September 20, 2017

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Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

Certifications for Professional Project Managers

By Linky van der Merwe

In a previous article about being a professional project manager, we explained the characteristics of a professional, the type of qualifications within the profession as well as the benefits to the individual and the organisation. This article will explain the main project management bodies, as well as the certifications on offer.

Who are the recognised Project Management Bodies?

Certifications for professionalsThere are three main recognised bodies for project management who provide a range of project management best-practice methodology, principles, qualifications, certifications and professional membership.

There is considerable overlap with what each of the three Bodies considers as best-practice project management. The differences tends to be more related to the level, focus, breadth and depth of project management principles, processes, techniques and methods rather than there being any fundamentally conflicting views about best-practice project management.

The three main recognised project management bodies are:

  1. Project Management Institute (PMI) – The PMI is the largest global membership association for project management professionals. At the heart of the PMI philosophy is ‘A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide)’, comprising of core project management processes and techniques. Training is delivered through PMI Registered Education Providers (REP). PMI is headquartered in the USA.
  2. Association for Project Management (APM) – The APM’s mission statement is to develop and promote the professional disciplines of project and programme management for the public benefit across all sectors of industry. At the heart of APM ethos is the APM Body of Knowledge (APM BoK), comprising fifty-two knowledge areas required to manage any successful project. APM BoK provides a framework and key principles for managing projects. Training and examinations are delivered through APM Accredited Training Providers. APM is headquartered in the UK.
  3. Association for Project Management Group (APMG) – The APMG is the registered examination institute and administer qualifications, certifications and accreditations for Axelos on behalf of The Cabinet Office. The Cabinet Office is the owner of the PRINCE2 method for managing projects and MSP for managing programmes. PRINCE2 is an acronym for Projects In Controlled Environments. MSP is an acronym for Managing Successful Programmes.PRINCE2 is a structured process-based method for effective project management and a de facto standard used extensively by the UK Government and is increasingly used in the private sector.

Certifications offered

The most well-known certifications in the project management marketplace today are awarded by these three institutions.

1.      PMI®:  Project Management Institute

PMI is the world’s leading not-for-profit membership association for the project management profession, with more than half a million members and credential holders in 185 countries. Their worldwide advocacy for project management is supported by a globally-recognized standards and credentials, an extensive research program, and professional development opportunities.

  • CAPM®– Certified Associate in Project Management
  • PMP® – Project Management Professional
  • PgMP® – Program Management Professional
  • PMI-RMP® – Risk Management Professional
  • PMI-SP® – Scheduling Professional

2.      APM:  Association for Project Management

As the largest independent professional body of its kind in Europe, their membership extends to more than 20 000 individual and 500 corporate members throughout the UK and abroad.

  • Introductory Certificate in Project Management
  • APMP
  • APM Practitioner
  • CPM: Certificated Project Manager
  • APM Risk Certificate – Level 1
  • APM Risk Certificate – Level 2
  • Registered Project Professional (RPP)

3.      APMG-UK:

APMG-UK is the United Kingdom arm of APMG-International, a global Examination Institute accredited by The APM Group. APMG-UK specialises in the accreditation and certification of organisations, processes and people, within a range of industries and management disciplines and is currently the Official Accreditor of the Office of Government Commerce (OGC).

  • Agile Project Management
  • APMP Foundation, Practitioner, Professional Bid & Proposal Management
  • CHAMPS2 – Change Management Foundation
  • CHAMPS2 – Change Management Practitioner
  • Earned Value Management (EVM) Certification
  • PRINCE2® Foundation
  • PRINCE2® Practitioner
  • PPS – Programme and Project Sponsorship
  • M_o_R® Foundation and Practitioner (Management of Risk)
  • MSP® Foundation, Practitioner, Advanced Practitioner Managing Successful Programmes

4.      IPMA®:  International Project Management Association

The IPMA® is a world leading, non-profit making project management organisation which represents more than 50 project management associations from all continents of the world. The organisation actively promotes project management to businesses and organisations around the world in order to increase the recognition of the profession.

  • IPMA: International Project Management Association
  • Level A – Certified Projects Director
  • Level B – Certified Senior Project Manager
  • Level C – Certified Project Manager
  • Level D – Certified Project Manager Associate

5.      Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a business management strategy originally developed by Motorola, USA in 1981. (Unfortunately, there is no recognised Six Sigma accreditation body or single organization which oversees a standard body of knowledge or standardized Six Sigma tests and certification).

  • Six Sigma Certifications
  • Yellow Belt Certification
  • Green Belt Certification
  • Black Belt Certification
  • Master Black Belt Certification

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Looking for a Project Management Training Service Provider?

Review Article

Training with KnowledgeHut

In the dynamic world we live in today, learning policies within organisations are evolving at rapid speed in response to emerging technologies. Traditional, formal and scheduled training methods have given way to more informal and on-demand forms of learning, with an increasing accent on blended and e-learning delivery modes. Continuous training and collaboration helps organizations stay at the cutting-edge of change.

Global Training Provider

KnowledgeHut is a Global leader in online and classroom training for on-demand certifications like PMP, PMI-ACP, MS Project, PRINCE2 and more. As an industry-leading training company operating across 70 countries and 6 continents, their courses are aimed at delivering measurable improvements in business performance and productivity. Training is delivered across the US, Canada , Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, UK, Ireland, APAC and SE Asia.

Training with KnowledgeHut

Agile and Scrum training in Sydney on 1st February’17

Professionals who have completed their courses are equipped with state-of-the-art knowledge and technical skills that enable them to stay at the forefront of their careers.

KnowledgeHut works with the Global Blended Model of Approach (GBMA), an effective method that makes training and learning easier for individuals and organizations in the industry. This methodology works through a blend of extensive online training in tandem with traditional classroom based learning. Participants have consistently achieved positive training results, with a shorter learning curve and significantly higher retention of the subject matter.

Specialties

KnowledgeHut is a registered Education Provider (REP) of Scrum Alliance, PMI and IIBA. It’s also an ATP of EC-Council, CompTIA, APMG for PRINCE2 training, as well as a certified partner of AXELOS and the disciplined Agile consortium and Scaled Agile Inc.

KnowledgeHut offers an extensive selection of vendor-authorized training and certifications for PMI, Microsoft, APMG, CompTIA, and Scrum Alliance among many others.

Close the skills gap

They specialize in training, consulting, Scrum Master Training, Certification courses as well as e-Learning. Have a look at their Infographic on the Future of IT.

If you want to train with a company whose mission it is to empower human capital through industry accredited, nationally and internationally recognized courses to close the skill gap, visit KnowledgeHut and find the course that will make you more successful in 2017 and beyond.

Training Service Provider: GreyCampus – Training Project Professionals, Enhancing Careers

Certification training to develop new skills is an important aspect of career advancement. It not only recognizes your skills, but helps you get hired in a dream job. A 2012 Microsoft study highlights certification as an important hiring criteria. For hiring managers, a certification represents high skillsets for a candidate.

In a recent IT professionals survey, more than half of respondents stated that they landed new jobs due to a certification. It is part of important criteria for selection in project management jobs. If you plan to become certified in 2017 and you are looking for training, consider GreyCampus as the one-stop destination for all your training needs.

Introduction to GreyCampus

GreyCampus is a private education management company. Founded in 2014, it has its head office at Dallas, Texas in the United States. It is a leading training provider and has helped train more than 10,000 professionals worldwide. It provides training to professionals in the areas of project management and quality management. It is a registered education provider (REP) for many professional training courses. GreyCampus has also partnered with institutes like PMI, Axelos, PeopleCert, PRINCE2 and more.

Training methods

GreyCampus conducts training through the following methods:

  • Instructor-led online classes
  • Instructor-led traditional classroom courses
  • Self-learning online courses.

Project Management Training

PMP exam preparation courseThe project management courses at GreyCampus are available in the following modes:

  • Instructor-led
  • Online self-learning

The course provides learners with the essential tools needed to pass the exam. It is aligned as per the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK) Guide, Fifth edition. It is also competitively priced to make learning affordable.

The instructor-led classes, both online and classroom are priced at $999. The online self-learning course is priced at $400.

GreyCampus also offers courses on CAPM and PMI-ACP certifications in different learning modes.

PRINCE2 Training

PRINCE2 FOUNDATIONGreyCampus offers the following courses around PRINCE2:

  • PRINCE2 Foundation Training and Certification course. It is available in both instructor-led and self-learning modes.
  • PRINCE2 Practitioner Training and Certification course. It is available in both instructor-led and self-learning modes.
  • There is also a 3-day instructor-led only PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner Combo course.

Project Professionals

GreyCampus training offers short courses to help project professionals earn Category A Professional Development Units (PDU). These PDUs help them keep their PMI certification, to develop themselves and to be up to date in the job market.

For example, the Microsoft Project Fundamentals priced at $5 will earn the student 5 PDUs. The Project Schedule Management Basics priced at $10 will gain the student 10 PDUs.

The other project applicable courses available are Project Collaboration and Management, MiniTab Online Training, Slack Introduction and many more.

Special offer

Project managers who are looking for training in 2017 can check the details of the project management courses on the GreyCampus website. You can check the course schedule, eligibility and location and make your choice as per your needs.

In partnership with Virtual Project Consulting, GreyCampus offers a special discount of 50% if you sign up from here. Just use coupon code PROJCOL.

***Some links are affiliate links.

Best Tips to Pass the PRINCE2® Exams

By Simon Buehring

Tips for PRINCE2 examsIf you’re about to sit your PRINCE2 exam then here are some simple tips which will help you to maximize your score and increase your chances of passing. Of course, the tips below won’t guarantee you will pass, but they will give you a better chance of passing.

Tip #1: Prepare, Prepare, Prepare!

Make sure you are well prepared by having completed all pre-course reading and homework during the course. Thinking you can skip homework and instead go out with friends during the course, is a high risk strategy and should only be attempted by those who are already very familiar with PRINCE2.

Tip #2: Drink lots of water

Drink plenty of water during the exam. Your brain needs water to function properly. Don’t give it extra stress by consuming diuretic drinks (tea, coffee or coke) which are likely to dehydrate you and slow down your brain function.

Tip #3: Read the question

This sounds like stating the obvious, but it’s amazing how many students fail to follow this simple tip. If you don’t read the question properly, then you are more likely to provide the wrong answer. Just missing out one word can change the entire meaning of a question.

Tip #4: Don’t hang around

Spending too much time answering one question is going to leave you with less time to answer the remaining questions. A good time-management strategy is therefore essential. Work out the average time available for answering each question and stick with it during the exam.

Tip #5: Tab your manual

This tip only applies only for the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam which is an open book exam. If you don’t know your way around the manual easily then you will spend too much time trying to find an answer in the book. That time might be better spent answering a question that you do know the answer to. So, before the exam, ensure you have put a coloured tab into the most important pages/sections. If needed, write your own table of contents for quick indexing of important pages.

Conclusion

I’ve highlighted the top 5 tips for helping to pass the exam, but for a deeper understanding of how to pass the exams, I suggest that you read these free ebooks Passing the PRINCE2 Foundation exam and Passing the PRINCE2 Practitioner exam.

About the author: Simon Buehring, is an approved PRINCE2 trainer and the founder of Knowledge Train, which is an accredited PRINCE2 training organization based in the UK.

PRINCE2® is a registered trade mark of AXELOS.

What is PRINCE2 and How Popular is it?

For a better understanding of PRINCE2 in the Project Management context, please refer to this article:

Understanding PRINCE2 in the Project Management Context

For more information about PRINCE2 and how to implement it in your organisation, please refer to:

Understanding PRINCE2 and How to Implement

Today I would like to share an Infograpic from Knowledge Train, a PRINCE2 training provider. It is about the popularity of PRINCE2 as the preferred project management qualification of choice.

The most recent annual figures released by APMG-International for 2012, show the number of PRINCE2 examinations taken globally rose 5% compared with 2011. The figures show more than 144,000 people sat PRINCE2 examinations in 2012 compared with 136,000 the previous year. By the end of 2012, more than 1 million candidates had taken PRINCE2 exams since 1996.

In fact, the total number of exams taken in 2012 was the highest on record,  and also saw record numbers of candidates take both Foundation and Practitioner examinations.

PRINCE2 exam popularity statistics – An infographic by the team at Knowledge Train PRINCE2 training

Clash Between the Titans: PRINCE2 vs Project Management Professionals

This post was sourced from an article that was published in “The Project Manager” magazine, authored by Dr Christopher Worsley.

The clash referred to here is between the institutions or training companies providing PRINCE2™ courses and who are promoting method accreditation versus training organisations offering courses that promote professional project management.

It has taken time and much research, some funded by the national and international project management associations, to develop a consistent view about what makes a good project manager.

There remains work to be done, but consensus is growing about their attributes, and for a professional curriculum and valid assessment criteria to be created.

Where is the problem?

The problem is the difference between education and training.

Not sure what the difference is? Simply check your reaction to your child coming home and saying he/she had sex training rather than sex education at school today!

Institutions who offer PRINCE2™ would claim that some 50 000 individuals sit the PRINCE2™ tests every year, while the institutions who offer PMP certification educations would be hard-pressed to find 5 000 taking advanced project management qualifications worldwide.

We need to worry that the personal development budget for future project managers is being consumed by training programmes, when this money could be better spent in educating them in project management.

Senior executives want people skilled at running projects. People skilled at running projects are distinguished by their attitudes, their skills, the responsibilities they intuitively accept, and the tasks and procedures they follow.

It is a well-researched finding that the best predictor of project performance is level of previous project experience. None of these are the outcomes from the typical five-day accreditation training course, including two days of tests.

What project management education does, is develop judgement and attitudes. It focuses on disciplines, not procedures, and forces focus on the factors that lead to success in projects.

There is a place for procedures. They are the distilled wisdom from hundreds of man years of others’ experience, but they are not rules, they are guidance; something that someone – whose only exposure to project management is a method course and anecdotal experiences, shaped by that method – rarely grasps.

How to resolve the clash?

The first and most important thing is to make the case for developing project management expertise, rather than project method expertise.

The major project management organisations, such as the APM, the International Association of Project Managers (IAPM) and the Project Management Institute (PMI), must make their cases much clearer and deliver to the marketplace clear guidelines about what good project management education should look like.

Both the APM and the PMI have long-standing entry-level knowledge programmes that are preferable starting points for project management education, but they suffer from many of the same faults as the method accreditation courses, with a public image that attaining these underwrites some sort of professional status in project management when they patently do not.

And project managers who value their contribution to their organisation and to their country should demand loud and clear that they are professionals and expect professional status with all that comes with it: recognition, responsibility and qualifications.

Dr Christopher and Louise Worsley are Managing Directors of PiCubed, Delivering Change through Projects, Portfolios and Programmes, a South African centre for excellence in project management. It is a sister company to CITI – a highly respected project management education and consultancy business in the UK.

Understanding PRINCE2 and How to Implement

Today is the second article in the 2-part series for project managers to understand PRINCE2 and how it can be implemented. Now that you know that PRINCE2 is a process-based approach to project management, you may be interested in the history of PRINCE2.

What is the history of PRINCE?

PRINCE stands for Projects in Controlled Environments. It is a project management method covering the organisation, management and control of projects. The Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA), now part of the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), first developed PRINCE in 1989. The intention was to produce a UK Government standard for IT project management.

Since its introduction, PRINCE has become widely used in both the public and private sectors and is now the UK’s de facto standard for project management. Although originally developed for the needs of IT projects, PRINCE has also been used on many non-IT projects. The latest version of the method, PRINCE2, is designed to incorporate the requirements of existing users and to enhance the method towards a completely generic, best practice approach.

How is PRINCE2 implemented?

The most important prerequisite to implementing PRINCE2 is awareness and buy-in at the most senior level of the organisation. Once this has been achieved, project staff (from sponsors right through to team members) can be trained to a level of competence appropriate to their individual roles. This training also provides staff with the skills necessary to oversee the PRINCE2 implementation, though often it is recommend to use an external consultancy. This can inject in-depth knowledge not just of PRINCE2, but of the ways in which both the method and the organisation’s existing business processes must be married together to create an environment in which PRINCE2 can deliver maximum benefit.

PRINCE2 training

There are different levels of training available for PRINCE2.

Overview: Aimed at managers new to formal project management methods, plus senior managers and executives considering the introduction of PRINCE2 into their organisations.

Foundation: For those who will be involved in projects, but not necessarily in a leading role, such as project support staff.

Practitioner: For anyone requiring an in-depth understanding of PRINCE2, particularly current or aspiring project managers.

Both Foundation and Practitioner training lead to optional examinations that will provide successful delegates with an internationally recognised qualification.

Visit the AFA PRINCE2 Training for more details if you’re interested. Also visit the Resources page for more training providers in the project management space.

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Understanding PRINCE2 in the Project Management Context

Any project manager will come across many different project management methodologies and frameworks during their careers. Today I want to write about one such method, Prince 2 to help you understand it better in the project management context of achieving all of the project goals and objectives while adhering to classic project constraints – usually scope, quality, time and budget.

What is PRINCE2?

PRINCE2 is a process-based approach to project management providing an easily tailored and scale-able method for the management of all types of projects. Each process is defined with its key inputs and outputs together with the specific objectives to be achieved and activities to be carried out.

The method describes how a project is divided into manageable stages enabling efficient control of resources and regular progress monitoring. The various roles and responsibilities for managing a project are fully described and are adaptable to suit the project’s size and complexity and the skills of the organisation.

Project planning using PRINCE2 is product-based which means the project plans are focused on delivering results and are not simply about planning when the various activities on the project will be done. Driving any PRINCE2 project is the business case, which describes the organisation’s justification, commitment and rationale for the deliverables or outcome. The business case is reviewed regularly during the project so as to ensure the business objectives, which often change during the life-cycle of the project, are still being met.

Why usePRINCE2?

PRINCE2 provides organisations with a standard approach to the management of projects. The method embodies proven and established best practice. It is generic, non-proprietary and widely recognised. PRINCE2 also offers benefits to the organisation as a whole. These are achieved through the controllable use of resources and the ability to manage business and project risk more effectively.

PRINCE2 enables projects to have:

  • a controlled and organised start, middle and end
  • regular reviews of progress against plan and against the Business Case
  • flexible decision points
  • automatic management control of any deviations from the plan
  • involvement of management and stakeholders at the right time and place during the project the necessary controls and breakpoints to work successfully within any required contractual framework
  • a common language across all interested parties thereby ensuring effective communication channels between the project team, project management and the rest of the organisation

Please comment about your experience with Prince2 or any other methodology that is worth sharing.

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