PRINCE2 Practitioner

By | 27th October 2016

Just last month I’ve attended the PRINCE2 Foundation training. It seemed a bit too early to go ahead with Practitioner, but I’m glad I did.

Intro

I’ve had an opportunity to attend the second part of PRINCE2 (PRojects IN a Controlled Environment. Prince. Version 2.) training a bit sooner than I felt comfortable. Didn’t get much time to put the theory from the Foundation training to practice at work, so I felt a bit skeptical at first. But after some consideration decided to go ahead with it. After all – it’s not like I could say that – 6 months pass and I will surely take this training then.

If you do not complete your pre-course work (especially the sample Practitioner exam) your chances for successful exam will be really reduced.

Here is a time-frame estimation, which may assist you in planning and carrying out this pre-course work.

Reading PRINCE2 manual (edition 2009) – 7 days

Reading ‘PRINCE2 Practitioner exam candidate guidance’ – 1 hour

Taking and analysing ‘PRINCE2 Practitioner sample examination – 5h’

The pre-course materials were not as bad as the foundation ones. Only 80 pages vs 160 pages.

As the annotation says – do not skip on preparation material, especially if it’s been a while since your Foundation training. Refreshing memory with the Foundation manual is a must as well.

As for myself – I took the risky approach of not reading those, because my previous training was so recent – one and a half month ago.

Instructor

I would love to have had the opportunity to learn from another, new instructor to compare the teaching approach. But we had the same instructor as last time.

A Polish instructor with extensive experience (over 25 years) both in practical and theoretical aspects of Project Management.

Because of his language, manners and structure of speech a non-native English speaker could confuse him with a UK citizen.

You could easily tell he has been doing “this” for a long time now.

After the second training I will summarize that he’s a good and knowledgeable instructor, but not the “I was born to do this” type.

PRINCE2 Practitioner Training

PRINCE2 Practitioner is a 2 day training course with the exam at the end of the second day. Training was as intense as the Foundation one.

There was no time to talk about PRINCE2 theory, it is assumed you know it. Good thing I took the training so soon after completing Foundation.

We’ve jumped straight into practical tasks, sample exam and exercise papers.

PRINCE2 2009 manual is obligatory both for the training and exam. You read it up frequently when answering the test questions.

Homework is a test exam – 80 questions, 55% passing score (44 questions). It takes ~2 hours, depending on pace and desire to dig into the rationales for detailed explanation of the questions.

Training experience was challenging and fun.

PRINCE2 Practitioner Content

Only practical exercises, test exam questions and a lot of PRINCE2 2009 manual reading. No new theoretical knowledge, you’re presented with different scenarios and apply your existing experience to answer the questions.

Scenarios and test exams are very relevant and similar to what the real exam looks like.

There was only one thing about the test exams and the course content that put me off. One specific type of phrasing the question has been structured extremely poorly.

Here’s an example. One question. 6 marks. You have a list of items from 1 to 6. And answers from A to F. Answers represent the correct sequence in which items must appear. Sounds easy except answer A states – “not present in the sequence, can be used once or more or not at all”. Answer B – first, C – second and so on. So imagine if you have several items from the list that do not apply to this sequence at all.

I have never seen questions structured in such a poor way. It’s the only instance when I felt that the training institution is bent on making you fail. Good thing none of these questions were in the final exam.

PRINCE2 Practitioner Exam

Exam is 150 minutes (+30 minutes if taken in a non-native language or because of a medical condition). For most of our group, including myself, it took every minute of those 3 hours.

It is allowed to use the manual during the exam, but the time constraints do not allow you to sit around and read too much.

Trust me –  if it’s your first PRINCE2 Practitioner exam – you literally cannot pass the exam without the manual. Unless you know all the management products by heart – their content, structure, headings and nuances. And roles, and themes, and recommended techniques, and processes, and activities.

And let’s not forget the sticky notes. You have to be very experienced and fast when using the manual during the Exam. There is no time.

PRINCE2 Practitioner sticky notes prep

As a bonus pro-tip – here are the resources I’ve used to pass the exam.

PRINCE2 Practitioner fuel resources

Conclusion

Overall I feel that the content of the training and exam is highly relevant to everyone looking to expand their understanding of best practices and methods for project management.

I’m positively impressed by the complexity level of this training and exam. It keeps you on the edge. It makes you feel unprepared and out of your comfort zone.

I had a nostalgic feeling, feeling like a student, feeling like I’m missing something and should be catching up as soon as possible.

I’ve passed the exam, but I never knew how well I did before the results were announced.  It was great.