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What is the difference between Foundation and Practitioner certification?

A PRINCE2 Foundation Certificate indicates an understanding of the fundamental concepts of PRINCE2®. It is awarded after passing an examination of 1 hour consisting of 75 multiple choice questions.

The Practitioner Certification shows that not only are the concepts understood but that the person is able to apply them in different situations, to projects of different sizes and taking into account the special nature of the project.PRINCE2® Practitoners are expected to be able to scalePRINCE2® and tailor it to meet particular needs. The Practitioner Exam is a 2.5 hour Objective Test. It is misleading to call it a multiple choice paper, although answers are selected in a separate answer booklet. The questions are based on a scenario and require a solid knowledge ofPRINCE2® as well as the ability to apply it to a particular situation.

Is it true that PRINCE2® is very bureaucratic?

This is one of the most irritating misconceptions aboutPRINCE2® It is based on a shallow analysis of the methodology and is more often an excuse for avoiding a structured approach.

PRINCE2® has been developed for use with any size of project. It is obviously not necessary to throw the book at small to medium sized projects. Indeed each of thePRINCE2® processes includes a section on scalability and the architects of the methodology stress that each process needs to be approached with the question, “How extensively should this process be applied on this project?”

Are templates available?

Templates can be found on the official PRINCE2 website.

How doesPRINCE2® compare with PMBOK?

Both PRINCE2 and the Project Management Institute’s Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge are based on best practice in project management. There are no contradictions in the two approaches but there are different emphases. Experienced project managers can effectively integrate both approaches. Some fundamental differences are listed below. More information can be obtained from the articles provided on the download section of this page.

PRINCE2®
PMBOK
The approach to be taken by a project and its final deliverables are known at the start. If the approach is not clear, then there may be a preliminary project with a deliverable of a feasibility report.
Projects may include a feasibility study.
The Product Based Planning Technique of PRINCE2 is used to define project outcomes as ‘products’. Activities are derived from the product flow. The focus is on the project’s deliverables.
A Work Breakdown Structure is used. The focus on activities occurs at the start.
A Customer/Supplier environment is assumed with the focus on the customer’s Business Case. It is the customer’s Business Case which drives the project.
No assumption is made on the organisation in which the project manager sits.
Projects are controlled by a small Board representing the interests of the Customer, Supplier and End-user of the project’s products. The Board is a decision making body chaired by an ‘Executive’ who is ultimately responsible for the delivery of the business benefit.
Steering Committees tend to be larger and meet on a regular basis.
In the initial planning for the project, it is divided into ‘Stages’ based on management reviews or decision points. Approval to proceed is given on a stage-by-stage basis. During a stage, the project manager has full authority for the day-to-day management of the project. The Board requires only short reports provided the stage remains within agreed tolerances. A review of viability occurs at the end of each stage or if the tolerances are forecast to be exceeded. This is the concept of ‘management by exception’
Projects are seen as following certain pre-defined phases aligned to the project life-cycle. The project manager is responsible for delivering the project and reports regularly at meetings of the Steering Committee.
Recent articles in the PMI journal have referred to an Adaptive Project Framework which in some part, incorporates the PRINCE2 idea of ‘Stages’.
Apart from the Product Based Planning technique, PRINCE is not prescriptive on the tools to be used or on areas such as leadership qualities, procurement processes etc.
PRINCE2®  takes the view that these aspects are well covered by proven methods or possibly affected by organisational standards or cultural differences.
PMBOK includes several skills and specialist areas in the tool set of the project manager including Earned Value Analysis and Procurement principles