I have been asked a lot about Prince2 versus PMI (Project Management Institute) and wanted to address the differences.

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I will discuss the two different providers and certificates first and then provide some things which you should consider in your journey to become a certified project manager.


The Project Management Institute was founded in the United States in 1969 to have an organization where project managers could network, share information, and discuss common problems. The organization began to write down and codify standards for project management and a white paper called the “Ethics, Standards, and Accreditation Committee Final Report” was written in 1983 and was the foundation for the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) which was released in 1996.  The PMBOK was recently released in the 6th Edition which added more information about agile methodology and has a greater emphasis on strategic and business knowledge.

The PMBOK uses five process groups: Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling, and Closing.  In addition, there are ten knowledge areas in the PMBOK.

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PMI offers multiple certifications which require varying amounts of experience in project management.  The Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) is the entry level certification and can be valuable to junior project managers.  The Project Management Professional (PMP) is the most recognized and oldest project management certification being offered since 1984. PMI also offers specialty certificates: Portfolio Management Professional, Program Management Professional, PMI Risk Management Professional, PMI Professional in Business Analysis, PMI Scheduling Professional, and PMI Agile Certified Practitioner.

Read more about certifications and training at www.pmi.org.

  • Standards Based
  • Non-profit community of interest
  • Oldest project management certificate


Prince2 was originally developed by the British Government for construction projects and PRINCE2 stands for PRojects IN Controlled Environments.  Prince2 was established by the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) and was moved into a Cabinet Office in 2010.  In 2013 AXELOS became a part of a joint venture project with the UK government retaining 51% of the stakes.

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Prince2 uses seven processes which are: Starting up a Project, Initiating a Project, Directing a Project, Controlling a Project, Managing Product Delivery, Managing a Stage Boundary, and Closing a Project.  The Methodology has seven themes to include: Business Case, Organization, Quality, Plans, Risk, Change and Progress.

Prince2 has an entry level certification of the foundation and higher certificates build on this certification as a prerequisite or in same cases PMI certificates.  The Prince2 Practitioner Certificate is often seen as the equivalent to the PMP.  The Prince2 Professional is the highest level certificate offered in this system. The Prince2 Agile Practitioner includes agile concepts such as Scrum and Kanban.

  • Methodology Based
  • Public/Private Partnership
  • Building Block Certifications

What is your next position in project manager?

Where you live and want to work is a factor when considering which certificate to choose.  PMI was founded in the United States and the PMP is the preferred certificate for project managers.  Prince2 was founded in the UK and and Prince2 is the certificate of choice.  For the rest of the the world it is mixed and in some cases there are preferences by industry.  The construction industry was the focus of Prince2 and agile methodology was created for software development.

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What track are you on?

If you are focusing on a region look at advertisements for jobs that you would be interested in and determine if there is a preference for one certificate over the other.  I have read a lot of articles that say that Prince2 is favored in Europe, but in IT project management I see more demand for PMPs.

Both Prince2 and PMI offer agile certificates which are favored in software development.  Specialty certificates in risk or scheduling could benefit you for a niche market.

  • What country/region do you want to live and work?
  • What is the industry preference?
  • Is a specialty degree right for you?


The two are not necessarily competing, but could be seen as complimentary.  PMI uses the PMBok which is a standard, whereas Prince2 uses a methodology with detailed process models and templates.

Having knowledge from both theoretical and practical is great for your resume and your job performance.  The use of templates in Prince2 can be a great asset.  The addition of strategic views and understanding the project in the context of the larger organization is also valuable.

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Bridge the two

If you have the time and the means, why not explore both opportunities?

  • Complimentary
  • Both Standards and Methodology
  • Broad picture

Life is a Project!

Certifications can open doors and get you and interview, but it is your skills that will shine through!

Teaser: Coming soon – identifying key stakeholders.

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