One Canadian’s Journey into PRINCE2

“Wanna come for the ride?”

“Wanna come for the ride?” is exactly what a Project Management Training colleague of mine said to me in early 2008 as he explained that he was bringing PRINCE2 training to his organization.  And what a ride it has been.

I went to a presentation by Paul Atkin of Advantage Learning in the UK and thought, WOW. This looks like it will provide me with some great tools and alternate approaches to explaining to clients as well as those on my projects, the value of project management and what their role in it is. Paul explained that PRINCE2 is not contradictory to the PMBOK. Joy to my ears because as a veteran project manager using the PMBOK framework, I was concerned about the possibility of a conflict and having to unlearn or remember 2 different ways to do project management.

A couple of months later I was sitting in a classroom (on the student side for once) listening to Alvin Gardiner teach a very intense course. As I listened I realized that I wasn’t learning a whole lot that was new, but rather a new way to explain project management, a clearer way to identify roles and responsibilities and most of all, a clearer and simpler approach to explaining and building Quality into a project.

I was quite taken aback at the minimalist approach to detailed planning that PRINCE2 took. For example, there is only 1 line in the whole manual about developing a project budget. However, when Alvin explained that there are lots of great opportunities to learn different ways of planning and that PRINCE2 acknowledges that these details can be industry specific; I felt better knowing that PRINCE2 does address a high-level approach to planning and stresses how to use various levels of plans and why they are needed.

At the end of our class, one participant asked, “how am I going to convince my organization to give up PMBOK and embrace PRINCE2?” My initial thought was “you haven’t been paying attention”. Prince 2 and PMBOK compliment each other very nicely. PRINCE2 gets into details of roles & responsibilities where PMBOK focuses mainly on the Project Manager. PRINCE2 does not do details of project scheduling and budgeting, where PMBOK does. PRINCE2 get into the details of how to do project management where PMBOK discusses what knowledge must be gathered. PMBOK goes into how a project manger includes procurement of external goods and services into the project where PRINCE2 does not.  They fill each other’s gaps nicely.

After an intense week, lots of reading, piles of sample exam questions, 2 exams and buckets of questions to Alvin, I was successful in both exams and began my journey to becoming the first Canadian PRINCE2 Certified Trainer. That’s a story for another day!