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 An Introduction to Prince2 Courses for Project Management | PM Tools - PM Tools

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An Introduction to Prince2 Courses for Project Management

What are PRINCE2 Courses?

PRINCE2 stands for Projects in Controlled Environments, version 2. It is a method of project management that was originally created in the late 1980s as a government standard for IT. However, it quickly became widespread both within and outside the IT industry and the second version, released in the mid-1990s, was designed as a more general system. PRINCE2 courses are a popular way to prepare for the accreditation exam, which is now a de-facto standard for both the government and the private sector. Companies that use PRINCE2 include Barclays, British Telecom, GlaxoSmithKline, Tesco and Vodafone.

Format of PRINCE2 Training

PRINCE2 courses provide a structure for project management: ‘a best practice approach to running Projects in a consistent and reference-able framework.’ They aim to establish defined roles for those involved, and to ensure that the different stages and procedures of the project are carefully delineated. PRINCE2 courses focus on eight main processes, divided into 45 different sub-processes. Each phase has key requirements and goals, enabling easy evaluation and efficient distribution of resources. The standard framework means that participants are clear about their own roles, and those of others involved.

Unlike some other project management training methods, PRINCE2 courses concentrate on delivering goals rather than on activities and procedures. The methodology of PRINCE2 is in the public domain, although it is considered normal to learn it through a training course in order to maximise the benefits.

PRINCE2 is fully scalable: because some processes will be unnecessary in many projects, particularly smaller ones, each step contains notes on how much should be applied in different situations. The method can therefore be tailored to the needs of the specific project, rather than being applied rigidly in all cases.

PRINCE2 Courses in Action

PRINCE2 has been described as ‘structured common sense’ – a way of formalising responsibilities, time-scale and outputs, and optimising resources, in the course of a project. There are areas it does not cover, such as budgeting, risk management and people management, and it is therefore better suited as an additional tool for those who already have some project management experience, rather than as a one-stop-shop for beginners.

For example, a broad outline for a software project might be:

1. Start Up (SU): appointing team and creating brief

2. Initiating project (IP): creating project plan

3. Design

4. Development

5. Test

6. Installation

7. Close Project (CP)

PRINCE2 Courses and Accreditation

PRINCE2 courses can help students to gain accreditation by preparing them to pass two exams: Foundation and Practitioner. Those interested may be able to study for the exams themselves, but many prefer to take a course in order to learn directly from an experienced professional trainer. The only requirement is a general knowledge and experience of project management.

The Foundation qualification entails a one-hour exam. The format is 75 multiple-choice questions, with a pass mark of 38 (51%).

The Practitioner qualification entails a three-hour objective-testing exam, consisting of nine 40-mark questions and with a pass mark of 180 (50%). To stay accredited, Practitioners must retake the exam every five years.

Due to the fact that so many organisations use PRINCE2 as standard, the Practitioner qualification may be a necessary job requirement for those who wish to project manage in certain environments. Those involved in a supporting role may find the Foundation qualification useful. Although many people may have been project-managing for years without such a qualification, it can be a very useful way to illustrate competence when changing job.

Finally, organisations that wish to adopt PRINCE2 will need to train a group of individuals and trial a project to see whether it is right for their needs.

Robert Norton wrote the Article ‘An introduction to PRINCE2 Courses for Project Management’ and recommends you visit http://www.afaprojects.com for more information on PRINCE2 courses.
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