Not Sure If PMP, APM Or PRINCE2 Is The Right Approach For You?

Paul Naybour

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Many people want to understand the differences between project management methodologies and approaches and determine which would be best for their organisation and for their career. The main approaches in use around the world are PRINCE2 and those based on the APM BOK and PMI BOK. Although strictly PRINCE2 is a methodology with standard templates, processes and role and responsibilities and the AMP and PMI bodies of knowledge are guides to the skills and competencies a project manager needs to know and use when managing a project.
In this post we will describe the differences between these three approaches and the advantages and disadvantages of each – both for the management of projects and also for your personal career development.
The Project Management Institute (PMI)
The PMI BoK (Project Management Institute Body of Knowledge) is the most widely recognised approach around the world. Sponsored by the PMI in the USA ( it is a highly comprehensive approach to projects. It is based on five process groups initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling & closing.
This is supported by nine knowledge areas comprising:
  1. integration management
  2. scope management
  3. time management
  4. cost management
  5. quality management
  6. human resource management
  7. communications management
  8. risk management
  9. procurement management
The sheer size of the PMI BOK can be daunting for all but the largest projects, but it is an excellent guide to project management in general and with a bit of common sense it can be streamlined to suit even the smallest project. For example, it is possible to combine the project charter and project management plan for smaller projects.
PMI Project Management Qualifications
The PMI have two levels of project manager qualification CAPM and PMP (they also have several others for programme managers etc). The CAPM is mostly aimed at project team members, while PMP Certification is targeted at experienced project managers. The requirements for PMP certification are three or five years of experience (with or without a degree) and 35 hours of project management training. This training can come from a number of sources including an internal training course, a PMI recognised REP or distance learning with a certificate at the end.
The PMI and PMP Certification have strong recognition in the international market place, so if you see yourself working across the globe then PMP Certification is probably right for you.
Association for Project Management in the UK
The APM BOK (Association for Project Management Body of Knowledge) is sponsored by the UK association for Project Management (; it is less comprehensive than the PMI BOK and refers to many different references to give a comprehensive overview of project management.
The APM Body of Knowledge nevertheless has 7 sections and 52 topics. It is less of a method and more a true body of knowledge, the approach is a bit simpler than the PMI BOK with only the Business Case and Project Management Plan being prescribed documents.
APM Qualifications
The APM do have a wide range of qualifications from Introductory Certificate, foundation level APMP, practitioner level APM PQ and at the highest level Registered Project Professional (RPP). The APM is particularly strong in the UK in the construction, defence, rail and nuclear industries and is ideal for those who are looking for a integrated development road map. If you work in the previously mentioned industries then APM training an certification could be the right approach for you and your organisation.
project team members discussing project progress
Projects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE2) is a true project management method, which has become the defacto standard for many UK government projects. It covers the management, control and organisation of a project. It defines the templates and processes to manage a project. It has 8 processes (containing a total of 45 separate sub-processes) as follows:
• Starting Up a Project (SU)
• Planning (PL)
• Initiating a Project (IP)
• Directing a Project (DP)
• Controlling a Stage (CS)
• Managing Product Delivery (MP)
• Managing Stage Boundaries (SB)
• Closing a Project (CP)
PRINCE2 works well if your organisation and client are already working in a PRINCE2 environment, but it is more difficult to apply in isolation for an individual project. However, if you are new to project management PRINCE will give you a clear roadmap to follow.
PRINCE2 Qualifications
PRINCE2 is available as a foundation or practitioner qualification. The foundation is ideal for those who want an appreciation of the PRINCE2 method while the practitioner qualification is targeted at project managers.
PRINCE2 is complementary to the PMI and APM bodies of knowledge and the APMP qualification is available to existing PRINCE2 Practitioners via a shorter period of study and a shorter exam.
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