate your readiness for a promotion, an increase in the responsibilities of your role, or even an accompanying pay rise.
But a certification in PRINCE2 can help push forward your career in more specific ways.
As the world’s most widely practised project management framework, a certification in PRINCE2 can help take your job prospects global. A proven, professional competency in an internationally recognised and utilised management system can open doors to jobs around the world. And give you the confidence to succeed there.
PRINCE2 isn’t limited to specific company, project, industry or culture. Qualifying you as a project management professional across a number of potential job markets. It’s totally transferrable and a great thing to have in your arsenal if you are thinking about switching roles or careers in the future.
It will consolidate your position as a qualified project manager, adding weight to your decision making and project direction.
Qualifying in PRINCE2 spruces up the CV of even the most experienced and well tested project managers, showing that alongside years of relevant experience, you’re still updating yourself with today’s best practices. Think of it like a refresher driving course, purging you of all the bad habits you may have picked up over the years.
If you’re a freelancer or contractor, having a PRINCE2 qualification on your CV makes it much easier to sell your reputation and your skills. It’s evidentiary proof you’re using a consistent and proven methodology that companies can understand and feel in control of - and know you’ll deliver on.
It’s always a safe bet. When looking to train and develop employees, HR departments frequently turn to PRINCE2, the de-facto standard for project management. They know that a PRINCE2 certification equates to world class training and successful project management, so why wouldn’t they hire you?
Can You Get a Job With PRINCE2 Foundation?
Choosing the right PRINCE2 course for your career is essential, and whilst you can definitely get a job with PRINCE2 Foundation, it may not be of equal seniority to one you would be able to apply for with the PRINCE2 Practitioner accreditation.
The PRINCE2 Foundation course checks your comprehension of the PRINCE2 concepts, frameworks and terminology, whereas the PRINCE2 Practitioner accreditation ensures that you can apply and action it in real time PRINCE2 project environments.
If you want to make an entryway into project management roles, like an Associate PM, or Junior Level Profile, then PRINCE2 Foundation may be all you need. If you’re planning on applying for a more senior role, then alongside relevant experience, PRINCE2 Practitioner is what HR will expect from applicants.
As a rule, when looking for a new career, if PRINCE2 is on the requisites, the majority of companies will be looking for a PRINCE2 Practitioner certification.
Is PRINCE2 Still Relevant?
In the face of the fluctuating nature of project management as it is today, some industry insiders have heralded the death of accreditations like PRINCE2 as outdated. Citing their decades of use within the project management industry as a sign of being stuck in their respective pasts.
But with PRINCE2 only this year, 2017, updating it’s syllabus in to reflect new industry competencies, does that accusation still hold up?
PRINCE2 has frequently adapted to the needs of its end user, and has gone through more than one reinvention in order to update its processes to meet with the changing requirements of the industry. PRINCE2 2017, it’s most recent incarnation, has met the need for malleability in our expanding industry, reducing the stringency of what can meet, at its minimum, the requirements of a PRINCE2 project.
Moreover, the application of the PRINCE2 framework within projects, still provides an invaluable structure that drives project success, through three key benefits.
PRINCE2 gets projects completed on schedule
PRINCE2 gets projects completed under budget
PRINCE2 delivers quality and compliance
Project failure is still a huge problem within the project management industry, and a framework that can drastically reduce project scope creep, and improve the chances of sustainable success, is of great value in any project environment.
But how does PRINCE2 do this?
How PRINCE2 gets projects completed on schedule
PRINCE2 Standardises Projects
One of the biggest value additions PRINCE2 offers to any project. By aligning every person on the project in a universal approach, through common procedures, filing systems and document sets, PRINCE2 clarifies the project structure and saves time in the training, auditing and tasking of projects.
PRINCE2 is a Project Roadmap
By detailing a process based, step by step method, from the conception to the close of a project, no matter what happens in the project, you’re guaranteed to find a point somewhere within the PRINCE2 methodology to deal with it. From there, the linked processes and common sense will take you to your desired outcome, with the added benefit of time and resources saved from economy of effort.
How PRINCE2 gets projects completed under budget
PRINCE2 is Budget Case Driven
If the customer is at the heart of every PRINCE2 project, then the Business Case is the driving force behind it, and must be at the centre of the project from the start, middle and end. The project must demonstrate the continual justification of the Business Case in order to proceed to the next step. In every PRINCE2 framework, there are mandatory assessment and update points to ensure the project is consistently delivering something of value to the customer.
PRINCE2 is Front Loaded
Before proceeding with the project itself, a lot of work is put into ensuring that the project is viable. Even when its viability is originally established, further work is put into the proper planning, risk assessment and ensuring the end requirements of the customer are clarified and understood. The time taken to ensure the project is validated at its outset mitigates the cost of future errors once the product has been built.
How PRINCE2 delivers quality and compliance
Product Based Planning
All PRINCE2 projects begin with a comprehensive period of Product Based Planning (PBP). Here, Product Descriptions are clarified to provide specific guidelines for the composition, quality and checking of products (project outputs). By articulating a common standard of quality which must be reached/approved for each deliverable, all project team members are working towards the same quality goals.
Change is an inevitable part of any project, no matter how comprehensive you plan. In PRINCE2 there is a built in framework to deal with potential change and risk, allowing for the capture and analysis of all project issues, and providing a universal procedure for the responsive decision making and subsequent documenting.
Define Roles and Responsibilities
Prior to the commencement of the project, each member of the team will receive a description that specifies the responsibilities within their role, so there is no resource wasting through overlap or confusion.
PRINCE2 can form part of an organization's overall Quality Management System and can be mapped to other quality and compliance standards like SOX or ISO.
So, whether you’re a graduate, an entry level project team member with big aspirations, or an experienced project veteran, gaining a certification in PRINCE2 can not only benefit your career and your performance within a PRINCE2 project setting, but also the performance of the project itself.
For more information on how to certify in PRINCE2, head to our blog, or contact us on 0800 0355 832, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.