Prince2 Exams

The PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner certifications are both valuable qualifications. Many organisations will look for project managers or members of the project team to have these qualifications. Although both of the exams are difficult there are certain recommendations I would give and also some key techniques that give you a greater chance of passing and becoming qualified.

So, what are these recommendations and techniques?

  1. Make sure you complete all the pre-course work. This is essential and it is why a good PRINCE2 Training Organisation will provide pre-course work for delegates. Having trained over two hundred PRINCE2 courses it has always been the case that better prepared delegates do better in the exams!
  2. Do the homework! The PRINCE2 course is like being back at school. There is the dreaded ‘H’ word – homework. However, if you do the homework you increase the chances of success. As I always say to delegates – the more you put into the course the more you will get out.
  3. When taking the exams make sure you read the question. One word or a phrase can make a difference to the right answer. You need to identify these key words.
  4. Use the process of elimination. Quite simply you sometimes get to the right answer by knowing the wrong answer.
  5. Make sure you get through the questions you do know the answer to. You do not want to spend too much time on questions that you do not know the answer to and end up having to guess answers towards the end of the paper. You end up losing twice! You don’t get the marks for the ones you didn’t know anyway and the questions you guessed you get wrong when if you had enough time to read you would have known the answers.
  6. Not a really technical tip but if you don’t know – guess! There is no negative marking so you have nothing to lose.
  7. For the Practitioner exam do not over think the scenario. Keep it simple! Also, always think PRINCE2. You are not being tested on the scenario. You are being tested on PRINCE2!
  8. And finally, something I say before every exam – relax and enjoy it! I know it sounds crazy but the more relaxed you are the better you will do.

Good luck in your PRINCE2 exams.

Next up

Managing Projects by Stages

One of the principles of PRINCE2 is that a project should be planned, monitored and controlled one stage at a time. This allows for management control without the need to be involved in the project day by day. It also stops the ‘we have started so we must finish’ mentality that many projects have.

How is this achieved? The Project will be broken up into a number of management stages. Stages provide a point where the key decision makers in the project – the project board can review the project and make a decision on whether the project should continue and resources committed to the next stage of work. The minimum number of stages in a PRINCE2 project is two – the initiation stage and least one delivery stage. The maximum – it depends on the project!

PRINCE2 does not set any rules for how long a stage should be. This will depend on a number of factors, some of which are listed below:

1) The planning horizon – just how sensible it is to plan ahead into the future without it becoming a complete guess. Stages quite simply should be manageable chunks of work.

2) How much direct control of the project the project board actually want. Projects with shorter stages mean more direct control for the project board but more of their time will be required. Longer stages, less control but less time needed.

3) The level of risk – The riskier the project is the shorter the management stages will be giving the project board more control.

The number of management stages needs to be agreed between the project board and the project manager. The project manager will be document this as part of the agreed project controls in the project initiation documentation (PID) during the Initiating a Project process.

So, help your project succeed by managing by stages!