Building the PRINCE2 Agile™ Exam

Building the PRINCE2 Agile™ Exam

Developing materials for PRINCE2 Agile is a true milestone in the evolution of PRINCE2®. It’s the first extension to the PRINCE2 core qualification and is based on end user feedback; we’ve listened to practitioners and organizations to understand what they need, which is ultimately the ability to bring PRINCE2 methodologies into an agile environment and landscape.

Enter PRINCE2 Agile. The qualification breaks new ground in the field by demonstrating how PRINCE2 can dovetail, adapt and complement an agile environment. There are example case studies in the course material which cover the common levels of maturity in organizations, and the guide refers to common environments and organization maturity when considering agile ways of working.

Factoring in agile approaches into AXELOS exams

Joel Bild – AXELOS Examinations Manager (consultant)Factoring agile approaches into a new syllabus and exam is truly a new departure for AXELOS. We’re creating a higher level qualification and raising the benchmark for managing projects in global organizations in the real world.

The exam has high validity and integrity as it assesses candidates’ real life capability to adapt and tailor PRINCE2 effectively to a wide variety of agile scenarios and projects. For example, the course material contains a number of scenarios outlining a variety of projects in different contexts and types of organization - this provides sufficient diversity in the material for a truly global reach.

Exam questions require candidates to assess each scenario and consider how they would tailor projects using what they’ve learned in the qualification, showing their ability to use their project experience and knowledge effectively in any situation.

The qualification and the exam test these higher level capabilities, with around 85% of the material being of this nature.

Overcoming prejudice

There is mutual prejudice from both PRINCE2 and agile practitioners so we need to demonstrate the complementary nature of both approaches to project management. The course, therefore, utilizes the strengths from each approach to achieve more effective project management and shows there is no one way to manage a project; it isn’t a case of choosing PMBOK or Kanban or PRINCE2 and they shouldn’t be seen as opposing methodologies. The new guidance will instead show how PRINCE2 can add the necessary rigor to almost any agile approach.

Creating the exam

It is absolutely critical that the PRINCE2 Agile guidance is of the highest quality, a robust piece of best practice that is clear and concise. Everything produced for the qualification, such as the syllabus and the training materials, are thoroughly reviewed by a panel of subject matter experts on numerous occasions to ensure both editorial and technical quality.

When we begin developing any new course materials, the author selection is critical. With PRINCE2 Agile we selected one of the most highly regarded voices in project management, Keith Richards.

Probably the most important factor we have to take into account whilst developing the qualification is the audience – that’s the candidate – what pre-existing knowledge on the subject will they have and what experience in the industry will they have?

The other vital aspect at the start of the development process is to ensure we have a really clear product description; this was gained from market research and understanding practitioner and organizational needs.

As the materials are put together, we incorporate AXELOS best practice principles at each stage of development. Content is continuously checked with several subject matter experts who are trained in assessment and question writing by an experienced in-house team and also goes through a number of editorial and technical reviews.

After developing the material, we ensure it goes through a further rigorous review process with stakeholders (such as accredited training providers and other AXELOS partners); their feedback is then incorporated into the materials and sent back to stakeholders and subject matter experts for further approval. We follow this process a number of times to guarantee that the quality of the guidance is the absolute best it can be and that the structure is clear and understandable for the project management industry.

A higher level qualification

PRINCE2 Agile candidates will be current PRINCE2 practitioners and this has hugely affected the examination development process; setting the bar higher than previous qualifications.. Having existing PRINCE2 skills and embedded knowledge is expected of candidates because this qualification is taking practitioners to the next level, using what they already know and what they’ve learned to answer the exam questions and demonstrate their capabilities in real world contexts.


Finally, AXELOS’ pre-recognition concept means that those who are PMI qualified, for example, can skip PRINCE2 Foundation and move straight onto taking PRINCE2 Practitioner, making it more straightforward to undergo the PRINCE2 Agile qualification.

For more information, visit the the PRINCE2 Agile™ section of our website.

More AXELOS Blog posts on PRINCE2 Agile

PRINCE2 Agile for Practitioners - How Using Agile Will Help Support the PRINCE2® Principles - Michelle Rowland, PRINCE2 Chief Examiner

The genesis of PRINCE2 Agile – a work of agile collaboration - Keith Richards, PRINCE2 Agile lead author and Director, agileKRC

PRINCE2 Agile - best of both worlds - Dave Watson - Expert Centre Leader, Mars Global Services

PRINCE2 Agile: Creating Best Practice that even an "Agilista" can live with! - Keith Richards, PRINCE2 Agile lead author and Director, agileKRC

PRINCE2® Agile - When Worlds Stop Colliding and Start Collaborating - Mike Acaster - AXELOS PPM Portfolio Manager

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