The Inexorable Rise Of PRINCE2(r).

Simon BuehringThis guest post is by Simon Buehring
The number of people who have PRINCE2 (r) qualifications is steadily increasing. September 2012 saw the number of PRINCE2 (r) examinations passed surpass the one million mark. This is quite remarkable considering that PRINCE2 (r) has been around for just 16 years. Perhaps even more remarkable is the fact that exam takers continue to increase each year.
This article will discuss why PRINCE2r has become the preferred professional project management qualification in the UK and why it is growing in popularity around the globe. Let’s first look at some statistics.
The graphic below shows that, by 2011, the number taking Foundation exams had risen to nearly 600,000. While the number taking Practitioner exams was slightly less than half of that. Only 1% of Reregistration exams were taken.

From its humble beginnings in 1996, when only 102 exams were taken, the number of people taking exams has increased every year (year-on year), except 2009, which was the year that the real economy plunged into bankruptcy due to the credit crunch. (see graph below). The trend was probably a result of companies cutting jobs and cutting training budgets. This trend is clearly illustrated in the graph below. It also highlights that 2011 saw more exams than any previous year. In reality, an average of one exam was taken every four minutes during 2011.

International demand growing
As PRINCE2(r), which was originally developed as a UK government method of managing IT projects, it is not surprising that most exams are sat in the UK. The UK saw a 2.6% increase in examinations over the past year, far behind Denmark (112%), Poland (65%), China (54%), and Germany (33%). The increasing demand for PRINCE2 certification in other countries is a sign that PRINCE2 is now a globally recognized project management qualification. There are now over 30 PRINCE2-accredited training organizations in more than 30 countries.

Why has PRINCE2 (r) become so popular. Why is it that so many people spend up 5 days intensively studying and spend large sums to be qualified in PRINCE2 (r)?
My PRINCE2(r) journey
PRINCE2(r), which I first came across, was more than a decade ago. I was working in an Asian software outsourcing company at the time and was assigned the task of improving the company’s project management processes. It seemed fascinating, but perhaps too complicated for the needs of my projects when I first read about PRINCE2r. A few years later, after I returned to the UK, the question of PRINCE2 (r) certification was brought up by a recruitment consultant. He had graciously taken me out for lunch during the last year of my contract at BBC. He suggested that more companies were seeking PRINCE2 (r) certified project managers when we discussed my next contract manager role. I decided to take the plunge and enroll in a 5-day course.
The course was very interesting. While many of the concepts were familiar to me, I was most impressed by PRINCE2(r). Its focus on applying controls throughout the project, the business justification and the product-based planning approach. It is becoming a popular course because it allows people to learn everything they need to do on a project, by whom and when, in just five days. This means that even those with no experience in project management can learn best practices quickly and easily.
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