PROJECT MANAGEMENT: What are the benefits of project management certification?

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In our talk this week we will look at some of the most frequently asked questions in the domain of project management standards, certification and qualification credentials. We will also try to look at the importance and benefits of adopting a project management methodology by companies and organizations. The benefits of getting project management accreditation, certification by individuals and organizations are immerse and offers necessary professional assurances.

Conversely, the negative consequences of not having a project management methodology in place are huge and outweighs the investment required in getting certifications and accreditation. When project management credentials are achieved, the career growth and prospects for individuals get brighter as many career doors get opened and also adds on personal confidence of project managers when running projects on behalf of sponsors.  In simple terms if a piece of work is difficult enough to be classified as a project then it requires someone competent to carry out the role of managing it and that’s the project manager. This also makes project management profession to cut across all domains and economical sectors.

Organizations and companies who adopt, embed and embrace a project management methodology benefit from huge savings accrued from avoiding project failures such as project time and budget overruns, the cost of rework resulting in quality non-conformance and other negative vices which may culminate as result of un managed risks and issues during the life of the project.

The two most popular project management certification standards are PRINCE2® (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) syllabus version 2 adopted in 2017 and Project Management Professional (PMP®) based on now 6th edition of PMBoK guide® . These certifications do not compete but rather complement each other and I don’t think they compete and this should provide an answer to the most question frequently asked: which one is better PMP or PRINCE2? These certifications are revised every 3-4 years in order to keep them responsive to industry. Differences between PRINCE2 (a method) and a Body of Knowledge (BoK) make them highly complementary and on a high level can be summarized as

PRINCE2: deals with what needs to be done, by whom and when in a project

PMBoK: deals with tools and techniques of how those things can be done in a project

Tailoring PRINCE2 if the organization is aligned to any particular PMBoK should include:

Agreeing a single set of terms to apply. For example, in the Association for Project Management’s Body of Knowledge the steering group is equivalent to PRINCE2’s Project Board. •Aligning PRINCE2’s management products with any management products recommended by the BoK. For example, in PMBoK the project charter is equivalent to PRINCE2’s Project Brief.

The two qualifications complement each other with one filling in knowledge or structure where the other lacks. Both standards are process based therefore can easily be audited and ca be subjected to health checks. PRINCE2® is a methodology, addressing things on a procedural level whereas PMP is an encyclopaedia of best practices in project management, telling project managers what they need to know in terms of tools and techniques but leaving the application to them. For example, the PMBoK guide is not prescriptive but descriptive. It speaks to knowledge areas or subjects in a specific sense, talking about how to calculate the schedule critical path, stakeholder evaluation, requirements gathering, etc.

PRINCE2® however talks more about the reporting structures, roles and responsibilities and the flow of management deliverables (i.e. reports and exceptions). It doesn’t get into the details of scheduling, because each organization has its own methods to do this, and whilst it recognizes the importance of stakeholders, it doesn’t elaborate on stakeholder analysis. These specific examples of the differences between PRINCE2® and PMP® also highlight the complementary and collaborative nature of the two project management standards.

PRINCE2® is widely considered the leading project management method. It is now available in 15 languages. There are now more and more people qualified in PRINCE2® project management in many countries around the world. Many companies and governmental organizations are using the method to deliver change and develop new products or services. PRINCE2® provides a tried and tested method from which organizations can benefit. Many projects today involve collaboration across organizational or even national boundaries.

PRINCE2® provides a universal language that unites the project team with external suppliers and colleagues in other companies and countries. It has standard processes so it is easy to audit projects. In such environments a common understanding of what the project is trying to achieve, why the project is being undertaken and the benefits to be delivered, who is responsible for doing what, and what the project timescales are, are crucial to project success. These are all aspects where PRINCE2 can help organizations to better manage their projects.

Final thoughts, when organizations embark on transformational projects and programmes, they do so with a clear vision, mission and blueprint: to add value, advance strategies, and increase competitive advantage. So, the more mature organizations are with project management, the more likely they will achieve their strategic goals. There is, however, still more work to be done in Zambia in awareness to mitigate the stereotype thinking and mind-set that project management is an unnecessary overhead and waste of money. Delivering projects and programmes successfully—on time, in full, on budget, meeting goals—is essential. But just as important is a focus on expected business benefits. A broader view of performance includes an organization’s benefits realization maturity level. This more inclusive measure of project success provides insight into what forward-looking organizations— those that can be called “champions”—are doing and how others can continue on this path to progress. For scholars in business and project management it will be nice if research is done in Zambia to understand and account projects that meet original goals and being completed in full and within budget.

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