PMP vs PRINCE2: Which Project Management Certification Better?

PMP vs PRINCE2: Which Project Management Certification is Better

PMP® (Project Management Professional) Certification and PRINCE2® (Projects in Controlled Environments, ver. 2) Certification are two of the most prestige and sought-after project management certifications for practitioners of the field. Many project management practitioners would have the question: “Which one of these two project management certification is Better?” (me too when I was begin searching for info for my very first project management certification).

After researching different project management certifications, I came to realization that my question about which one is the best is NOT appropriate. Rather, I would ask: “Which project management certification is RIGHT for me?”. I will explain in more details below. Let’s understand the major similarities and differences between PMP® and PRINCE2® first before deciding which one is better for you.

What are the Key Similarities?

  • Both are the most widely practised project management approaches in the world.
  • Both are designed to manage projects (a project is a unique, temporary endeavor to create a new service/product/deliverable) effectively.
  • PMP® and PRINCE2® aspirants need to pass certification exams in order to get certified.

What are the Key Differences?

  • PRINCE2® is a process-based methodology providing detailed guidance on delivering a successful project with processes, steps and templates; while PMP® project management methodology is primarily based on the PMBOK® Guide (A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, published by PMI) which is a collection of good practices detailing the project management standards and necessary tools and techniques to achieve project success.
  • PRINCE2® was originally developed in the UK and becomes de facto standard across Europe, Australia and rest of the world; while PMP® was developed in the United States and is predominant in the US, Middle East, India and Asia.
  • PRINCE2® Certification is divided into two levels: PRINCE2® Foundation and PRINCE2® Practitioner; while PMP® has only one level (there is an entry level certification, CAPM®, covering the PMBOK® Guide without the need for project management experience — sort of like the Foundation Level for PRINCE2®).

Which one is Right For Me?

  • It all depends on what you value most with project management certification:
    • If you would like to gain competitive edge with project management certification, you are highly advised to understand the employment requirements for project management practitioners in your location (or areas that you would like to move to). For example, if you reside and work in the Europe, PRINCE2® is a no-brainer. If you are in the US, you are highly advised to go for the PMP®. Also, the companies you would like to work in would also show some preferences on the type of project management certification, in particular, MNC (multi-national corporations).
    • If you would like to gain in competency/knowledge in the field of project management, either certification will help you a lot. I started out the journey in project management education in the hope of making me a better project manager (as the company I am working in does not practise PRINCE2® nor PMP®). I have learnt a lot during my quest for knowledge and I am now more confident as a project manager.
  • Also, as PMP® requires you to have at least 4,500 hours of experience leading and directing projects, if you are just fresh project management graduates, you may consider the entry level certification of PMP® — CAPM®.

Why not both: PMP® and PRINCE2®?

Since PRINCE2® is about setting the project management framework to effectively manage projects while PMP® focuses on the detailed skills and knowledge for the various project management processes throughout the project management lifecycle, both are actually complementary to each other (thought there maybe some contradictions but these are rare and as both PRINCE2® and PMP® can be “tailored”, those differences can be resolved easily). As an example, the PMBOK® Guide covers resources management (including descriptions on human resources interpersonal soft skills) while PRINCE2® describes change control approach in much more details — by implementing the essences of both knowledge, projects can be managed in a more holistic approach and there is much greater chance of achieving project success!

As not a single project management certification can teach you everything, it is advised to get both in the long run (and this is my plan for professional development). If you are just beginning your professional project management certification journey, you are advised to choose either one to work on based on the previous section (Which one is Right For Me?).

Wish you certification success!

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Edward Chung

Edward Chung aspires to become a full-stack web developer and project manager. In the quest to become a more competent professional, Edward studied for and passed the PMP Certification, ITIL v3 Foundation Certification, PMI-ACP Certification and Zend PHP Certification. Edward shares his certification experience and resources here in the hope of helping others who are pursuing these certification exams to achieve exam success.

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4 Responses

  1. Kaushal Sanghavi says:

    Hi Edward, Great explanation… but which certification should i start as i m working in IT Help desk Management and ITIL foundation certified.
    I am having total 8 years of experience and 4 years in Operation as well as 1 year in project management.
    Should i Start with Prince or CAPM
    Kaushal from India

    • Hi Kaushal,

      Thanks for your comments. I would like to ask which certification is more valuable and recognized in your area, PMP or PRINCE2? Just go for it.

      Wish you success!

  2. Ashish Bansal says:

    Hi Edward,

    Good Stuff!

    May you please advise about any ongoing discount on Prince2 Foundation and Practitioner certifications?.