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New guidance and exams from PRINCE2


Cameron Stewart

Head of PPM Product Development, AXELOS

For years, the world of project management has looked to the PRINCE2 method for best practice advice and now it has been given a makeover to keep it current.

The PRINCE2 method for project management has received its first major update since 2009, with additional guidance around being agile, more specific examples of tailoring and improvements to its exams.

75% of organisations wanted an update

Developer, AXELOS, has spent two years consulting with its partners and users on how to revise its method and enhance its best practice guidelines. In fact, more than 75 per cent of its accredited organisations agreed that PRINCE2 needed to be brought up to date.

Project management has evolved as a profession.

“Project management has evolved as a profession,” says AXELOS Head of PPM Product Development, Cameron Stewart. “There was a period when the industry treated everything like a detailed construction project, but with technology we now realise we do not know everything at the beginning.”

He says the new guidelines reflect the rise in agile thinking and emphasise the need to ensure there is always a link with strategic intent.

An alternative to set structure

“We have PRINCE2 Agile, but we realised guidance was needed for people working on more structured projects who wanted to be more autonomous and bring in agile ways of thinking. That is now included in the updated PRINCE2 which equips people with an alternative to structured project execution.” 

With more real-life examples and case studies.

The book is easier to use and read with a menu-style index so people can find what they need for their specific industry and project.

“Everything is informed by best practice because we consulted with people who are working on projects every day,” says Stewart. “This is now a book that can be read as well as studied. We have more real-life examples and case studies.”

The PRINCE2 method comprises seven themes, principles, processes and equips, and the best practice approach is supported by a certification scheme that covers three levels: Foundation, Practitioner, and Professional.

There is also a membership scheme offering project management professionals valuable content to help them pass exams and advance their careers.

A personalised approach

The updated version and some restructuring of the themes means there is more of a focus on tailoring to help users shape the method to the exact needs of their organisation, project or role.

“Tailoring permeates the entire thinking of the PRINCE2 update, so people don’t have to read all 300 pages. We want to reduce bureaucracy,” says Stewart.

He cites one case study featuring a multinational company that wanted to tailor PRINCE2 to help its senior management team interact more effectively with its project teams.

Fairer exams

Other changes introduced by AXELOS include making the exam system more efficient and fairer.

For example, elements of the exam that are not part of the core method, such as configuration management, have been removed. There is also more of a focus on tailoring within the exam.

Ensuring candidates can apply PRINCE2 practically, in a given project environment.

For the Practitioner exam there is extra emphasis on ensuring candidates can apply PRINCE2 practically in a given project environment and increase the value gained from using the method. The number of questions about management products has been reduced.

Staying up to date

There are also changes to the membership scheme so users can maintain their registration indefinitely if they keep updating their skills and experience and gain CDP points.

“AXELOS came to the conclusion that both the guidance and exams could be enhanced to provide even more practical, authoritative, and relevant advice to anyone managing a project in today’s evolving environment,” says Stewart.

Initially the new guidance and exams are only available in English but they will be translated over the next few months into Dutch, German, Polish, French, Danish, Norwegian and Italian.

“We are committed to the continuous improvement of PRINCE2 and will continue to monitor the international project management community’s feedback to improve the portfolio, whether through new product development or the maintenance and updating of existing products.”

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