Comparison of PMBOK® Guide and PRINCE2® manual

Comparison of PMBOK and PRINCE2.

Last year brought us new editions of two basic guides to the world of project management. Already in June, we could get acquainted with the English version of the PRINCE2® methodology of the 2017 edition, and on September 6, the 6th edition was officially released. PMBOK® Guide. It's been a while since I picked up both of these heavy books. Of course, they are elegantly presented and will look beautiful on the shelf of every project manager. Which of them will I reach for more often? This seemingly innocent question leads us to a serious conversation about the comparison of these two publications. I don't intend to conduct it in an emotional way, but to compare them factually.

With an emotional approach to superiority PMBOK® Guide over the PRINCE2® manual, and vice versa, I have met many times. Interestingly, this topic aroused lively reactions both from "followers" of one of the "revealed books", who knew the other only superficially, and from people who knew both "textbooks" well. I am always surprised and fascinated by this phenomenon. And we can also add to this set ardent supporters of the superiority of Agile and its numerous incarnations over the rest of the world to have a broad front of the "holy war" 😉

You could already find my personal "ecumenical" approach to various "schools", e.g. in the text about the ORC European Championships. I confess. Yes, I am a heretic. Instead of the superiority of one science, I "confess" their complementarity. I draw inspiration from them to the fullest in order to find the best possible answer to the challenges of the organization that I am helping to achieve a higher level of effectiveness at a given time. Fortunately, there was a large group of us "heretics" in pmexperts, so I decided to undertake a comparison with myself without any fear. PMBOK® Guide and the PRINCE2® manual.

Combining both "books" must have certain limitations resulting from the form of our "Knowledge Zone". However, I will try to make it possible for the reader to learn the basic similarities and differences between them in subsequent texts published approximately every month. As I mentioned, I am convinced that PMBOK® Guide and the PRINCE2® methodology complement each other. I will try to defend this thesis. To organize the issue, I had to make an assumption that would reduce the different way of organizing the content of both publications to a common denominator. I decided to organize them based on the division into 10 areas of knowledge taken from PMBOK® Guide.

Please do not look for any deeply hidden preferences in this way of organizing work. None of these things. So, at the end of this introductory article, I will openly present the background of the story. I learned about the PRINCE2® methodology only a few years ago, when I again started working intensively in project management. I got to know it in Polish in the 2009 edition. Last year, in English, I got to know its 2017 edition. In the meantime, I read the Polish edition of the 2006 edition. PMBOK® Guide I met in the 4th edition in English in 2008. In recent years, I have been working on edition 5, also using the Polish translation. 6th edition "PMBOK" I learned it in English, of course, because the Polish translation is yet to come. I hope that my observations from these readings will be interesting for you :)


Author: Maciej Krupa

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