The role of APM PMQ, Prince2 and PMP certification in developing your project management career


Many of us just fall into project management at a midpoint through their career. It normally happens as a result of performing well as a technical specialist and having an aptitude for organising things. Our first projects are often managed in an ad hoc way, with very little structure or formality. We get to the end result often by sheer personality and drive. However as the project get larger and more complex then we need to make the transition from being doers to managers and leaders. This implies some formal process, defined roles and responsibilities and advanced planning. Well project management offers a framework to define these management processes which has been tried and tested over the years. In recent years these approaches have been codified into three widely accepted professional qualifications APM PMQ (often preceded by the introductory qualification APM PFQ), PMP and Prince2. However project managers are never sure which one to adopt for their personal development. The decision depends on what you want to achieve and where you see your career developing in the years to come.

The APM PMQ and PMP are both skill and knowledge based

  • The APM PMQ is a foundation level qualification from the Association for Project Management (APM) in the UK. As the professional body for project management in the UK it has a strong reputation in the UK market. The APM PMQ is only the first step on the journey towards professional project status as the APM has a full development road map leading to registered project professional. This latter standard is for project managers who have demonstrated a capability to deliver the most complex and challenging projects. The APM PMQ is the best approach for professional project managers in the UK
  • Outside the UK the PMP is a much more widely recognised certification standard. Developed by the Project Management Institute in the USA the PMP is widely recognised as a truly international project management standard. Over 400,000 project managers hold the PMP in many of the developed and developing nations. To take the PMP certification you must be able to demonstrate 5 years of project management experience and also complete 35 hours of directed learning based on the PMI body of knowledge. The PMP exam is held all over the world at a wide range of on-line test centres. The PMP is the best approach for international project managers.

Whereas PRINCE2 is a method.

  • PRINCE2 is a method to deliver projects sponsored by the UK Government. Strictly it is complementary to the APM PMQ and PMP, but in practice most project managers select one approach or the other. It defined the roles, responsibilities, processes and documents needed to run a project in a controlled environment. The PRINCE2 practitioner qualification is widely recognised in the UK, especially within the public sector and IT industry, where it has become the defacto standard. PRINCE2 Practitioner is the best choice for those working in organisation with or seeking to introduce PRINCE2 methods.

Either approach will give you a good foundation in project management however in selecting the next step in your professional development is important. Our recommendation would be to talk to other people in your industry and discover what they find to be useful.

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