PRINCE2 in US universities: equipping graduates for the real world

Project management students in university working at desks as tutor moves around class answering questions

There is a pressing need to start graduating US college students with basic practical knowledge of how to operate in IT organizations and other change environments.

Students with a recognized project management certification such as PRINCE2® are more likely to become effective as employees right away, regardless of whether the organization is using PRINCE2 or not. It means having young employees who know how to participate on a project team and even lead a small project.

In a world that’s become more projectized, project management skills are relevant to any industry – they benefit everyone from a computer science to an agriculture college major.

And, with a method and certification like PRINCE2, students can obtain the knowledge and accreditation through an intense, week-long period of training, learning and certification.

PRINCE2: a dual benefit for graduates and organizations

I’ve worked with seniors at a US college who had to manage a real project with a real customer and who were acting as a genuine project team.

Developing this experience is extremely valuable for companies today as they don’t have the same luxury to train entry level employees in project management. The need for speed in the workplace is so much more dramatic and new employees need to “hit the ground running”.

So, college graduates who have both a degree and professional certifications have already got a competitive edge. This is also a strong selling point for the university; telling prospective undergraduates they could graduate and have practical skills to elevate them against other entry level job seekers.

Blending project management theory and practice

Students need to learn project management theory but also need to know the practicalities of operating as project managers and good project team members.

What I envision is a junior/senior-level class about project management, with theory taken from the PMBOK and ISO guidance, for example. After that, students can dive into the practice through the likes of PRINCE2. And, today, this should include learning about Agile approaches. Given the choice, I think most of the class should be practically-based.

Project management in practice

The days of five-year projects are over. The start-up time is compressed and the focus is on having minimum viable processes to obtain a minimum viable product.

With a “skeleton” of project management based on practice first, new workplace entrants can then later enhance their practice through repetition and deeper understanding of theory.

Organizations would rather have people who are comfortable jumping into the practice, rather than having all the theory up front. Enterprises no longer have 12-18 months for an entry level resource to become productive; they need to see them deploying practical skills and generating results much sooner.

Typically, organizations recruit people who have come from many different places, backgrounds, academic and practical abilities. With so many people and capabilities to reconcile and coalesce into something effective, having a project management method such as PRINCE2 in the mix – with common principles and terminology – could more quickly unify these disparate human resources.

Read more AXELOS Blog Posts by Lisa Hodges

ITIL Intermediate: Service Strategy – towards better business and customer outcomes

ITIL: bridging the gap between IT services today and tomorrow

Built on ITIL: a service management foundation for the future

Five ways for project managers to start realizing benefits

How to be ready: the need for speed in ITSM 2018

Enterprise service management: deploying ITSM without the IT

Bi-modal/two-speed IT: the chaos with traditional and agile projects

PMBOK and PRINCE2®: how Project Managers can survive in an agile world

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