A Guide to Project Management Qualifications
By Michelle Symonds
Whether you’re a graduate considering a career in project management, a professional looking to progress up the career ladder or you simply wish to enhance your employability, it is useful to know what project management qualifications are out there, and how to choose between them.
As well as being a great addition to your CV, qualifications teach useful PM skills and frameworks, consolidate your existing knowledge and boost your confidence to help throughout your career. Here’s our guide to help you choose a qualification that’s right for you.
PRINCE stands for PRojects In Controlled Environments and is a specific management methodology that can be applied across all project types, but is especially used within the public sector in the UK. Whether you work for the Government or in the private sector, the PRINCE2 qualification can be a useful asset, and one which employers may specify as a requirement for certain PM positions. For example, if you work for an agency that bids for public sector contracts, the ability to manage a project using PRINCE2 will likely be preferred over colleagues without the qualification.
PRINCE2 provides a controlled project management framework, working from a defined project lifespan using a specified amount of resources with team members taking on defined responsibilities. Qualifications start with the PRINCE2 Foundation (covering the basics and terminology), moving on to PRINCE2 Practitioner.
Agile is a manifesto for project working that places the emphasis on individuals and interaction over process and tools. Taking an iterative approach, it allows for flux and change as a natural part of the project. Agile was originally conceived for the software industry, but is now increasingly used by organizations across the board as a flexible, adaptable and modern approach to project management.
Whilst Agile itself simply outlines certain principles and working guidelines, there are a number of management techniques which go hand in hand to deliver an Agile project. The most popular is the SCRUM technique, which will be explained as part of an Agile qualification.
The APMP qualification takes a knowledge-based approach to project management. Whilst Agile and PRINCE2 teach specific ways of running a project, the APMP takes a more general approach to help you hone your skills in order to benefit your project skills across the board.
The APMP takes into account a whole range of topics including leadership styles, methods of communication, time and budget management and conflict management. It also equips you with the ability to understand how wider business objectives may influence your project – allowing you to incorporate these considerations in an intelligent, effective way.
The APMP is widely considered a great asset to any project management professional, boosting employability and according to the independent ARRAS People Salaries and Day Rates Review for PPM Practitioners 2011, increasing earning potential by more than £10,000 more per annum.
Once you have considered your options regarding project management qualifications and management courses, it is a good idea to discuss them with your manager (if you are currently employed), or with a professional who will be able to offer further impartial advice (if you are seeking employment). From there, you can decide which qualification will be of the most benefit to you – both now and into your future career in project management.
Michelle Symonds is a qualified PRINCE2 Project Manager and believes that the right project management training can transform a good project manager into a great project manager and is essential for a successful outcome to any project.
There is a wide range of formal and informal training courses now available that include online learning and podcasts as well as more traditional classroom courses from organizations such as Parallel Project Training.