Project Management is and will stay a fundamental skill.
Every aspect of every professional role can be considered part of project management and/or its implementation. In order to acquire the skills necessary for a successful future, it is therefore important to invest in training and professional development.
There are many methods and certifications in the world of project management, but among these the most famous are certainly PMP® and PRINCE2®. We very often receive questions about the difference between the two certifications, so we decided to give you all the information by comparing the most important elements of both.
PRINCE2 (Projects In Control Environment)
PRINCE2 is an integrated project management method that provides a set of processes and issues applicable to the management of a project from start to finish. PRINCE2 provides a model of what needs to be done, who needs to do it, and when it needs to be finished.
PRINCE2 was developed by the UK Office of Government Commerce (OGC) in 1996 and is a registered trademark of Axelos. The current version is the PRINCE2 6th Edition.
PMP (Project Management Professional)
PMP, which stands for Project Management Professional, is a standard, a “body of knowledge” (PMBOK). It contains “everything” you need to know and do in Project Management. PMP covers the broad spectrum of project management skills and techniques that Project Managers may need to apply, such as leadership and negotiation.
The certification was developed and is issued by the Project Management Institute (PMI), an authoritative body in the field of project management.
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The differences between PRINCE2 and PMP
The key difference is that while PRINCE2 is a methodology, PMP is considered a body of knowledge.
The PRINCE2 method can guide and tell you how to proceed with your projects. To help you achieve your goals, it also provides templates that you can use or adapt to your projects and the needs of your organization.
PMP on the other hand, provides a framework, a body of project management knowledge.
It can provide you with a range of techniques and tools that you can apply according to your needs.
This means that PMP certification certifies the mastery of Project Management skills and techniques, while the PRINCE2 certification certifies the ability to manage the project in a controlled manner following the PRINCE2 method.
An example. To create a plan in PRINCE2 it is necessary to estimate the activities – there are various techniques that can be applied depending on the project, but PRINCE2 does not say what these techniques are.
The PMBOK instead offers an explanation and analysis of the range of estimation techniques available so that you can choose what fits best for your project.
PMP and PRINCE2 comparison
Both certifications can be applied to any type of project.
They are both standards and can be adapted or tailored as needed.
Importance and diffusion
Both are certainly two important and prestigious certifications, recognized worldwide. In general, PRINCE2 is more widespread in Europe and PMP in The United States of America. Both certifications can be required for participation in public tenders.
On a more individual level, both can also improve and influence the CV and career path of a professional.
Levels of certification and prerequisites
PRINCE2 consists of two levels: PRINCE2 Foundation and PRINCE2 Practitioner.
The Foundation level contains the theoretical part of the method, so it serves to have a general understanding of the methodology. There are no prerequisites for this level, but experience in project management is recommended. The Foundation certification does not expire and is a prerequisite for accessing the next level, the Practitioner.
The Practitioner level gives the possibility to understand how to apply the method in practice. The Practitioner certification lasts for 3 years. In order to access it, you must have one of the following certifications:
- PRINCE2 Foundation,
Of course, we recommend the PRINCE2 Foundation certification as it is useful to know the method and then be able to apply it.
PMP consists of a single certification level and has well-defined prerequisites. In order to take the exam with the Project Management Institute (PMI), it is necessary to demonstrate that you have attended at least 35 hours of training and to demonstrate project management work experience.
- for those in possession of a degree, it is necessary to have achieved project management work experience for at least 4,500 hours over a minimum of 3 years
- for those in possession of a high school diploma, having achieved project management work experience for at least 7,500 hours over a minimum of 5 years.
The PRINCE2 exams to obtain official certifications can only be taken through an ATO (Accredited Training Organization). ATOs are accredited by Axelos. ATOs typically offer PRINCE2 training courses which include the PRINCE2 Foundation and PRINCE2 Practitioner certification exams.
The PMP exam must be taken at one of the Pearson Vue centers, the only ones recognized by PMI for the exam part. The exam must be booked through the PMI, the exam preparation courses can instead be taken at an R.E.P (Registered Education Provider) of the PMI or other training institutions.
A fundamental element is a certificate that demonstrates the 35 hours of training (contact hours).
PRINCE2 and PMP. Conclusion
PMP and PRINCE2 certifications are certainly different from each other but they have a common goal: to improve the success of projects.
The choice of one over the other must be based on several factors which may include your personal professional needs. You have to really understand whether you are looking for a methodology that could help improve the managing of your projects, or whether you are more curious to learn the ins and outs of project management.
Another important aspect that can influence your choice between PMP and PRINCE2 is the current methodology that is used by your organization. But also market needs, personal growth, and general management may impact your choice.
Of course, the two certifications are compatible: if you have the PMP certification it might be useful to learn the PRINCE2 method. Likewise, after obtaining the PRINCE2 certification, you could read the PMBOK Guide and evaluate the PMP certification to demonstrate your knowledge and skills along with your Project Management experience.
Download our infographic containing all the information: PMP VS PRINCE2 infographic
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QRP International is an official ATO for PRINCE2, accredited by Peoplecert on behalf of Axelos. We’re authorised to deliver PRINCE2 training courses online, on-site or in an e-learning format. We also provide preparation courses for the PMP exam.