Is PRINCE2 certification useful?
I usually reply that PRINCE2 certification may get our foot in the door for a job with central government, particularly in the UK, but not with private enterprise.
Our NZIM project management courses are often attended by PRINCE2-certified public servants.
Wow, doesn’t PRINCE2 certification mean that we already have the knowledge and skills needed to manage projects? Not at all – PRINCE2 training is mostly about higher-level project control and governance. It does not address project management fundamentals such as:
• How to lead and motivate our project team, manage a diversity of stakeholders, or any other of those people skills essential for project management success.
• How to apply basic scheduling, estimating, budgeting and control tools and techniques, and what specifically to do to keep our project on track.
Imagine we have just completed big amounts of PRINCE2 pre-course work, have attended some costly and tedious classroom tuition about a multitude of confusing processes, and passed the requisite tests, in the wishful expectation that we can now competently tackle our burgeoning project workload, only to discover we can’t manage a project!
While PRINCE2 does recognise that we will need to prepare a project plan with Gantt charts, budgets and cashflow forecasts etc, and that we can’t progress to the next PRINCE2 gateway if we don’t, it’s up to us to learn about such practical detail – hence the growing attendance of frustrated PRINCE2-certified students on NZIM project management courses.
PRINCE2 represents a hefty overhead, and is impracticable for smaller projects, which of course most projects are. And despite the plausible rhetoric from smooth-talking sales people, scaling PRINCE2 remains problematical at best, since to a considerable extent the whole integrity of the methodology is compromised if we don’t do it all.
If we must have a cut down version, it would be useful to retain the PRINCE2 business case focus, whereby our project remains rigorously aligned with business objectives. However, we don’t need PRINCE2 and its bestial bureaucracy and re-invented terminology, to have sound justification for a project. Nor incidentally do we need PRINCE2 product flow diagrams, which the advocates tout as the best thing since sliced bread, but that’s another story.
A few years ago PRINCE2 was hailed as the panacea. Now the verdict is mixed. While it is mandated for UK government projects, this has not prevented some recent, classic failures.
So, there we are – “PRINCE2 certified” does not equate to project management competency. To achieve that goal we recommend attendance on an NZIM project management course, top among which is our Diploma in Project Management. This NZQA Level 5 practical qualification requires that course participants actually apply a commonsense methodology to their work-based project in order to graduate.