Project management competencies matter. You need the soft skills to do your job properly. That's just one particular reason why attainment of some form of the PRINCE2 certification is not the salve for your project management career hope wounds - those cuts can get larger if you allow. Below are ten reasons as to how far you have to be willing to go with PRINCE2 - and where else you might have to go to make the most of your project management potential...
- PRINCE2® is the beginning of a journey, not the end If you are new to project management, PRINCE2 may seem like the right qualification for you because it has no prerequisites for entry or perhaps you are looking for a new Project Management position and every job that is advertised has a PRINCE2 Practitioner qualification as a CV essential. But, passing one 2.5 hour examination does not make you a Project Manager; rather, it is the beginning of a learning experience that will last a lifetime!
- PRINCE2® is a method, not a standard Methodologies are essential to project management, but perhaps we could be better if we understood the standards that we were trying to achieve. There are many standards out there, PMI may set the best known one, combining a knowledge of PRINCE2 and the PMI standard would make an awesome mix.
- PRINCE2® covers only about 15% of what a Project Manager does There is more to project management than Principles, Processes, Themes and Techniques, most of a project manager's thoughts and actions are taken up with engaging stakeholders and managing people. I was recently involved in a programme where some very talented scientists had been 'promoted' to the Project Manager role, they were very good in their scientific role, but had been given no leadership/management training. As a result their dealings with Project Teams were often seen as, shall we say, less than ideal. If you have never heard the names Maslow and Belbin, there is a whole new world with skills that will help anyone to improve their project management. So-called 'soft' skills (more commonly referred to as 'competencies') are an essential part of the armoury of any successful Project Manager.
- Most people think of PRINCE2® as the contents of the 'Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2®' guide, forgetting the 'Directing Successful Projects with PRINCE2®' guide One of the biggest barriers to the success of PRINCE2 is that many Project Boards, Steering Committees, Project Executives and Project Sponsors want it implemented from the project manager down. The fact is that to be successful PRINCE2 requires everyone to play their part. Training for these senior managers has been available for many years, but I have rarely seen anyone take advantage of it.
- Many Project Managers in the know believe that PRINCE2® does not work! Their experience of failure may be because their organisation is not sufficiently mature to make it work Improving the organisation's project management maturity (the level of organisation’s readiness and experience in relation to people, processes, technologies and consistent measurement practices) of an organisation is often the key to long-term success. There are many models that may be examined e.g. P3M3, OPM3 CMMI etc. Any of them can lead to an understanding of why any particular methodology may not be working.
- Your organisation already uses another method This is a great opportunity to expand a project manager's experience and perhaps to add to the organisation's ability to manage projects successfully. (Editor's Note: Additionally, AXELOS has become more agnostic in terms of the pre-requisites for taking the PRINCE2 Practitioner Examination)
- Be Agile! One of the current methodology trends in project management is the movement toward 'Agile' and its implementation frameworks, e.g. XP, DSDM and Scrum. Originally employed by small software companies in Southern California, it is easily learned, but difficult to fully understand. It is now used within many different kinds of projects and programmes. Forward-thinking project managers would do well to supplement their toolkit with all/any of these capabilities.
- Think P3O® If an organisation is to deliver its business objectives it will need to successfully establish, develop and maintain appropriate business structure to allow senior management to take informed decisions concerning strategic alignment, prioritisation, risk management and much more. P3O is a way of delivering such a structure along with identifying and realizing business outcomes and benefits.
- What about Programme Management? There is a common saying that we are all promoted to a level of incompetence, so some of us are more effective as good project managers than we would be if we were on a Programme Management career path. Likewise, you may discover that PRINCE2 and project management may not be your 'thing'; perhaps moving on to Programme Management (with a bit of a primer in MSP or Program Management Essentials!) is where your true expertise lies?
- What about Portfolio Management? Ditto to the above, so long as you substitute all mentions of programme management with portfolio management, and consider courses we offer like Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP), the Portfolio Management Workshop and our version of the AXELOS-offered Management of Portfolios (MoP) Overview.
Now that I am the 'Silver Fox' and grey hairs considerably outnumber the dark ones I can fully realize that the old saying 'there is no substitute for experience' may well be true. Certainly the world is full of people that are far cleverer than I will ever be, but sometimes I have seen a situation so many times that I can predict the outcome. As we say in the Project world 'learn by experience'; let’s have lessons learned, not lessons identified.
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