At some point in their career, most people will reach a cross roads when they begin asking themselves how they can develop their skills and best demonstrate and solidify their skills and knowledge on their CV for present and future ventures.
In project management and many other sectors, having formal certifications is an ideal way in which to achieve this goal. It is also essential to understand that the current job market demands that you place yourself ahead of the crowd during the recruitment process; as this is imperative when aiming to climb the career ladder.
Gaining beneficial and relevant certifications also provides an important safeguard for your career as it will ensure that you always have job options should your current situation change. Leading certifications also provide increased opportunities and can lead to improved salary prospects and career advancement.
The two most renowned project management methods are undoubtedly PRINCE2 and Agile. Each of these approaches to project management has its own following and there are pros and cons associated with each method; particularly in the context of any specific project environment. Choosing between PRINCE2 or Agile courses can be daunting, especially if you are new to the field of project management, and it is necessary to carefully consider numerous aspects before making your choice.
A common question asked by people looking to get in to project management and even those who have vast experience in the project management sector is ‘why do I need certifications?’
As well as putting yourself ahead recruitment-wise and giving yourself an edge when it comes to internal promotions, having certifications will really help your long term prospects. It shows dedication, that you learn and pick concepts up quickly and that you can perform under pressure by taking formal exams. These are all skills that employers will look for and having certifications will help to show them that you are the right person for the job.
Once the decision to get certified has been made, prospective project management students face another crucial decision in choosing the right course for them. For those already in project management this may be a straight forward choice and many people find that they are thrown in to adopting a certain methodology that is already widely used by their current employer.
However, for those people who are not currently in project management or working in an environment with a standardised methodology, the decision may not be as easy to make and there are a few factors that need to be considered.
What do PRINCE2 and Agile courses involve?
The best place to start choosing between PRINCE2 and Agile courses is to review a brief overview of what each of these project management methodologies entails.
The PRINCE2 methodology is a waterfall style of project management. When using this approach, one section of work is fully completed and then the team members will move on to the next section. When that next section of work has been fully completed, the next will begin. This continues on in this manner until such time as the project has been completed and closed.
This particular approach to project management is ideal for industries that find themselves under pressure by bureaucracies, where there is a set deadline for project completion and where a significant amount of intricate planning is required.
This makes the PRINCE2 methodology very popular in industries such as construction.
Agile project management is generally seen to be a more flexible approach to project management as it provides a greater capacity for review. Characteristics of the Agile project management methodology include short increments and frequent deliver, continuous involvement of staff across different roles, a cooperative approach and the delivery of the project’s product on time and within the agreed budget.
These characteristics lead to the Agile project management methodology being highly favoured over PRINCE2 in sectors such as IT, Finance, Insurance and Banking.
Comparing PRINCE2 and Agile
PRINCE2 is a predictive, plan-based approach; whereas Agile uses short-term, incremental objectives that are not determined by a master plan and renders the methodology more adaptable. This difference results in different project focuses.
For example, the PRINCE2 approach to a project is likely to revolve around the original business plan and goals; whereas the Agile approach will be more responsive to changes in technology or requirements that may emerge at short notice during the course of the projects, with the outcomes not being dictated by an over-arching plan. This arguably makes Agile less rigid than PRINCE2 and, in the current technological climate, this can make Agile more appealing to certain sectors and project management professionals.
For many people, the decision of what project management methodology to adopt will be based on the environment in which they are working and the dynamics of their team. Agile requires a higher investment in the project from team members, whereas PRINCE2 requires little from the project workers and focuses more heavily on corporate and managerial control.
Choosing between PRINCE2 or Agile Courses
PRINCE2 is still strongly considered to be the HR tick box certification of choice, however, Agile is beginning to gain greater momentum in the world of project management and is becoming a highly sought after project management qualification for prospective employers in certain circumstances and sectors.
The choice between the two project management methodologies needs to be made based on the team that you are working in, the environment in which the work will be done and the situation that the project management methodology will be applied to. Specific industries favour different methodologies and it will be clear when working in these sectors, which path should be chosen for your studies.
Is it necessary to choose?
The vast majority of people who are studying towards a project management qualification will inevitably choose one project management method or the other. Over the years, increasing evidence has come to light, based on professional experience in the industry, which determined that the methodologies do not necessarily clash and can be molded into a hybrid method to suit the situation.
PRINCE2 Agile – The Hybrid
PRINCE2 Agile is being heralded as the most complete project management solution in the world and there is wealth of evidence to suggest that project management methodology hybrid such as PRINCE2 Agile is the way forward for enhanced project success.
PRINCE2 Agile incorporates the flexibility and responsiveness of the Agile methodology with the clearly defined framework that makes PRINCE2 the leading project management method. The new PRINCE2 Agile certification has been specifically tailored for organisations that pride themselves on being forward-thinking, people who are already practicing and benefitting from PRINCE2 or Agile and those who are looking to gain a certification in the most complete project management solution currently available. The PRINCE2 Agile certification offers guidance on applying the Agile practices to PRINCE2, which is generally considered to be the most globally recognized project management methodology.
This exciting and innovative blend of Agile flexibility merged with PRINCE2 governance enables PRINCE2 Agile practitioners to:
- Meet project deadlines
- Ensure that project outputs are delivered on time
- Provide the required level of quality
- Adapt and embrace change
- Maintain stable project teams and development teams
- Manage stakeholder expectations
The PRINCE2 Agile project management training includes significant new material and explores how the PRINCE2 and Agile methods can adapt and interact with each other to provide increased benefits for the overall management of projects.
As of 1 January 2018, it is possible to gain the PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner certification if you already have any of the following qualifications:
- PRINCE2 Foundation and/or Practitioner
- Project Management Professional (PMP
- Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
- IPMA Levels A, B, C and D (Certified Projects Director)
The PRINCE2 Agile Foundation certification is expected to be launched mid-way through 2018 and will require no prior knowledge of the PRINCE2 and Agile methods, nor any of the prerequisites relating to the PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner certification. This new certification will allow anyone to benefit from improved guidance on managing, delivering or working on PRINCE2 Agile projects and project teams.
The PRINCE2 Agile project management method, and the new certifications, have a multitude of benefits for both organisations and individuals.
- Enables structured and disciplined flexibility
- Delivers value earlier on in the project lifecycle
- Encourages transparent project management practices within the project team
- Decreases the risk of poor quality products
- Can be applied to any type of project
- Can be used within any industry sector
- Gain an internationally recognised project management certification
- Accessible to anyone who wants to deliver Agile projects
- Achieve a vast range of knowledge of Agile techniques and concepts such as Scrum, Lean Start-up and Kanban
- Can be applied to any type of project
- Can be used within any industry sector
PRINCE2 Agile is fully supported by official examinations which, upon achieving a passing grade will result in a formal certification in the PRINCE2 Agile project management method.
Choosing whether to study PRINCE2 or Agile courses is often a personal decision which can be based on your current job role, your personal career goals, the requirements of your organisation, the specific team dynamics, the industry in which you work and a multitude of other factors.
For some people there will be a clear-cut path to take and for others there may not be. When the decision is not an obvious one, it is worthwhile to consider the features of both the PRINCE2 and Agile methods to determine which one seems right for your personal career goals and development. Many people choose to gain certifications in both the PRINCE2 and Agile project management methodologies to ensure that they cover all the bases and maximize their opportunities in the field of project management.
With the introduction of the PRINCE2 Agile courses and official certification, choosing between PRINCE2 or Agile courses is no longer the only option available to people aspiring to a career in the field of project management, and this is likely to have a significant impact on the project management landscape in the years to come.