Thursday, 23 June 2016

Which project management certification is best for you?

Many top level management job openings are now requiring and actively seeking certified project managers. This comes as little surprise with many studies suggesting certified professionals exhibit improved management of workloads, budgets, time, risks and people. These skills translate to a higher project success rate. With a report from PWC, citing 80% of successful projects are run by a certified project manager.

These factors have fuelled huge demand for project management certifications, with a wide range available, meaning it can often be confusing deciding which one best meets your needs. Each offers a unique set of skills. In this post, we breakdown what each one offers and the situation it is most applicable to.

PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner Certification

Created by the UK’s Office of Government Commerce, it has become the national standard project management framework, with influences across Europe and Australia. It has also flourished into the most popular project management certification, with over 1 million PRINCE2 certified professionals worldwide.

The PRINCE2 methodology covers product-oriented planning, with emphasis on splitting a project into stages and increasing your control and flexibility. It also focuses on defined organisational structure, eliminating any uncertainty or miscommunication. This standardised approach is designed to be applicable to almost any project. 

PRINCE2 is split into two separate levels, the Foundation and Practitioner. Firebrand is the only training provider in the world to offer both levels of the PRINCE2 certification in just three days.

PRINCE2 Agile Certification

Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at
PRINCE2 Agile combines the standardised and effective methodology of PRINCE2, with the responsiveness of Agile. Adding Agile skills to your project management arsenal will make each step of the process more efficient. This means you’ll be able to finish the project quicker, allowing you to meet a higher percentage of your deadlines.

This makes the PRINCE2 Agile certification particularly useful to you if your projects are often affected by time constraints. For example, if you work in a fast-paced environment that requires high turnover of smaller projects. Or, if you often manage large projects with crucial deadlines.

Lean Six Sigma Certifications

Lean Six Sigma skills focus on reducing the amount of errors and minimising waste and variability in your projects. This means improving the processes throughout, making it as efficient as possible. This is done by establishing defined infrastructure at each stage of the project and using quality management to monitor them. The processes are then given quantified financial targets to measure success.

Lean Six Sigma skills can help you
meet your targets.
Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at
Lean Six Sigma certifications are most useful to managers who work on projects measured by efficiency and financial success. The skills these certifications focus on are geared towards improving statistical success rates and overall efficiency.

There are a variety of levels within Lean Six Sigma. The Yellow Belt is the entry level Lean Six Sigma certification. It teaches you Lean fundamentals and the basic waste management tools needed to start implementing Lean Six Sigma thinking in your projects.

The Green Belt will teach you to apply Lean Six Sigma methodologies and behaviours in your role. If you have over 18 months project management experience, it’s possible to go straight onto the Green Belt.

The Black Belt is aimed at advanced project managers and will help you make lasting improvements to your project management processes. It will help you in areas like cost control, customer satisfaction and performance processing. You’ll learn to directly address the speed and quality of your projects.

PMP Certification

Another of the heavyweights in project management certification is PMI’s PMP. Developed and dominant in the US, this certification teaches you PMP’s  globally accepted project management standard. You’ll learn techniques to evaluate and improve your projects under the direction of the PMBoK (Project Management Body of Knowledge), which covers a huge range of project management aspects.

This is another certification that is applicable to a huge range of projects. However, you’re required to have at least five years project management experience to be able to attempt the PMP due to its high level. It is best suited to advanced project managers looking to polish their skills and elevate themselves to the top of their field.

CAPM Certification

An entry-level alternative from PMI, is the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM). This covers a range of project management topics similar to that of the PMP. This allows you start your project management career with awareness of the full range of skills needed to be a successful manager, for the long term. PMI’s CAPM is a fantastic option for inexperienced managers.

PSM Certification

Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at’s Professional Scrum Master certification is all about teaching you to remove obstacles and difficulties for your team. It covers managing behavioural shifts, the unique dynamics within teams and coaching your team. The end goal of the Professional Scrum Master certification is to allow you to boost the productivity and efficiency of your team, improving the overall success rates of your projects.

Due to the personable and interactive nature of the Professional Scrum Master, it is best suited to managers responsible for large or fast-moving teams. It is also worth noting that learning for the Scrum Master course is often done through highly interactive exercises and environments, making the skills easily transferable to the workplace.