Archive for October, 2012


In this article we will discuss the pros and cons of APM, PMI and PRINCE2 for individuals and organisations wishing to develop competence in project management and how they can be combined into a common approach which delivers a holistic approach giving organisations who deliver project for clients a real competitive edge and a more effective approach to project management.

Project managers have a wide range of choice for project management trainingincluding certification and non certification courses. In the certification arena that have choice between
1. PMP qualification from the USA based Project Management Institute (PMI)
2. PRINCE2 which is the project management method sponsored by the UK Office of Government Commerce (OGC)
3. Qualifications from the International Project Management Association (IPMA), which vary from country to country but are represented in the UK by qualifications from the Association for Project Management.

A range of other project related qualifications exist targeted at the needs of specific sectors, such as ITIL.
As an alternative many organisations develop their own bespoke training programmes which are targeted at the specific needs within that organisation. Often these are supplemented by top up certification courses.


  1. A range of qualifications from introductory to advanced project management.
  2. A pragmatic approach to project management based on a published Body of Knowledge.
  3. Competences include leadership and management of teams.
  4. Very strong within certain sectors in the UK including defence, infrastructure, telecoms.
  5. Links to professional development.

  1. Most widely recognised global project management qualification.
  2. Computer based test can be administered from anywhere in the world.
  3. Detailed comprehensive body of knowledge (PMBoK) available in many languages.
  4. Requirement for experience and formal training add value to qualification.
  5. Formal requirement for CPD to maintain certification.

  1. Most widely recognised project management in the UK.
  2. Increasing value in the international market.
  3. Clear and simple step by step process to follow.
  4. Detailed and comprehensive PRINCE2 manual.
  5. Need for ongoing certification to maintain credibility

  1. Only recognised strongly in the UK and other parts of the commonwealth.
  2. Examinations and certification are not computer based making logistic more difficult outside the UK.
  3. Body of knowledge lacks the detail in the PMBoK and PRINCE2 manual

  1. Not widely recognised in the UK.
  2. Highest level of qualification in the PMP with no options for further development beyond this knowledge level.
  3. Need to learn the PMBoK way for working which may not reflect practice in your organisation.

  1. Method only works in a PRINCE2 environment. It can be hard to apply PRINCE2 to general project management.
  2. Excludes the important area of people leadership and management.
  3. Only strongly recognised in the UK

Looking to the future it would be good to see these different standards combined into one common approach. Parallel Project Training recently did this for one of its international programme management consultancy clients with offices around the world. It can be relatively easily done, especially since the release of the new 2009 PRINCE2 manual.
Combining the best of all three approaches into one common method?

It is relatively simple to produce a combined method that meets the requirements of all three approaches. A detailed analysis of the APM and PMI BoKs reveals that they have much in common. The high level nature of the APM Bok is helpful here because its knowledge areas are very similar to the PMI BoK. The fourth edition of the PMI BoK increased this similarity because many of the changes brought it is much closer to the APM BoK in the areas such as risk management.

PRINCE2 is slightly more difficult to integrate, because it has a much wider definition or project management and views the project from the perspective of a client organisation. It is much more concerned with the formulation and management of the project business case, governance structures and interface to the users in client business to ensure the benefits are realised. This is understandable because of its roots in national government. It pays less attention to the mechanisms for the delivery of the project.

The PMI Bok however views the project as more of a delivery process for the scope defined on the project charter. It pays less attention to the processes used to formulate the project charter in the first place and the governance of the project by the client. PRINCE2 is however very weak on the delivery mechanisms such as resource planning
However these two approached (PRINCE2 and PMBoK) form a useful complement, with PRINCE2 clearly describing the processes for the formulation, governance and control of the project charter (project brief) and business case. The PMBoK described in more detail the processes to turn the project charter (project brief) into deliverables. By the way the APM BoK covers both these processes although at a high level.

Any multinational organisation that can demonstrate compliance to all three of the major international standard for project management has both a real competitive edge but also a more holistic approach and effective approach to project management. For more information contact Parallel Project Training.


Friday Humor: Squared Away

Posted: October 26, 2012 by Alison in Just For Fun
Tags: ,

Illustration by Peter Oumanski


Now that the campaign is almost over, it’s clear that this presidential cycle was all about the economy. Just not the economy we’re actually entering. This thought crossed my mind during the second presidential debate as Mitt Romney declared that, if elected, he would label China as a currency manipulator. It was a rehearsed entreaty meant to appeal to thousands of frustrated manufacturing workers and their bosses in Rust Belt states. But it mainly confirmed how far we are from understanding our place in the new global economy.

Adam Davidson translates often confusing and sometimes terrifying economic and financial news.

Not that long ago, the U.S. had that global economy all to itself. From the 1950s to the 1980s, it was the world’s dominant producer and consumer. In countries spanning Europe to Latin America, and throughout Asia, success was determined by how well they could siphon off a bit of this incredible growth. Things began to change in the 1970s, however, when Japan and Germany started making cars and factory equipment and electronic gadgets that beat their American competitors. And for the next 30 years, the U.S. struggled to adjust to increasingly competitive Asian and Latin American producers. But as long as it remained the world’s largest consumer market, the U.S. maintained lots of leverage. The government persuaded Pakistan to join the global war on terror, for instance, partly by promising its sock manufacturers duty-free access to its market.


What Would You Like to Hear About?

Posted: October 24, 2012 by Alison in FYI

It’s hard to fathom but this blog has been up and running for 1,5 years already! I hope you’ve found the posts informative and interesting.  What are you interested in reading more about?  I plan on posting long into the future but i want news to be relevant to you and the modern day. Being the ingenious alumni that you are I’m sure you’re overflowing with ideas. If you do, please click the link above “I want to write in the blog!” I look forward to hearing from you!


Want to know whether someone is lying to you? Just look at the person’s eyebrows and lips, they can give you the answer, scientists say. (April ’12)

A team from the University of British Columbia in Canada claimed to have identified four facial muscles that can “leak” a person’s true feelings like guilt, amid intense emotional pressures.

While liars were betrayed by tiny movements that caused them to raise their eyebrows in surprised expressions and smile slightly, innocent people tended to furrow their brow in genuine “expressions of distress”, the researchers found.

A person’s lack of control over their facial expressions meant genuine feelings could be differentiated from fake emotion, they said. Most humans, according to them, can control lower face muscles to talk or eat but those in the upper face are difficult to manipulate and can spark involuntary behaviour.

“Our research suggests that muscles of the face are not under complete conscious control and certain muscles are likely to betray the liar, particularly in high-stakes and highly emotional situations,” Dr Leanne ten Brinke, who led the study, told The Daily Telegraph.  ”Facial cues are an important, but often ignored, aspect of credibility assessments where an emotional issue is in question,” she said.  ”Cues to emotional deception are likely to occur when the underlying emotion a liar is attempting to mask, is relatively strong.”

In the study, published in the journal Evolution and Human Behaviour ( april ’12), the researchers analysed facial expressions of a group of people — half of whom were later proved to be lying — as they made emotional televised pleas for the safe return of a missing relative.  They found that deceptive pleaders raised their forehead muscles, called the frontalis, which gave off surprised expressions.

Liars also had increased activity of the “zygomatic majormuscles”, located around the mouth, which caused them to inadvertently lift their lips into a smile, found the team that also viewed over 23,000 frames of video from real-life cases in Britain, America, Canada and Australia.

Dr ten Brinke, from the university’s Centre for the Advancement of Psychological Science and Law (CAPSL), said the study found muscles “leaked” signs of true emotion because of the person’s subconscious actions.

This compared to “genuine pleaders”, who activated their inner frontalis and “corrugator supercilli”, located between the eyebrows, which caused them to frown and furrow their brow in a genuine “an expression of distress. While genuine pleaders show real distress on their face, the deceptive pleaders are unable to replicate that same activation,” Dr ten Brinke said. While the findings were important for “lie catchers”, she cautioned they did not provide a “Pinocchio’s nose”.

“Not everyone will leak their true emotions, and some people are better than others at adopting a false face (such as) psychopaths,” she added.