The PRINCE2 practitioner qualification is such a success story that it has become virtually an entry level requirement for project management jobs in the UK. Although the practitioner exam tests a candidate’s ability to apply the method to a scenario it is still a class room based exam, and there are limits to what such an exam can test. Furthermore, many PRINCE2 practitioners have been asking for a progression beyond PRINCE2 practitioner, an ‘advanced level PRINCE2’, perhaps to further differentiate themselves. The new ‘PRINCE2 Professional’ qualification, approved by the UK Cabinet Office and launched on 30th January 2012 by the APMG provides just that.
What is PRINCE2 PROFESSIONAL?
PRINCE2 Professional is now the highest level of PRINCE2 qualification that you can attain.
The first thing to establish is that this is not a training course. Candidates achieve the qualification through attendance on a 2.5 day Assessment Centre working on a realistic case study. Whilst an Assessment Centre cannot measure every aspect of candidates’ project management abilities, the qualification gives the opportunity to go beyond the boundaries of the PRINCE2 examinations as some interpersonal skills are assessed in addition to a broad range of project management competencies.
How are candidates assessed?
For much of the Assessment Centre candidates work in groups of 3-4 and discuss and solve problems related to a non-complex project while being observed by a qualified Evaluator. Candidates also have an individual interview and submit written work for assessment. Candidates need to show that they can use and apply their PRINCE2 knowledge appropriately as the case study that develops over 2.5 days and the evaluator gathers evidence against performance criteria.
Between 6 and 16 candidates attend a single Assessment Centre. This ensures there are sufficient numbers to rotate candidate groupings thus varying the groups’ dynamics which helps the Evaluator observe and gather evidence against inter-personal skill competencies. An external (APMG approved) Moderator ensures that Evaluators gather evidence fairly and consistently.
The performance criteria
The following table lists the 22 performance criteria against which candidates are assessed:
- Plan and conduct Start Up
- Prepare the Project Product Description
- Prepare the outline Business Case
- Design the project management team structure
- Tailor corporate strategies
- Perform product-based planning
- Identify and incorporate lessons learned
- Apply the risk management procedure
- Apply the communication management procedure
- Plan the project
- Refine the Business Case
- Prepare the Benefits Review Plan
- Prepare an End Stage Report
- Prepare a Stage Plan
- Capture lessons learned
- Prepare a Work Package
- Apply the issue and change control procedure
- Plan and conduct the Closing a Project process
- Prepare End Project Report (Incl. Lessons Report)
- Interpersonal Skills
- Manage team performance
- Manage own performance
Based on evidence gathered during the assessment process, the Evaluator gives candidates a rating for each of the Performance Criteria, according to the following rating scale.
- Level 0 – Failed to present any relevant evidence
- Level 1 – Basic evidence, with one or two directly relevant examples
- Level 2 – Good evidence, with three or more directly relevant examples
- Level 3 – Extensive evidence, with six or more directly relevant examples
To be awarded the qualification candidates need to achieve a rating of 1 against each of the performance criteria and an average rating of 1.6 across all of the criteria. The Evaluators decision is made in conjunction with the Moderator.
The Assessment Centre timetable
- First evening – starts at 6.00pm. Candidates assemble at the Centre the evening before Day 1 when the timetable is explained to delegates and they are given initial case study information
- Day 1 – runs roughly from 8.00am to 8.00pm
- Day 2 – finishes at around 4.00pm
Can I take my manual to the Assessment Centre?
No, the Assessment Centre is not ‘open book’ so you can’t take your manual into the sessions; otherwise they could turn into group reading sessions! However, candidates are given a Quality Management System for the case study organisation that contains outlines of the PRINCE2 management products.
Are there any pre-requisites?
Yes, you must be a registered PRINCE2 practitioner before you can attend an assessment centre. Furthermore, it is strongly recommended that you wait until you have been using and tailoring PRINCE2 in practice before you book your place on an Assessment Centre. This could be either managing a small project or working as a team member on a large project.
How do I apply for PRINCE2 Professional?
If you are a Client wanting to set up an in house Assessment Centre or as an individual you wants to register interest and go on our waiting list simply send an email to ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ stating the nature of your interest and one of our team will call you back.
How quickly will I get my result?
Candidates get their result approximately one week after attending the Assessment Centre.
Why should I be interested in PRINCE2 Pro?
As an individual having this qualification will really differentiate you from ‘the pack’ when job seeking, especially as very few people have it and it is a more rounded statement of your abilities that just having practitioner.
Organisations may find it useful to hold their own Assessment Centre for several reasons, such as when recruiting new project managers, to assist in deciding whom to promote amongst exiting staff or even to identify training requirements.