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How to achieve PRINCE2 certification

PRINCE2 is a best practice framework for project management relied on by organisations around the globe as an essential benchmark of capability for delivering successful projects.

The two levels of PRINCE2 certification, Foundation and Practitioner, are considered key qualifications for any individual looking to follow a project management career path.

After completing the PRINCE2 Foundation exam, you will have sufficient knowledge to work effectively with, or as a member of a project management team that is using PRINCE2.

The PRINCE2 Foundation Course

The PRINCE2 Foundation course teaches the basic terms and principles of the methodology that are used frequently in PRINCE2, to equip recipients with a clear understanding of their role and responsibilities within the project team, as well as the means to communicate effectively.

It is the first step for any individual looking to increase their project-based employment prospects, such as when applying for project administrator or project co-ordinator roles.It will also help professionals in the fields of marketing, IT and technical support and administration with their project requirements.

The PRINCE2 Practitioner Course

Succesful completion of the the PRINCE2 Foundation exam allows you to progress onto the Practitioner certificate, which is viewed as an equivalent to the PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP) or Association of Project Management Professionals (APMP) qualifications, but is no longer a pre-requisite to the practitioner level.

By passing the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam, individuals will be considered able to meet the needs of any organisation that relies on PRINCE2 to deliver successful projects. It will also benefit anyone in the design, development and delivery of projects, including project board members, product managers and business analysts.

When to take the training

Making a decision on when to take the training will depend on your circumstances and the opportunities that are available to you as an aspiring project manager, but should be seriously considered ahead of any job hunting as the qualifications are often a pre-requisite to being considered for many project-related positions.

For anyone that is finding it tough to get into an entry-level project role, gaining a PRINCE2 certificate is the obvious first step to take.

Learning a structured project management method early on in a project management career will provide an essential framework for understanding what is needed to successfully deliver projects.

However, some prior exposure to working in a project environment can lead to a better understanding of PRINCE2 – particularly the problems inherent in projects, and as a result, can provide better value from the training.

It is easy to see why PRINCE2 certification is a vital first step for anyone looking into becoming a project manager, however, while the practitioner level will reassure potential employees that a candidate has sufficient knowledge to use and tailor PRINCE2 to the needs of the project (through the detailed processes, roles and responsibilities that it provides) it does not cover the whole range of competencies required to deliver projects successfully - particularly the broader skills needed to deal with the inevitable times when projects don’t go smoothly.

These relationship-based skills (covering communication, leadership, motivation and team-building, as well as the more technical and specific tools such as critical path analysis and the earned value technique) are taught on the Project Management Profession certificate based on the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK). They are therefore vital for supporting any longer-term career advancement in project management. For any individuals unsure of whether to take the PRINCE2 qualifications or the PMP certification route from the outset, it is important to consider that while they seem very different, the two approaches are highly complementary to each other and can offer project managers a more rounded appreciation of the profession early on.

Combining both approaches to begin with will not only give aspiring project managers a powerful set of tools to deliver projects successfully, it will also significantly increase their career-development opportunities.

See also:

PRINCE2 vs PMP to learn more about the benefits of combining PRINCE2 and PMP.