PRINCE2 vs PMP Certification? Get Both

PRINCE2 vs PMP is the wrong question to ask.  PRINCE2 and PMP are useful and complementary tools in your skill set – they don’t compete.  Certification in the PRINCE2 methodology is an excellent complement to your PMP credential and awards  PDUs for instructor led classes or online learning.  If you are a PMP, PRINCE2 already recognizes your prior learning so you can skip the PRINCE2 Foundation exam.

So do I need PRINCE2 and PMP Certification?

Short answer:  yes – they cover different sides of the project management coin.  They increase your earning potential, enhance your skills and improve your employability

PRINCE2 and PMP are the most popular global project management certifications: but they are different:

  • PRINCE2 is a project management methodology – it covers, in detail, the processes and activities which a project management team must carry out to deliver a project of value to the sponsoring organization.
  • The PMP credential, based on the PMBOK Guide, is the sum of knowledge of the project management profession. It covers what is generally accepted on most projects, most of the time.

PRINCE2 vs PMP Certification

This post will mainly compare PRINCE2 vs PMP certifications.

PRINCE2 Registered Practitioner what does it test?

The Practitioner level exam tests your ability to apply the PRINCE2 methodology to non complex projects.  You need to be able to analyze project management situations and make decisions based on PRINCE2.  The exam is mapped to Levels 3 and 4 (Application and Analysis) of the internationally accepted Blooms Taxonomy of learning objectives.

The exam syllabus is taken entirely from the official manual: “Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2”

PRINCE2 Foundation Exam

This level aims to measure whether a candidate would be able to act as an informed member of a project management team using the PRINCE2 method within a project environment supporting PRINCE2. To this end they need to show they understand the principles and terminology of the method, specifically, candidates must be able to:

  • Describe the purpose and major content of all roles, the seven principles, the seven themes and the seven processes.
  • State which management products are input to, and output from the seven processes.
  • State the main purpose, and key contents, of the major management products.
  • State the relationships between processes, deliverables, roles and the management dimensions of a project.

Examination format

  • Multiple choice
  • 75 questions per paper
  • 5 questions to be trial and not counted in scores
  • 35 marks required to pass (out of 70 available) – 50%
  • 60 minutes duration
  • Closed book

PRINCE2 Practitioner exam

The PRINCE2 Practitioner exam is 2.5 hours long and consists of 8 questions based on the PRINCE2 Themes and Processes.  It is based on a scenario which is about a page long.  The 8 questions can have additional scenario information added which is specific to that question.   The exam can be paper based or taken online.  The Practitioner is an open book exam but only the Managing Successful Projects manual can be used.

Does PRINCE2 Recognise your Prior Learing for PMPs?

Yes.  If you are a PMP you don’t need to take the PRINCE2 Foundation exam, which is a pre-requisite for non-PMP candidates.  You still need to learn the details of PRINCE2 at the Foundation level though.  This level of knowledge is needed to move to the higher levels of analysis and application, which are tested in the Practitioner exam.

How do I maintain the Qualification?

Every 5 years you need to take the PRINCE2 Re-registration exam.  This is a 1 hour test at the same level as the Practitioner paper.  Re-registering shows that your knowledge of PRINCE2 is current and aligned to the latest version of the methodology.  It can be done on paper as part of a class or online. Whereas the PRINCE2 Foundation is for life and does not require the Re-Registration package.

Project Management Professional

The PMP is based on the PMI’s Project Management Body of Knowledge guide.  However this is not exclusive; PMI prepare the PMP exams based on role delineation studies which aim to measure “all elements of the project management profession in terms of real settings.”  PMI say there are commonalities between the PMP exam but that the exam authors are “not bound” by the PMBOK.  There’s a lot of debate about how much of the exam is taken from the PMBOK

The PMP exam is a 200 question multiple choice exam.  The test lasts 4 hours and is normally computer based at a Prometric testing centre.  Paper tests are available in some circumstances.  The PMP is a closed book exam – nothing can be taken into the exam centre with you.

To sit the PMP you need:

  • A secondary degree, such as a high school diploma, with 5 years and 7,500 hours experience leading projects or…
  • A four year degree, such as a bachelors, with 3 years and 4,500 hours experience
  • In both cases you also need to show 35 hours of project management education

How do I maintain the Qualification?

PMI require you to obtain 60 Professional Development Units in a 3 year period.  Roughly speaking 1 hour of project management education equals 1 PDU.  There are different ways to gain PDUs such as courses, reading or volunteer activity.

In Summary

It depends on your reasons for certification

  • If you are looking for a job: your first certification should be the qualification that is most common in your market.  Check out what is used most in your industry.  If you are targeting particular employers check the LinkedIn profiles of key employees to find out which certifications they value.  Remember that many British and European organizations have large operations in Canada and many Canadian Government departments are now adopting PRINCE2.  So don’t assume by geography
  • If you are starting out in project management:  PMP might be closed to you because it requires at least 3 years experience.  So PRINCE2 Practitioner might be the best place to start, or considerPMI’s CAPM credential which has lesser requirements

Certifications are like apple pie – you can’t get enough of them.

It’s an increasingly globalized world so the PRINCE2 vs PMP question is much less relevant.  The old idea that PRINCE2 was for Europe and the UK Commonwealth while PMP is for North America is outdated.  Job adverts in both places are now asking for PRINCE2 or PMP equally.  In markets where one certification is prevalent you can stand out from the crowd by having the other.  Certified project managers deliver better projects and are paid better than non-certified counterparts.

So, what are you waiting for?  Forget PRINCE2 vs PMP – get both!

Testimonial: “Super glad to be associated with Bizville PM, fantastic facilitator. Lovely ambient all the right mixes that made it easy down the road of becoming a PMP’’ – Tolani Ogunmoye, PMP

“I passed the PMP exam last week and earned the global credential; PMP. Proud alumni of Bizville PM. Great things happen with PMI…” – David Aromokeye, PMP

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