What is the best project management certification? PMI or PRINCE2?

What is the best project management certification? PMI or PRINCE2?

Project management is essential for businesses across various industries. It captures the optimal allocation of time, budgets, resources and scope of work to achieve a clearly-defined goal. Good project management practices not only help to keep all the involved parties on the same page but also provide valuable guidance during times of crisis or catastrophes. Unfortunately, project management is also one of the most underrated and misunderstood areas of practice. Too many team leads and project managers confuse legitimate project management with just basic planning and monitoring. When the cost of implementing project management methodologies into processes is factored in, it is likely that most businesses are not practicing proper project management after all.

Where does project management come in?

Often, the best way to get started on implementing a firm project management system is to learn the basics. Project management is a very deep area of study in which you need to know the ins and outs in order to discern how it can be best applied to your business. This is where project management certifications come in.

Project management certifications

A project management certification is not the same as a degree or any other educational qualification. Certification is basically a highly-focused program that encompasses everything about one area of study, which in this case is project management. Depending on the type of certification you select, you can deeply specialize in one area, thereby excelling in a niche segment.

Do I need a project management certification?

Although there is a subtle shift away from needing paper qualifications to do certain jobs, project management still remains an area of study that is best learned in a structured environment. There are many universal project management theories and frameworks, each with its own set of principles and terminology. While it is technically possible to self-learn these, having a project management certification adds a level of credibility to your skills that cannot be attained in any other way. Getting certified also helps you better understand the methodologies in use and indeed, certain frameworks require you to have their certification. It also provides you with leverage to ask for a pay raise.

Two of the most popular and widely-recognized certifications are PMI and PRINCE2.

PMI

PMP, or Project Management Professional, is an industry-recognized certification for project managers, as it covers the general principles of project management and does not restrict itself to a particular industry. It is offered by PMI (Project Management Institute), USA, and is arguably the most popular project management certificate currently available. PMP is a standardized certification no matter which country you obtain it from, which means that it provides a high level of credibility worldwide. PMI also offers CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) which is easier to obtain than PMP and is a less rigorous program. It was established in 1984 and has over 500,000 members from over 180 countries (source).

PRINCE2

Established in 1989, PRINCE2, or projects in controlled environments, is a project management certification awarded by the UK government and is much narrower in scope than PMP. The PRINCE2 certification includes very strict principles and methodologies to be followed in implementing project management in any type of business or process. Comprising two certification levels – PRINCE2 foundation and PRINCE2 Practitioner – it is a scalable framework which can be tailored to most companies and processes fairly easily. The PRINCE2 project management certification is really useful only if you are already working with a PRINCE2 framework or planning to introduce it in your company in future.

Is PMI or PRINCE2 certification more suitable for me?

PMI and PRINCE2 project management certifications are two different frameworks which are highly effective and arguably the most popular certifications currently available. They are focused on the successful management of projects, teams and processes in a structured manner. While both certifications are extremely credible and widely-recognised, each comes with their own set of pros and cons.

While there are many similarities between the PMI and PRINCE2 certifications, the differences are quite subtle. Here are the main differences between the PMI and PRINCE2 certifications:

PMI certificationPRINCE2 certification
It is more of a knowledge-based certificationIt is more of a methodology-centric and process-based certification
Covers a wide range of project management techniques and competenciesA more rigid framework that includes clear templates, processes and steps
Offered by PMI, USAOffered by the UK Government
Includes 12 knowledge areasIncludes 6 variables
There are five types of PMI certifications available to choose fromTwo levels of qualifications are available – PRINCE2 foundation and PRINCE2 Practitioner
Takes time to completeCan be completed in a short period of time

Selecting which certification is more suitable for you is very important as it is a key qualification with the potential to not only boost your employability but also transform the way your business works. Your choice of certification depends on a number of factors, such as:

  • Industry sector: certain industry sectors prefer one certification over the other due to a better framework-product fit; your employability in your chosen industry will improve depending on which certification you select
  • Geography: each certification has a higher demand in selected regions. For example, while PRINCE2 is more sought-after in the UK, Europe and Australia, PMI is preferred in the USA, Canada and the Middle East (source)
  • Business or company: the most suitable project management framework also depends on your business or company that you work for – how it is structured, how teams are divided etc. If you are committed to your current workplace, it is worth considering it when deciding on the most suitable certification

Conclusion

Project management is a key skill that is currently in high demand worldwide. It helps streamline processes and reduces wastage of time and resources, thereby increasing profits. Getting a project management certification is highly beneficial for anyone working in this field, and is guaranteed to give your skills and employability a boost. While the PMI and PRINCE2 certifications are not the only options you have for project management certifications, they are by far the most popular and widely-recognised. Even if you compare these certifications with any others, you will find a number of similarities when it comes to the learning material as well as the philosophies; however, the frameworks and processes might be different in each. Selecting the most suitable project management certification is crucial as it affects how you market yourself and how you handle projects at your workplace. There are many factors that should be considered when making your selection. At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong choice, and you always have the option of getting a double-certification.

February 21, 2022

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