The London 2012 Olympics used PRINCE2® – so can you!

By Simon Buehring

The populatiry of PRINCE2 Exams

The populatiry of PRINCE2 Exams - March 2012

During 2012 a significant milestone was achieved. Not only was 2012 the year of the marvellous London 2012 Olympics, but it was also the year that the one millionth PRINCE2 examination was taken somewhere in the world.

For those of you who don’t know what PRINCE2 is, it’s a project management framework, originally developed by the UK government, but now it’s increasingly popular throughout the world. In fact, it’s been adopted by the United Nations for all of its development projects worldwide and was used to help successfully deliver all of the London 2012 Olympic projects.

PRINCE2 was launched in 1996 and in 16 years the number of examinations being taken has increased every year, except during 2009, in the depths of the economic recession. 2012 saw the largest ever number of exams being taken, even though there was a fall in the number of exams being taken in the UK , the biggest market for PRINCE2.

Annual figures released by APMG-International, the accreditation body for PRINCE2 showed that more than 144,000 PRINCE2 examinations were taken in 2012. Of these, 90,000 were at the entry level Foundation exam and more than 50,000 at the higher level Practitioner level.

The latest figures show that PRINCE2 has finally thrown off its image as a project management qualification only of interest in the UK. During 2012, only 45% of all the exams sat were taken in the UK, the first year that the proportion of exams taken in the UK was less than half of the global total. That’s a far cry from the early days of PRINCE2 when virtually all of the exams were taken in the UK. As recently as 2005, 68% of exams were taken in the UK.

So which regions and countries are showing the keenest interest in PRINCE2? Well, India showed the largest increase in exams during 2012, with an increase in exams taken of 168%. This shouldn’t come as a surprise taking into consideration the size of the India economy, its IT sector and the fact that English is the common business language. Growth was also strong in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.

So, how did North America fare during 2012? Well, interestingly, the number of PRINCE2 exams grew by 16% in 2012 but that was still below 2009 and 2010 levels.

So, what is the reason for PRINCE2 being so less popular in North America compared with the UK and Europe? Well, one reason is that in the USA, the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) PMP qualification is the number one professional project management qualification.  As described elsewhere, PMP is based upon the PMBoK and the PMI is the largest professional body of project managers in the USA.

Even with the economy in the doldrums, however, the demand for people with professional project management qualifications worldwide is expected to increase. This is because in a recession, the competitive pressures to change and to develop new products in order to survive as a business are intensified. Managing such changes requires people with project management skills, hence the demand for project management qualifications.

Of course, simply having a project management qualification is not going to make someone a good project manager, but in a competitive jobs market, it can make the difference on an applicant’s resume compared with someone without a professional qualification.

If one recognizes that PRINCE2 is based upon proven project management best practices then every project manager should consider whether they would personally benefit from having another tool in their toolkit. For project managers based in North America, now is the time to familiarize yourself with the benefits of PRINCE2 and to invest in learning what has now become the most popular project management qualification.

The success of the London 2012 Olympic projects more than anything else acts as a great advertisement for the strengths of PRINCE2.


About the Author:

Simon BuehringSimon Buehring is the Founder and Managing Director of Knowledge Train which is an accredited PRINCE2 training provider based in the UK.

PRINCE2® is a registered trademark of the Cabinet Office. PMI is a registered trade and service mark of The Project Management Institute, Inc.



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