Hello! In this post, I would like to share my experiences in obtaining the PRINCE2 Foundation certification. I believe this post will be helpful for individuals who are considering getting this certification or preparing for the Foundation exam.
PRINCE2 (Projects IN Controlled Environments) is a classical project management methodology. It is one of the most popular approaches for planning, organizing, monitoring, and controlling projects. Importantly, PRINCE2 is a universal method that can be applied to any project, regardless of its size, type, or industry. It can be equally well suited to an IT project as it is to a construction project. It can also be combined with other methodologies for team-based work, such as agile methodologies like Scrum or Kanban.
The PRINCE2 methodology has many advantages, including universality, scalability, flexibility, clarity, and the potential for continuous improvement. It doesn’t limit us in any way but rather assists in achieving project continuity.
PRINCE2 is based on seven principles, seven themes, and seven processes. All of these elements are interconnected and work together. To master the concepts of PRINCE2, one must deeply understand each of them.
Evidence of mastering the PRINCE2 methodology can be certification in PRINCE2 Foundation and PRINCE2 Practitioner. The current editions of these certifications are the sixth edition (from 2017). Soon, the seventh edition is expected to be released, which introduces minor changes and improvements, including new project aspects: people and sustainable development.
How do these two certifications differ from each other?
PRINCE2 Foundation is a certification that confirms your knowledge and understanding of the PRINCE2 methodology, primarily in terms of its terminology, principles, and theory. It introduces practical elements but does not involve simulating the adaptation of these elements to a real project.
To pass the Foundation exam, you must complete a test consisting of 60 questions, which you need to answer within 60 minutes (multiple-choice questions). The passing score is 55% correct answers. No supplementary materials are allowed during the exam. The Foundation certificate is valid for 3 years from the date of passing the exam.
PRINCE2 Practitioner is a certification that confirms your ability to apply the PRINCE2 methodology in practice. It is a more advanced exam that requires candidates not only to be familiar with the terminology, principles, and theory but also to demonstrate their ability to adapt the methodology to a real project.
During the Practitioner exam, you are allowed to use the official book: Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2. To sit for the Practitioner exam, you must already hold the Foundation certificate. The Practitioner certificate is also valid for 3 years from the date of passing the exam.
Note: Training from an accredited organization for Practitioner is mandatory. You cannot take the exam without completing the training beforehand.
I would like to briefly describe my PRINCE2 Foundation training experience.
My PRINCE2 Foundation training was conducted online and lasted for 3 days, with each day consisting of 7 hours of training, including short breaks. During and after the training hours, we were required to complete homework assignments related to the material we had learned.
The training itself was quite intense, covering a comprehensive overview of all PRINCE2 modules through a review of the official manual. The course format primarily involved lectures led by the trainer, with breaks for questions and discussions.
I believe it was worthwhile to participate in the training because, in addition to listening to the lectures, I gained access to a presentation summarizing essential information from the official manual. Without the training, I would likely have had more questions and uncertainties, especially regarding the diagrams and dependencies between project roles and stages.
I decided to take the exam five days after completing the training. This allowed me some time to review the material on my own, and I still retained most of the information covered in the lectures.
The primary study material is the official manual, Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2. It’s a comprehensive document that contains all the information needed to pass the exam (and even some optional sections). Personally, I don’t recommend blindly memorizing information directly from the manual. It’s good to skim through it, maybe read it casually, but an overload of information to remember can be overwhelming. You need to know what is essential and which definitions are crucial to memorize.
The most important aspects are the principles, themes, processes, roles, and products. Understanding the relationships between them is key, as well as memorizing their precise formal definitions.
I was fortunate that the lecture slides from my training were well-prepared and included necessary quotes from the manual at key points. Therefore, I focused on learning the definitions from those slides, using the manual as a source for additional information.
A crucial part of self-study is taking practice tests. They allow you to understand the specifics of exam questions.
My exam was conducted online on the PeopleCert platform. This application required granting access to the desktop, camera, and microphone. Each of these areas was monitored by a proctor throughout the entire exam duration. The entire procedure was, of course, necessary to minimize the risk of cheating, and indeed, I don’t see any possibility of dishonesty under such conditions.
On the www.peoplecert.org website, you can find information about the technical requirements and detailed instructions regarding the examination process. It’s worth reviewing them at least a day before the exam to ensure that everything is ready for the test.
The results were available immediately after completing the exam. I managed to pass the exam with a score of 80% (the passing score was 55%). I was supposed to receive the certificate electronically (on the PeopleCert platform) within two days, and indeed, that’s what happened.
I hope I’ve shed some light on the topic of PRINCE2 certification, especially Foundation. I’ve tried to provide some practical advice and tips on how to prepare for it.
Now, there’s one very important question left to answer:
I believe so. The PRINCE2 project management methodology is highly popular in Europe. Its undeniable advantage is its flexibility, making it applicable to virtually any project. Training and self-study provide opportunities to explore many interesting concepts and practices used in project management.
Such a certification is undoubtedly a valuable addition to one’s CV, and for some positions,
depending on the company, it may even be a requirement.