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A contributors perspective

What is the difference between PRINCE2 ® (PRojects in Controlled Environment) and the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge)?

PRINCE2 ® is a structured method for effective project management of all types of projects. PRINCE2 ® is in public domain owned by the OGC (Office Government Commerce) in the United Kingdom and a widely recognized de facto standard used extensively by the UK government and in the private sector. The 2009 version is an update on the 2005 version and is based on best practice method sourced from project management professionals.

PRINCE2 ® project training is provided by first attending the PRINCE2 ® Foundation course and then the PRINCE2 ® Practitioner course. The courses are delivered by Accredited Training Organisations (ATO) approved by the APMG in the United Kingdom. Courses conform to the APMG curriculum. All successful students receive an International qualification accredited by the APMG in the United Kingdom.

The PMBOK is a body of knowledge and serves as a guide on general project management best practices. The PMBOK guide is authored and owned by the PMI (Project Management Institute.) The new Fourth Edition "A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge" was refreshed during 2008.

PMBOK project training is provided through a variety of courses focussed on the project management theory covering fundamentals and advanced concepts, supported by amongst others team soft skills and scheduling courses. PMBOK courses are delivered by training organisations that design courses based on the Guide to the PMBOK. Some Training Providers optionally register with PMI and are not mandated to follow a set curriculum. Junior project staff requiring formal certification can register for the CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) examination, whilst experienced project staff can enrol on the PMP (Project Management Professional) examinations.

In summary PRINCE2 ® is a project management method and the PMBOK encapsulates general theory on project management.

Do I attend a PRINCE2 ® or PMBOK training course?

To be effective, Project Managers must have a blend of:

  • deliver projects according to a structured method - provided by PRINCE2 ® courses;
  • general project management knowledge – provided by PMBOK courses;
  • project management experience – successfully applying PRINCE2 ® and PMBOK courses.

In conclusion, PRINCE2 ® and the PMBOK are complimentary. We recommend attending PRINCE2 ® training and expanding on your project management knowledge by attending PMBOK based training.