PRINCE2® myths exposed
Since I started as a PRINCE2 trainer way back in 2006, I’ve come across a number of common misconceptions about PRINCE2. In this article I’ll try to challenge some of the most common of these myths.
1. PRINCE2 is only for IT projects
The idea that PRINCE2 is only suitable for IT projects couldn’t be further from the truth. This misconception probably arises from the method’s earliest incarnation as a project management framework developed by the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency in the late 1980s. As such, ‘Projects in Controlled Environments’ (PRINCE) was originally devised to support the UK government’s IT projects.
In fact, so effective was the method that its potential to serve any kind of project was quickly realised, leading to the introduction of PRINCE2 in the mid-1990s. Its status as a ‘best practice’ project management method richly deserved, PRINCE2 has now helped thousands upon thousands of organisations to better plan and manage their projects.
The truth is that as a generic project management method, PRINCE2 can be applied to any project, large or small, in any industry. Its adaptability is one of the many reasons for the method’s success and popularity in over 150 countries.
In the most recent version of the PRINCE2 manual which was released in 2017, lots of additional guidance was introduced about tailoring PRINCE2 to different project environments. This means that PRINCE2 is even more practical and useful today than it’s ever been.
2. PRINCE2 is only for waterfall projects
Again, this misconception probably arose because when PRINCE2 started out in 1996, the concept of agile projects hadn’t even been thought of. In the 80s and early 90s almost every project was conducted in a waterfall approach.
As agile projects have become more prevalent, best-practice methods such as PRINCE2 have kept up to date by understanding how to adapt the core PRINCE2 method so that agile methods can be incorporated. So today, PRINCE2 can be used on incremental, iterative or waterfall projects.
3. Preparing for a PRINCE2 course takes a long time
Using carefully designed pre-course materials, Knowledge Train focuses the time you spend prior to the course. Usually, our delegates spend on average about 7 hours of study prior to attending one of our Foundation courses.
Tightly focused and clearly written, our PRINCE2 prep materials introduces the method and its key terminology, while a full-colour process model diagram helps to reinforce major concepts. The prep uses a variety of learning tools - text, videos and diagrams, often in the form of mindmaps.
Our trainers understand that it is unhelpful to overburden people in the days or weeks leading up to their course. The majority of Knowledge Train’s PRINCE2 delegates are busy professionals with demanding schedules, so the pre-course preparation is designed with their needs in mind.
Available via our convenient and easy to use portal, the preparatory reading is accompanied by several interactive features, including quiz questions to stimulate your learning.
4. PRINCE2 is project management software
PRINCE2 is in fact a generic project management method, not computer software. The method is underpinned by key principles, themes, and processes designed to give your project the best chance of success at every stage of its development. Among the areas targeted by PRINCE2 training are the importance of the business case, strategies for managing quality, risk, stakeholders and configuration items.
Highly adaptable, the PRINCE2 framework can be applied to any project, regardless of its size or the nature of the business environment in which it operates. Since its introduction in 1996, PRINCE2 has benefited more than 20,000 organisations and is a leading project management method in both the private and public sector.
PRINCE2 courses are a popular choice among individuals seeking effective project management training. Knowledge Train is accredited by AXELOS to deliver PRINCE2 training and offers classroom-based courses in London with the option to study via elearning also available.
Naturally, PRINCE2 can be implemented alongside project management and project support software.
5. You need experience to attend a course
The truth is that PRINCE2 training is open to all. There are no pre-requisites to attending a PRINCE2 course; you are not required either to hold a certain qualification or possess ‘real world’ project management experience in order to train in the method. PRINCE2 can be applied to any kind of project, and this is reflected in the diversity of people who train with us.
Some delegates on Knowledge Train’s PRINCE2 courses are working on, supporting, or managing projects and require formal training in this field; some attend because they are retraining to work in project management and wish to enhance their employment prospects with PRINCE2 qualifications; others may simply be interested in the subject matter.
The first level of PRINCE2 training, Foundation, is ideal if you are working on or supporting projects using the PRINCE2 framework. Achieving Foundation certification demonstrates that you possess a clear understanding of the PRINCE2 approach to projects. If you aim to manage projects using PRINCE2, you would also benefit from training at Practitioner level. Registered PRINCE2 Practitioner status is often cited by employers as a requirement among candidates for project manager job vacancies.
6. PRINCE2 exams are essay-based
Whichever PRINCE2 exam you wish to take – Foundation or Practitioner – you will not be asked to write any essays. All PRINCE2 exams are based on the multiple-choice testing format, whether they are paper-based or taken online. For each question, candidates select what they believe to be the correct answer from a list of four options.
Until a few years ago, anyone being examined at Practitioner level was required to complete an essay-based exam. Now, people are often relieved to find that it is no longer necessary to write at length when attempting to obtain or re-register the PRINCE2 Practitioner qualification! Even if you originally passed the essay-based Practitioner exam, for example, you would complete a multiple-choice Practitioner exam when aiming to renew the qualification.
Multiple-choice exams can marked faster than essay-based papers, reducing the amount of time it takes to provide candidates with their results. Provisional Foundation or Practitioner exam results are normally sent to our delegates on the same day of the exam. Official results are sent 2-3 business days later, alongside an e-certificate if you have passed.
Simon Buehring is the Founder and Managing Director of Knowledge Train.