Emad Zakaria

13 Apr 2016

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Who takes the PRINCE2 & Why?

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This question has been bugging me for a while, especially when you look at the statistics of how many people are taking their PRINCE2 accreditations:
“There are already tens of thousands of people around the world who are fully qualified as PRINCE2 Practitioners. So extensive is its use and applicability that in the last 12 months over 25, 000 people have qualified as PRINCE2 Practitioners. Currently more than 700 people a week take a PRINCE2 exam,”  Taken from ByteStart
25,000 people in the last year alone and over 700 people a week! Surely there isn’t that many project managers out there to even take the training course and exam in the first place? Of course the answer is, it’s not just project managers who are taking PRINCE2 accreditations, so who is taking PRINCE2 and why are they doing it?
Over the course of a few weeks I spoke to six random people who were all celebrating their recent success in passing the PRINCE2 Practitioner level (taken from the #PRINCE2 category via twitter),  only one was an out and out project manager.
mjm is a service manager, working in the private sector for public sector clients. When asked why he recently took his PRINCE2, he responded, “pretty much all the change that I deliver is governed by PRINCE2 and ISO20K. I guess they (the organisation) want me to do more of the project management myself. In practice(doing PRINCE2) just makes me second guess the project and programme elements more.
frtu recently got made redundant from an administration job and used the funding from her employer to do PRINCE2, “so hopefully I can get a decent job!”
smes is an IT Manager in the Third Sector and his organisation are looking at standardizing on a project management methodology. He has just completed his foundation level in PRINCE2 and is looking to self-finance the practitioner level as he has bought into the PRINCE2 method. I wanted to find out more about smes situation, I asked, “As an IT Manager, does that mean you’re also the organisation’s Project Manager?” smes is the project manager for purely IT projects and for larger more complex projects that are cross directorates he is co Project Manager/Senior Supplier. I also wanted to understand about the self-finance of the PRINCE2 practitioner, if the organisation are looking to standardise its PM methodology, surely it makes sense to fund their Project Manager? smes said, “They’ve not decided if PRINCE2 is for them. I recognise it’s very handy to have. I did the PRINCE2 2005 version so I need to be quick to do the PRINCE2 2005 Practitioner level and also working in the Third Sector means money is tight, so self-finance will have to be the way to go.”
mani has just passed her PRINCE2 Practitioner and is a Business Logic Analyst, she “wanted further information on project management processes, I work with Project Managers alot. Now I understand the whole process”. It costs alot of money (approx £1200, to do both Foundation and Practitioner levels in PRINCE2) so I was keen to find out if mani could have saved herself some money by just completing the Foundation level, especially as all she wanted to do was understand the processes. mani explained, “If I did the practitioner level, I would have the scope to pursue it later on (in my career) also I did the fast track course (doing both Foundation and Practitioner within a 5 day course) so it was cost effective to do both at the same time.
bobson is an animator who ended up as a web designer and is currently managing a team within a small organisation. bobson said “I’m choosing PRINCE2 because I know nothing about project management – but seem to have ended up overseeing it. I didn’t really want it but there is a need for someone to do it. PRINCE2 came up first in Google – and thats all I really know about it”. A pretty honest reason why bobson is looking into PRINCE2, and his answer gives a good insight into how PRINCE2 has become so dominant in the project management field, anyone browsing the web to understand project management can’t help be bombarded by PRINCE2. Many of us within the project management field know that PRINCE2 is only part of the story so what is bobson hoping to gain if he did go down that route? “Our projects are getting bigger so we’re going to need get more staff – but we cant do that till we’ve got more projects to generate revenue. Structure and direction are being focused on so I figured I better learn about Project Management properly if my team is to expand”. bobson is a typical relunctant project manager and we tend to see alot of this within smaller organisations where there is a need for project management skills but a relunctance to recruit the specialist skill. Making do with current in-house staff, regardless of whether their own career paths are pointing to project management, has become more prevalent and incredibly it’s often the individual who has to foot the bill for their own development. bobson goes on to say, “I’m still a bit loathed to spend £1200.. boss wont pay for me. Thinking I may get the books – teach myself, and do the exams? Sadly, they say they pay us to do a job, and its our responsibility to ensure we maintainour skillset.”
And finally danr is actually a project manager delivering IT projects within the public sector, he recently passed his PRINCE2 Practitioner examinations for the second time (it’s a requirement that PRINCE2 Practitioners refresh their accreditation every five years), I asked what the benefit was to him in doing this, surely as a practicing project manager using PRINCE2 everyday you don’t forget? danr said, “It was mainly down to the changes in PRINCE2:2009, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing something new. Also the organisation paid for it so I thought why not?”
I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to speak to me about their recent dealings with PRINCE2, it’s been an interesting insight into how PRINCE2 has started to infiltrate UK businesses, non project roles and of course the  project management arena. During September there will be another 700 people, from all walks of life, who take the PRINCE2 course and learn about a single method of delivering a project. That’s 700 people, of which only a small amount will actually deliver a project using a method they’ve just become qualified in.
Have you recently attended and passed your PRINCE2 accreditation? Leave a comment and let us know why you decided to take PRINCE2

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