Prince2 or PMP?

A question quite often asked by our prospective learners is ‘which is the best PM qualification’ and our immediate response would be ‘it depends’. There are many ways to solve this headache, with one of them being boosting your academic credentials. There are two major certifications for project professionals: PRINCE2, which stands for Projects in Controlled Environments; and PMP, an abbreviation for Project Management Professional.

PRINCE2 is administered by AXELOS, while the Project Management Institute (PMI) owns the rights to the PMP qualification. These qualifications are the most recognised and recommended for project managers. The bottom line is they are industry driven.  Nonetheless, let’s have a look at PRINCE2 vs. PMP; two respected certifications that pose a problem to individuals who are torn between which of the two is more relevant to their careers. Before we proceed, lets compare their basic structures.

Prince2 Overview

PRINCE2 is a course based on a set of principles and is administered by APMG (UK based) to individuals both in the UK and internationally. It has a sophisticated, well-defined methodology that outlines in detail the steps that a project should follow in order to be delivered successfully within a controlled environment. It is product based and does not define activities the project manager should engage in. It also spells out clearly the roles and responsibilities of the most influential and powerful stakeholders. It provides well-defined templates to facilitate smooth execution of the project and concentrates on tracking benefits through the lifecycle.

Salient features of PRINCE2 include:

  • It is product based
  • It provides for tracking business benefits
  • It can be tailored to any size project
  • It describes precisely the roles and responsibilities of each member of the team tasked with managing the project.
  • It structures out the planning state into Project Plans, Stage Plans and Team Plans, which eliminates ambiguity and makes it easier to execute the project.

PMP Overview

PMP is a methodology that is structured around the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK). It measures your ability as a project manager to complete a project based on your experience and understanding of project management. The course is administered from the USA and is currently by far the most widely recognised PM qualification in the world.

It differs from PRINCE2 as it is a process and activity based methodology. You are required to have some experience in the field, unlike PRINCE2, where there is no such prerequisite for the person to have field experience prior to sitting the exam.

Salient features of PMP include:

  • It is based on processes and activities
  • It can be tailored to any size project
  • The PMBOK represents a body of knowledge or encyclopaedia of knowledge on PM
  • The Project Management Institute provides a plethora of reports, guidance documents and templates to support its members
  • It is a dictionary of terms related to project management.


What does industry want?

Again it depends. The IT industry is dominated by the large US corporates such as, Google, Microsoft, Apple and Intel. If you are interested in project management within this sector PMP is generally the norm.

The Public Service agencies tend to lean towards Prince2 considering it originated from HM we can see certain aspects of Prince2 which would serve this sector well.

What about geographical location?

If you are seeking work in UK, certain European countries such as Netherlands, Denmark and Germany, and Australia we recommended you consider PRINCE2 if you want to improve your chances of securing a job there. If you are intend to work in North America or Asia, we would advise you to consider PMP certification. However it is important to do some research into the specific business  before you apply for that job.

Is it Advisable to do Both Courses?

PMP is concerned with the knowledge and skills that are necessary for successful project management and delivery, while PRINCE2 is mostly focused on the framework and processes for successfully executing a project. Both are very successful and entirely adaptable for projects we therefore do not recommend you take both exams.

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