Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Project management frameworks : PMBOK/PMI vs PRINCE2

PRINCE2® (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) is accredited by the APM Group, whereas PMBOK® (Project Management Body of Knowledge) is internationnaly maintained by the US PMI (Project Management Institute).

Trying to compare PMBOK® and PRINCE2® could well lead to an endless debate just like comparing Java vs. VB.Net. However, I was wondering what was the main differences between those 2 standard and popular project management frameworks.

Which one is better? Are they complementary, competitors or Totally different ??

I already know a fair bit about PRINCE2, since I am certified on the PRINCE2 Foundation (i.e. I am not a practitionner, but know the basis to start implementing it).
Here are my findings in a nutshell.
First of all, lets start with a comparison on its adoption throughout the world over the years :

(I found the number of PM certified in PRINCE2 quite enormous, but this is from the reference below

  • PMBOK is more a framework of Best Practices and processes that you could pick from in any order. The technics to address the problems you can come accross within a project management lifecycle is presented. As a restult, it gives you all the aspects of project managements,
  • PRINCE2 is an entire process composed of sub-processes that  you have to follow "from the book" in a certain order. PRINCE2 recommands you tools to solve your problems, without focusing or naming the particular tool (we are free to choose EXCEL, paper, ...). Because it is not particularly focused on the technics you are using to follow those detailed workflows (except 1 ou 2 recommandations), it is not meant to be used on its own.
    In the middle of the graphic below [8 processes, 8 components, 3 techniques], this is only on overview of the top level workflow. The sub-processes are quite numerous at first sight, and I will not detail them.
    Few drawbacks among which we cannot refer to PRINCE2 as an agile process, and it is manly focussed on creating lots of versionned documents. Find more details here (

My 2 cents conclusion
Those 2 frameworks are complementary.

  • PMBOK is an international framework that gives you a whole set of Best Practices to face the various problems we could encountered within a project.
  • Even if PRINCE2 has more certified PM worldwide, it is mostly well known in UK. It is a strict set of workflows that you have to follow, that covers the project lifecycle. This is something that could well fit within Visual Studio Team Foundation Server, provided we create a custom Process Template,
  • Accroding to my readings it would be best starting with PMBOK to have a large with of the Best Practices to give you strong PM bases. Then, depending on the configuration of a project (fixed price contract, agile, product owner not present, ...) you could pickup a framework such as PRINCE2, Scrum, or any other ones, and even mix / blend them.

References :

  1. or here
  2. or here


  1. Your blog is awe-inspiring. I have found many new things. Your way of staging is also fascinating. You have elected very incredible topic. I appreciated it.

  2. I would say That a PMP Certification is highly respected With Both IT & o-IT communities where strong project management skills are required. If you pla o a log term career as a project manager, the yes, eve with your level of experience, I would suggest getting your PMP. You ca to prepare yourself for the exam i oe of the PMP training providers like PMP prep course PMP classes to get PMP credentials .You ca do minimal prep-work to get 40 Contact Hours PMI ® ad apply to PMI for PMP Exam before the class begins.


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