To PMI or to Prince2?

From time to time I get the question from people in my network if they should choose for a Prince2 or a PMI certification.

First of all, great idea to invest some time & effort in a Project management certification! Whether this is based on Prince 2, PMI, IPMA or Agile PM…in all cases this will be an added value for your future career.

This article is not intended to explain in detail what Prince2 or PMI is. Goal is to give you some help in deciding if you want to go for a PMI or a Prince2 certification, based on my personal experiences.

Both of these project management standards have the same goal in mind: successfully managing projects and teams. Depending on your background and the time available, you can base your decision on the inputs below.

1. Prerequisites that you need to have

  • Prince2 foundation: none
  • Prince2 practitioner: prince 2 foundation certificate
  • Prince2 agile practitioner: prince 2 foundation certificate or PMP certificate
  • PMI CAPM: 1500 hours of project management experience or 23h of PM training
  • PMI ACP: 2000 of project management experience + 1500 hours of project experience in agile teams
  • PMI PMP: 4500/7500 hours of project management experience (depending on education level) and 35h of PM training

2. Level of difficulty & time to study:

From easy to difficult: Prince 2 foundation => Prince 2 practitioner => PMI CAPM => Prince 2 agile practitioner => PMI ACP => PMI PMP

For Prince2 foundation you can take the exam directly after the course…for PMP you’ll need several weeks of study on your own.

Prince2 foundation and CAPM is about understanding all the concepts & definitions. Answers can be found in literally in the handbook. Prince2 practitioner and PMP is all about situational questions…depending on the context you’ll need to evaluate which answer is (in)correct/the best/which is the first thing to do. This means that it could be possible that other answers are also correct, but you’ll have to select the ‘most correct’ answer.

3. Your preferences regarding the exam format & timing:

  • Prince2 foundation: closed book exam with 75 questions to be completed in 1h
  • Prince2 practitioner: open book exam with 80 questions to be completed in 2,5h
  • Prince2 agile practitioner: open book with 50 questions to be completed in 2,5h
  • PMI CAPM: closed book exam with 150 questions to be completed in 3h
  • PMI ACP: closed book exam with 120 questions to be completed in 3h
  • PMI PMP: closed book exam with 200 questions to be completed in 4h

Important: for PMI, a new version of the handbook (PMBOK 6th edition) has just been released. This means that the exam will change as from March 2018. Take this into account when you schedule a training in the coming months.

4. The organization you are (planning) to work for and/or the career plans that you personally have

If you are working for a firm that has its project governance based on Prince2, the benefit for the organization is lower if you’ll go for a PMI certification. Probably, in this case, they’ll also not be eager to sponsor your training request. Prince2 has its origin in the UK whereas PMI originates from the US, so if you are working/would like to work in a US/UK firm…the decision is also easier to make.

If your intention is to become a freelance project manager, it will be an added value to have both certifications.

Hope this could be of any help to you. In case you would have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

One last golden tip to help you out with passing the exam itself: practice as much as you can with sample questions. Good luck!

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