Good value from your PRINCE2 training budget?
by Steve Tofts
A lot of organisations are tired of paying for their staff to become PRINCE2 certified only to find they can’t use the method when they return to work.
This doesn’t surprise us. In our experience, delegates can spend up to 50% of their time on a traditional, five-day PRINCE2 Practitioner course preparing for the two examinations. Delegates are often so distracted by the exams that they’re unable to apply PRINCE2 to their own projects.
When we deliver a PRINCE2 Practitioner course we always begin by asking the delegates what they want to get out of the course. Do they want to be able to use PRINCE2, or do they want to pass the exams? Or do they want both? 90% of people tell us that they need to use PRINCE2 because they’re involved in an important project at work but, yes it would be nice to pass the exams as well.
- As soon as they see their first set of practice exam questions their attitude changes and their focus shifts to passing the exams at all costs. It’s a very natural human response.
- This isn’t meant as a criticism of the PRINCE2 exams. Our lead trainer and director Steve Tofts has been using PRINCE2 for nearly 20 years. During that time a lot of hard work has gone into making both the Foundation and the Practitioner exams into effective tools for assessing candidates’ ability to work with, and apply, PRINCE2 in their own organisations.
- But developing the ability to use PRINCE2 in the real world and preparing for 3½ hours of exams in one intensive week of training is a big ask. That applies to trainers as well as delegates.
- For the PRINCE2 training industry it’s about being clear who their customers are. The next step is to identify the expectations that those customers have. It’s a bit like a PRINCE2 project board that brings together the people paying for a project and the end users. Both groups are customers, but they often have very different expectations.
- Most people who attend a PRINCE2 course are paid for by their employers. These are usually organisations that have adopted PRINCE2 as their standard approach to managing projects. Above all, they want their people trained so that they can play an effective and productive role in those projects.
- As we’ve already seen, delegates view things slightly differently. With the best will in the world, if exams are included as part of the course, that’s where their focus will be.
At Benchmark we’ve started to recommend that organisations consider separating certification from a PRINCE2 training course. This reduces the duration of the course and therefore the cost to organisations. It enables us trainers to focus the training time on helping delegates to transfer their knowledge from the classroom to the workplace.
This is how Projects in Plain English was born – a refreshing and simple approach to Prince2 training – courses which focus on learning, not exam passing. Individual delegates feel under less pressure. If they want to sit the exams at a later date, we’re able to help them do this when they feel ready. This can be done in their own time or at the workplace through a range of flexible options.
Everyone’s a winner…