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AgilePM® vs. PRINCE2 Agile®

By Nader K. Rad

Which one to choose?

Many people have asked me for my opinion on the differences between AgilePM and PRINCE2 Agile. The reason people ask for this is they want to select either the AgilePM or PRINCE2 Agile certification program as their next step, but don’t know which one. So, I’ve decided to explain the differences between the two here.

AgilePM vs. PRINCE2 Agile

What’s your [ideal] position in projects?

Both the AgilePM and PRINCE2 Agile methods are suitable for those who have management positions, or are planning to have one in the future. If you’re a developer, and would like to continue in that position, then these two certificates do not have a high priority for you.

What’s your opinion about Agile?

If you’re an experienced project manager working in IT, and you just want to get an Agile certificate to prove you know the concept, while, deep inside, you don’t feel so good about it, then go for AgilePM.

PRINCE2 Agile is completely based on an appreciation of Agile, and if you don’t already love it, you may have some problems. AgilePM, on the other hand, has a more neutral approach that makes Agile acceptable for “outsiders” using the concepts you’re already familiar with and appreciate.

Are you more interested in guidance or a method?

PRINCE2 Agile is more focused on guiding you, while AgilePM is mainly focused on giving you a method.

In case you’re familiar with the differences between PRINCE2 and the PMBOK® Guide, AgilePM is more similar to PRINCE2, while PRINCE2 Agile is more similar to the PMBOK Guide. I know, that sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s right :)

Are you capable of tailoring systems?

Both should be tailored. Tailoring is when you make adjustments to the system to make it suit your project environment; e.g., simplify it for smaller projects. You cannot use either of them properly without tailoring. However, they are different when it comes time to tailor.

AgilePM is a “single” method, while PRINCE2 Agile is like an infrastructure you can use to combine PRINCE2 with an Agile method such as Scrum. Because of this complexity in PRINCE2 Agile, you need more expertise to tailor it properly.

Are you already using PRINCE2?

If your company is already using PRINCE2 and has a certain level of maturity in it, it might be a good idea to select PRINCE2 Agile and use it like an add-on to your existing system, instead of using something new.

It doesn’t mean that AgilePM is incompatible with PRINCE2. In fact, it has been influenced by it a lot and is fully compatible. However, it all comes down to practicality: tailoring AgilePM to match your PRINCE2 environment may take more effort than using PRINCE2 Agile.

By the way, I’m personally against “combining” AgilePM and PRINCE2.

Are you already using Scrum?

If you’re already using Scrum, you’re mature in it, and you have reasons to keep using Scrum, then PRINCE2 Agile is a better option, because it lets you keep using Scrum and adds a new layer for PRINCE2 project management.

This is tricky though. Again, it’s possible to use AgilePM with Scrum, but I’m against this idea, because adding Scrum to AgilePM doesn’t add any value. Everything you can get from Scrum already exists in AgilePM.

Do you have a project management / delivery system?!

If you’re not really using any systematic approach in your projects and are deciding to do so, AgilePM would be more straightforward.

Are you dealing with large projects?

If you’re working on small projects, practically speaking, you don’t need either of these. Just use XP, Scrum, or Kanban.

Do you have the prerequisites?

AgilePM doesn’t have official or practical prerequisites. You can start learning it right now, and then take the exam.

PRINCE2 Agile, on the other hand, has many prerequisites. First, you need to be familiar with the Agility concept, and Scrum in particular, as well as PRINCE2 itself. Then, you need to have at least one of the following certificates before taking the exam: PRINCE2 Practitioner, PRINCE2 Foundation, PMP, CAPM, IPMA-A, IPMA-B, IPMA-C, or IPMA-D.

Are you concerned about the difficulty of the exam?

I find the AgilePM exam easier than PRINCE2 Agile. Do you see yourself getting both?

If so, start with AgilePM; it’s more fundamental.