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Author  David Smallwood – Director, e-careers

July 9, 2021 |

 3 min read

  • Blog
  • Programme management
  • Project management
  • Axelos ProPath

When looking at project and programme manager job profiles, many companies are seeking both candidate experience and proof of knowledge backed by certification.

When I ran my first project (a long time ago) and had nobody to show me the way, I had to learn by trial and error.

For professionals working in the field, a certification such as PRINCE2®, PRINCE2 Agile® and Managing Successful Programmes (MSP®) shows you have a recognized method for running change initiatives successfully.

However, even with certifications you can get stuck in a bubble, failing to keep up with the times, the changes in your profession and the variety of skills available. In any career, you’ve got to remain current or risk redundancy.

Luckily, most certifications evolve to match the skills needed in organizations and continuing with best practice broadens your perspective to see the bigger picture, not just a piece of it.

In this way, Axelos® ProPath goes beyond just taking a course and leads to a designation, along with a wider knowledge of best practice.

How to decide what comes next?

As change management professionals use a planning horizon in their work, they should also apply it to their career.

Ask yourself what you want to achieve? If you’re not looking forward, then you’re always looking backwards.

If you’re happy being a project manager, then learn all you can about it – including how it fits with other initiatives. But moving to programme level responsibility definitely needs further knowledge such as MSP, and Management of Portfolios (MoP) at portfolio level.

Broadening knowledge beyond projects

Achieving Axelos ProPath (Agile) Project Expert, means combining PRINCE2 (Agile) with Management of Risk (M_o_R®) and MSP – why does this make sense?

A project manager should have a full understanding of how to manage risk. In addition,

MSP allows project managers to see things from a programme viewpoint. In my view, this has been lacking in project management.

During courses, I ask delegates: “If I gave you a project, would you run it to the best of your ability?” Naturally, everyone says “yes”. However, a different question is: “How much better would you run it if your project was essential to enable three others in the company?”

When people know it’s part of a bigger picture, they tend to perform differently; it changes the way they run their own project and when project managers know how their work fits within a programme, it’s good for them and the organization.

Now, Axelos ProPath provides the clear link between the different best practices and the problems they solve.

Performing at programme and portfolio level

Graduating to work in programmes and portfolios means appreciating the picture across an entire organization.

For this reason, Axelos ProPath Programme Leader adds P3O and MoP to the toolbox.

Why is this? Projects and programmes use resources – people, money, time. The portfolio has a fixed budget each year and has to deal with resource constraints. Projects over-running, adding scope and increasing costs affect programmes. So, portfolio managers need to decide whether to invest more or ensure resources are managed more efficiently.

Having the additional certifications helps practitioners question whether certain projects are needed and understand a wider spectrum of risks.

And this avoids the running theme in many companies, where projects are a way for someone to force their personal ideas (i.e. pet projects rather than important projects) onto the table.

There is no reason, today, to not benefit from best practices developed through years of professional trial and error – and combined in a way that makes success more likely than just more trial and error.

Find out how Axelos® ProPath can broaden your horizons and make you standout from the rest!