Recently pinning an Infographic to my Pinterest Board on Projects and Change, I mused on why it worries me a little about the rise in people taking PRINCE 2 qualifications.
On the face of it, it is a good thing: a robust methodology, a reasonably rigorous exam, and a focus on creating a controlled environment for our projects. After all, one of my most oft- (over-) used sayings is that “project managers crave control above all else”.
However, PRINCE 2 does not teach us how to manage projects. It is about how to create one form of controlled environment around a project. PRINCE is fundamentally about governance – a worthy, indeed crucial, topic. But practitioners need more.
In the UK public sector, there is also a real sense in which people are taking the exam and getting qualified for no better purpose than to boost their CV and hence salary. There is nothing wrong with this from the individual’s point of view: I would. But if I were the Government department, local authority or NHS Trust being asked to stump up hard cash – and scarce cash these days – I would want to see a better business case. What use will this person put the training to? What projects will they lead or play an important part in? Is this the best use of a training budget?
For people with little or no PM experience and for those who will go on to manage only very small projects, I doubt the value and would anticipate a short skills-based training would give a better return. Those who thrive in a project environment and want to take on bigger PM roles would then get much from PRINCE training.
The “so what?”
For me, project management is a three-fold discipline.
PRINCE 2 training and certification can only give practitioners one of these aspects – structure. In the absence of powerful skills development and experience in the other areas, you will not become a skilled PM.