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PRINCE2 training courses

  • What is Project Management?

    03 April 2012

    Project management is the ‘discipline of planning, organising, securing, and managing resources to achieve specific goals.’ In general terms, a project is a temporary task with a defined beginning and end, usually with time and budgetary constraints. Project management strives to complete the task, whilst meeting these limitations.

    Two of the main players in terms of computer-based and I.T. program Project Management systems are PRINCE2 and Agile.

    PRINCE2, (that’s PRojects IN Controlled Environments 2) is a structured approach with a clearly defined framework. It works by implementing procedures and coordinating people and activities to ensure a project is completed. It provides design and supervising structures and explanations of what to do if a project has to be adjusted. The PRINCE2 method is divided into manageable stages, each with key inputs and outputs to meet specific goals. It allows for ‘efficient control of resources and deviations from the plan.’

    Contrasting with the PRINCE2 is Agile. This approach is based on the principles of ‘human interaction management’ which basically means the Agile system allows for human input. The framework is seen as a series of relatively small tasks conceived and executed as the situation demands. It allows businesses to foresee situations and outcomes through its development cycle thus preparing them for change and to go on and use Agile’s methods to adapt to this change in a flexible and timely manner.

    Taking this human interaction approach to the next level is Scrum, an incremental part of the Agile methodology system. Key features are the cycle system which allows for changes by the client at any stage of the project. The step-by-step approach means rather than planning the entire project at the beginning, you to learn from earlier parts of the process, adjust and continue.

    Total Training Solutions offer courses in Project Management:

    To book on any of these courses, please call Total Training Solutions on 0800 612 1299 or email the team at info@tts-uk.com.

  • Is having Prince2 Foundation sufficient enough in securing a job?

    10 April 2012

     Want to pursue a career in Project Management? Thinking of taking a PRINCE2 certificate to get you on your way? Most people start with the PRINCE2 Foundation certificate and this makes sense, but is it enough to get you a job in the field?

    Like all careers and chosen job paths, experience is king. Certificates and qualifications backup your level of theory and commitment to a given subject but experience is where the skill lies. Try doing some project management work in your current role and ask your PM if you can help him/her out with some tasks. This will not only build up your experience but should also be recognised by your employer as a pro-active step to self-development and could well lead to a promotion or pay-rise.

    A PRINCE2 Foundation certificate will certainly strengthen your appeal to potential employers when applying for a PM job, particularly when pitched against those with no relevant qualifications. However, as the title suggests, this is a foundation course and one that should be built upon with subsequent qualifications. As you progress in your PM career and gain relevant experience, taking the next level exam and qualification should go hand-in-hand.

    Training providers such as Total Training Solutions offer many Project Management and PRINCE2 courses from beginner, through to advanced and combined courses. The PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner course offers all the essential skills and information you would learn on a Foundation only course but combines it with the next level Practitioner skill-set to get you well on your PM career path. Through Total Training Solutions, this course is available to self-funders, making it particularly attractive to those looking for their first PM qualification. The evening class option suggests the PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner course is well suited to those who need a more flexible study programme to get them started in their PM career.

    For a full list of courses available from Total Training Solutions, you can view the Course Directory. To book a course or if you have any questions, email info@tts-uk.com or call 0800 612 1299.

  • What level of Project Management do you need?

    17 April 2012

    There are hundreds of Project Management courses and qualifications on the market, but what level of qualification do you really need to work in Project Management?

    Businesses and organisations all over the world now use some sort of Project Management system or another to deliver individual projects and the bigger company strategy. The success of these projects relies on the right people, with the right qualifications and expertise carrying out the right tasks. Varying levels of Project Management are needed within an organisation, as is effective delegation. The biggest asset in a PM is the art of delegation. Assigning tasks to team members with the most appropriate skills to complete it will make the whole process run more smoothly.

    PM’s need to work to a framework such as PRINCE2 or Agile. This framework needs to run through the organisation to work effectively. With this in place processes and projects will run more efficiently and rely less on individual success but on repeated and measurable success. Projects will deliver against cost, time, scope, quality and perhaps most importantly, objectives. Having adequate staff trained to the right level to deliver these objectives is key.

    Project Management training courses offered by Total Training Solutions include a range of early, foundation courses, helping you understand the basics and get a grip of the theology behind the methodology and how to apply it to tasks. The PRINCE2 Foundation and Agile Foundation and Practitioner are two such courses. As you develop in your experience and PM career, you may need to take subsequent certificates like the Advanced Project Management in Primavera P6 which delves into in-depth planning and analysis training. Higher and more specialised levels of qualification are also available for the established PM, such as the Master in Sustainability in Project Management.

    To develop your Project Management career visit the Total Training Solutions website and browse the course directory. When you’re ready to book or if you have any questions please call 0800 612 1299 or email info@tts-uk.com

  • The advantages of having a good Project Manager

    25 April 2012

    In short, a Project Manager directs a team to the completion of a project. The role varies according to industry but core attributes include balancing timescale, costs and scope as the team work to meet objectives. They plan, oversee, analyse, modify and sign-off projects and tasks.

    In last week’s blog we touched on the importance of delegation in a good Project Manager and picking the right team members to carry out individual tasks. As well as managing the team and assigning them tasks, a good PM will regularly update customers, shareholders and management on the projects development and work with other support staff.

    A PM oversees individual tasks and ensures they are on track to move the project to completion. The success or failure of a project often depends on the PM’s competency.

    Appointing or employing a skilled PM can boost morale and productivity in a struggling business or team. Their experience should bring control and order to the table and ensure a project moves forward without delay, mistakes or overspend.

    In most cases a good Project Manager would have started their career with a Project Management qualification or two. An accredited certificate in the field will teach you the fundamentals of Project Management theories and how to apply them to real-case scenarios. When applying for a job or promotion, an official qualification will stand you out against those with no relevant skills.

    Project Management courses offered by Total Training Solutions include:
    Fundamentals of Project Management – entry-level course which provides a comprehensive overview of project management that focuses on key success factors, decisions and consequences
    ISEB Foundation Certificate in IS Project Management – intended for delegates who are new to the project management discipline, and working within an IT project environment
    Project Management in Primavera P6 – hands-on training for the Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management client/server solution, leading participants through the entire life-cycle, from planning to execution
    Agile with PRINCE2/PMI Project Management – this course considered the leading Agile approaches and how they can compatibly work together with PRINCE2, PMI and other such similar methods.

    The range and scope of qualifications at Total Training Solutions for the PM are countless, each with their own specific skill-set depending on career level and sector. Browse our course directory for the course that will help you on your way to becoming a great Project Manager.

    You can get in touch to book a course or to ask any questions by calling 0800 612 1299 or emailing info@tts-uk.com

  • PM Qualifications - PRINCE2®, IPMA, APMP, PMP?

    02 July 2012

    PRINCE2, IPMA, APMP and PMP are all types of formal Project Management accreditation.
    With so many Project Management courses available it can be difficult navigating your way through and making sense of them all to pick the most appropriate one for you.

    PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) is probably the most popular and widely recognised form of PM qualification.

    IPMA (International Project Management Association) is a not-for-profit organisation that promotes PM internationally. Many affiliated courses sit under this body including the UK recognised APMP certification.

    PMI (Project Management Institution) is another PM industry governing body and offers the PMP (Project Management Professional) certification scheme.

    How are they structured?
    Structured project management means managing the project in a logical, organised way, following defined steps. Each qualification programme follows its own syllabus to equip candidates with these skills:

    PRINCE2 offers Foundation and Practitioner certification levels. The Foundation level exists to teach PRINCE2 methodology to project environment. The exam measures if a candidate can perform these tasks as part of a PM team. The Practitioner level is more advanced and follows on from the theories and asks participants to apply them to different project circumstances and show understanding between their relationships and reasons.

    APM Introductory Certificate teaches the basics and terminology, APMP equips candidates with all the elements required for successful PM, ideal for those with two years experience. The AMP Practitioner hones the skills of existing PM’s, Project Coordinators and Team Leaders, typically with 3-5 years experience managing non-complex projects.

    IPMA offers 4 levels of certification; Level A (Certified Projects Director), Level B (Certified Senior Project Manager) or Level C (Certified Project Manager) and Level D (Certified Project Management Associate).

    What are the differences between PRINCE2 and APMP or PMP and which should you choose?
    The IPMA claim the demand from businesses around the world for individuals with demonstrated Project, Programme and Portfolio Management competence is ever growing and so picking the right course for you is essential.

    APM gives generic knowledge and understanding in the key areas and aspects of Project Management. It provides the foundation using PM methods like PRINCE2.

    PRINCE2 provides users with a structured process-driven methodology suitable to any organisation undertaking projects. Its theories can benefit all PM work due to its broad principals and emphasis on structure and deliverables. PRINCE2 theories are often thought of as best practice.

    The IPMA Level D qualification and PMI's PMP are wider in terms of content than PRINCE2. It may be best to think of as PRINCE2 being a model or framework and APM the instructions. They are complementary but different.

    Total Training Solutions offer APM courses and PRINCE2 courses including the popular Foundation and Practitioner levels and other more specialised areas of Project Management. To enquire about or book any of these courses call 0800 612 1299 or email info@tts-uk.com.

  • Project Management Knowledge v. Technical Knowledge

    10 July 2012

    Project Managers are mutli-taskers, often managing various responsibilities and team members at one time to complete a project. To do this the PM will flit between their project management knowledge and their technical knowledge of the sector, industry or project type.

    These lines can blur but a good project manager will know when to use his PM expertise and when his technical know-how should take over. PM skills are primarily introduced at the beginning of a project when structures, practices and objectives are put into place. In the event of a problem arising during the project; unexpected results or underperformance from one of the project team for example, it is then that the PM’s technical skill will kick in to resolve the situation.

    It’s important to tread carefully here, as the leadership role of a PM demands certain behaviour. Instinct from previous experience will kick-in to come up with a solution to and get the project back on track with the minimum of fuss but as the person in charge you will need to use your PM knowledge to best guide the project as a whole through the setback . This may involve tweaking working practices, responsibilities, deadlines, budgets or objectives.

    Some PM industry experts believe the process of working at one extreme, Technical or PM, is typical of junior PM’s and those new to an organisation as they haven’t yet developed their management style or learnt the new companies way of working yet.

    To get your PM knowledge up to scratch and ensure you are equipped with a recognised qualification, why not complete a Project Management course from Total Training Solutions? There are a number of programme options for you to pick from including PRINCE2 and APM certificates. If you’re unsure which certificate route is the right one for you take a look at our handy PM Qualifications blog post, email us at info@tts-uk.com or call 0800 612 1299.

  • Do the best project managers go beyond PRINCE2?

    19 July 2012

    PRINCE2 is great in theory, but how do we apply it to real life?

    PRINCE2 goes into detail about control and governance and the theories behind them. However, the course does not go into the people skills, techniques and tools required to implement these theories or, at least, not in any great detail.

    While these are clearly important, the aim of PRINCE2 is to teach theoretical knowledge and control processes. But to be a successful project manager, the required skill set must go beyond theory.

    In order to build on the theory learned in a PRINCE2 course, project managers must have the skills to communicate their ideas. Therefore, people skills are important. Leadership, team building and the ability to deal with conflict are all crucial for effective project management.

    As well as people skills, a good project manager will need skills to help him or her to deliver and control their products. Some of these are detailed in PRINCE2, but the very best project managers will go the extra mile; making use of budget and schedule estimation, critical path analysis and project control techniques.

    So, in summary, PRINCE2 can provide you with the knowledge basis for becoming an excellent project manager, but you need to develop further skills in order to make use of that knowledge.

    If you’re looking to build your project management knowledge and get a qualification to prove it, Total Training Solutions offer a full range of PRINCE2 courses both in person and via the web. To enquire or book a course, call: 0800 612 1299 or email: info@tts-uk.com.

  • How does the recession affect Project Managers?

    24 July 2012

    There is a lot of talk, at the moment, of things being more difficult for project managers. With the recession still in full swing, and competition for jobs as high as ever, do project managers need to change the way that they approach their job?

    The answer to that question is yes and no. The general principles that should be applied to project management are the same. As a project manager, you should still be aiming to successfully deliver your project. However, there are things that need to be done differently in order to achieve success in a recession.

    While it is more difficult for project managers to stay successful; it is also a great opportunity to prove how your skills can benefit not just the project you are working on, but the entire organisation.

    With companies trying to cut their budgets as much as possible, it is vitally important that as a project manager, you are sensitive to what is going on within the company. A major problem is that companies now find it very difficult to get credit. Therefore, companies face greater cash flow issues. It is important to be aware of this. With less help from borrowing, it may be worth focusing on the speed that your project is moving at in order to get the product on the market and bring cash in. Ultimately, the environment has changed and now requires higher attention to cash flow than large profit margins.

    To get your PM knowledge up to scratch and ensure you are equipped with a recognised qualification, why not complete a Project Management course from Total Training Solutions? There are a number of programme options for you to pick from including PRINCE2 and APM certificates. If you’re unsure which certificate route is the right one for you take a look at our handy PM Qualifications blog post, email us at info@tts-uk.com or call 0800 612 1299.

  • Is project management the key to economic recovery?

    01 August 2012

    Business secretary Vince Cable MP claims that project management could, indeed, be the key to reviving the British economy. The ability to deliver projects on time and on budget is clearly important in keeping your head above water in this difficult time. However, Cable’s argument suggests that good project management can do more than just keep your business ticking over.

    He used the Olympic Park as an example of the powerful positive effects that excellent project management can have, and also stated that we British are more efficient project managers than we give ourselves credit for. If he is correct, we need to place more emphasis on project management and use it as a tool that can help work towards reviving the economy.

    “It is no good hoping that random, individual brilliance will suffice. The Chinese, the Russians, the Germans and others have taught us that without organisation, planning and training our achievements are likely to be modest.”

    Cable’s words can be applied to all types of project management from a small scale assignment to a large, time-consuming government project. Therefore it is important for project managers from all walks of life to perform well. Not just for the sake of their own companies, but for the entire economy. Sticking to budgets and time constraints can now be seen as a powerful tool rather than an inconvenience that a project manager has to work around.

    To get your PM knowledge up to scratch and ensure you are equipped with a recognised qualification, why not complete a Project Management course from Total Training Solutions? There are a number of programme options for you to pick from including PRINCE2 and APM certificates. If you’re unsure which certificate route is the right one for you take a look at our handy PM Qualifications blog post, email us at info@tts-uk.com or call 0800 612 1299.

  • Save time and money by avoiding travel and accommodation charges with Virtual Learning

    17 January 2013

     As we saw last week, Virtual Learning is a way for you to improve your skill set and enhance your career prospects over the internet. This is especially beneficial when rising transport and accommodation costs are proving prohibitive to accessing traditional classroom learning.

    As we begin the new year, we are once again faced with above-inflation increases to rail fares and expect increases in fuel prices over the coming months. With accommodation price rises also showing no sign of stopping, even a short-period training course can easily cost more than the price of the course itself. Additionally, the inconvenience of the time taken to travel to, and attend, training courses is often as big a commitment to make as the money involved. The benefits of further training should not, however, be underestimated. This is where Virtual Learning fits in.

    Being able to connect to a virtual learning environment from anywhere in the world means that students can avoid any additional expenditure and get the most value for their money. As long as you have an internet connection, you can be 'in-class' with Virtual Learning, getting exactly the same experience as students who can attend in person. There are no 'hidden' fees, and time isn't wasted in physically attending a course. Students get quality learning with no drawbacks.

    If you want to improve your skills, but can't commit the time or money, then Virtual Learning may be for you. At Total Training Solutions we offer several Virtual Learning courses, including ITIL, PRINCE2 and VMware, to ensure that you can get the learning that you require without having to sacrifice time and money you can’t afford. To find out how Virtual Learning can fit around you, call us on 0800 612 1299 or email any questions to info@tts-uk.com.

  • How PRINCE2 compares to other project management courses in the industry

    07 February 2014

    There are many Project Management courses available on the market, but which one is right for you?

    PRINCE2 is the leading project management training resource. It focuses on improving project management skills by providing you with a practical methodology to follow. There is a clear process model and templates to the PRINCE2 structure. Some people think of it as a manual with a set of instructions that show you how to organise and run a project.

    Primarily focused on IT operations, PRINCE2 is extremely prescriptive and must be carefully followed for the best results. The system is favoured in government organisations, but has expanded and is now in used in non-government work.

    An alternative project management program is PMP. This is a more theoretical approach to project management and offers techniques and ways to evaluate or complete a project. Differing from PRINCE2, it is suggested that PMP is more of a guide to project management, and how you use or interpret it is up to the individual organisation.

    PMP is closely associated with construction and government or military operations. It provides a standard of which to follow, specifically in IT projects.

    What is beneficial about the PMP system is its flexibility. As it can be adapted to each project, other methodologies, like PRINCE2 and Agiles, fit into it. PMP is comprehensive and can be applied to any project, in its whole or in part.

    What sets PRINCE2 and PMP apart is the role of the project manager. In PRINCE2 the PM is the ‘middleman’ between the ‘workers’ and the ‘board’. Decisions from either side are passed on via the PM. PMP has the opposite approach. Here, the PM keeps the whole operation moving forward to completion. If something goes wrong or there is a problem, with budgets or schedule for example, the PM is to blame.

    There are other project management methods, such as Agile. This is often used to manage new product or service development projects or design and build activities for the engineering and IT industries. The Agile system focuses on flexibility and interaction from team members and suppliers to constantly improve a project’s development. The model doesn’t have a project manager, instead responsibility is divided between three roles.

    To learn more about the Agile, PMP or PRINCE2 project management frameworks, contact Total Training Solutions. We are specialist training providers who can help steer you personal or company development through the knowledge, understanding and certification of industry standard qualifications. For the individual, adding an approved project management qualification to your portfolio will improve your employment prospects. An organisation which invests in project management training for its employees will save, time and money in the long-run through efficient project planning, execution and completion.

    Call us today on 0800 612 1299 for advice or to book your course. You can browse our course directory and contact us via the website if you have any questions.

  • Earning potential with a PRINCE2 qualification

    14 February 2014

    PRINCE2 is the leading project management resource on the market and is recognised globally. As a result, a qualification in PRINCE2 can have multiple financial benefits both for individuals and organisations.

    Individuals with PRINCE2 qualifications are highly sought after in today’s job market. Rarely are project management job opportunities advertised without a preferred qualification in PRINCE2. Due to the fact that the methodology is so widely used within the government sector, it is highly regarded and widely known, and even a basic knowledge or fundamental qualification can secure an interview. The qualification shows your potential employer that you have up-to-date project management skills, which will therefore save them money training you and also give them peace of mind that you will carry out an efficient project.

    A PRINCE2 qualification from Total Training Solutions is the ideal choice for everyone in the project management sector. Whether you’re a recent project management graduate, or you have worked in the sector for years, a PRINCE2 qualification can be of benefit to you. Due to the fact that PRINCE2 knowledge is now often required by potential employers, and sometimes even preferred over experience, a qualification can bring older, more experienced project managers up to speed. It can show your potential employer that as well as being experienced in the sector, you are also knowledgeable in more contemporary practices and are not stuck using tired and outdated methods. On the other hand, for recent graduates, a PRINCE2 qualification can be the ideal move from academic study, to practical knowledge. It shows employers that you don’t just know the theory, you’re also adept in how to utilise it on real projects.

    PRINCE2 can also benefit entire companies and organisations. For smaller, independent companies, a recognised qualification can provide credibility and demonstrate a controlled and organised structure, ensuring good communication and staff competence at all levels. It promises an ability to manage risks effectively and a focus on the aims of the project.

    Whether it is a fundamental qualification, or something more advanced, a PRINCE2 qualification is essential for anyone in the project management sector. The cost of the course is a solid investment due to the potential to advance you in your career. With more and more employers opting for a candidate who looks good on paper, with relevant training and qualifications rather than experience, PRINCE2 has become a yardstick against which to measure candidates - a knowledge which is globally recognised and understood.

    To learn more about the PRINCE2 courses and qualifications available from Total Training Solutions, contact us today. You can call us on 0800 612 1299 or message us through our website. You can view the full range of PRINCE2 courses, or browse everything Total Training Solutions has to offer on our website.

  • The power of PRINCE2

    20 February 2014

    The best way to demonstrate the benefits of implementing the PRINCE2 methodology is to look at the many testimonials of satisfied PRINCE2 customers. PRINCE2 is the leading project management resource on the market, and has therefore been used by everyone from Disney to the NHS, however is most regularly utilised by government bodies.

    PRINCE2 increases efficiency of government operations around the world, as we can see from these two testimonials - one by Suffolk County Council, and the other the Australian Department of Parliamentary Services (or DPS).

    In 2007, Suffolk County Council started a major transformation programme to tackle significant budget challenges. One of the main targets for the central Programme and Project Management team was to help the organisation better manage significant change by embedding a more effective project management system across the organisation, for which they used PRINCE2. Suffolk County Council said;

    “We knew PRINCE2 would provide the fundamental tools and techniques, but were aware that in the past it has been regarded as significantly theoretical and bureaucratic. We needed to tailor PRINCE2 in a way that people running projects would find it easier to use and apply. We had to recognise that not everyone running projects had experience in managing projects, and even fewer had PRINCE2 qualifications.”

    By using PRINCE2 training courses, like those offered by Total Training Solutions, and adapting PRINCE2 methodology to suit their needs, Suffolk County Council have been able to improve their efficiency and enhance overall project board performance.

    Despite Suffolk’s hesitations with this earlier version of the methodology and need to alter certain elements (creating their own PRINCESS system - PRINCE ‘Suffolk Style’), the council still use it for programme and project management and have been more and more impressed as PRINCE2 continues to upgrade and improve...

    “It seems to be more flexible and less prescriptive than the old version. This means it will be more representative of how projects actually run in the real world. It provides much better insight into how the methodology sits alongside other methodologies and corporate systems. This will be a significant benefit in helping to embed best practice across an organisation.”

    Across the world, in the same year, the Australian DPS was also introducing PRINCE2 in order to increase department efficiency. Due to the extensive services provided by and responsibilities of the department, the Product and Service Development Branch made the decision to implement a single project management methodology for a more unified approach. After implementing PRINCE2, the DPS said;

    “What has followed has been a remarkable change in how projects are delivered, including an increased awareness by staff of their roles and responsibilities in the project management life-cycle. All project management staff have received PRINCE2 training. This has established common language and expectations. Career prospects for staff are enhanced through their shared qualifications. Better projects ensure quality outcomes for clients and ultimately increased value for money for all Australians.”

    PRINCE2 is utilised by so many government bodies due to its investment value - what is invested in training is made up for in money saved (and even made) by improved efficiency and project results. If you want to learn more about the PRINCE2 courses offered by Total Training Solutions, take a look at our full range of courses, or call us on 0800 612 1299. You can also view all the courses we offer by visiting our course directory. Feel free to contact us with any questions or queries you might have - we’d be happy to help.

  • Is it best to focus on price when shopping for a PRINCE2 course?

    28 February 2014

    When shopping around for a PRINCE2 course, there are three factors which should be considered: price, accessibility and course type.

    A PRINCE2 course is an investment. PRINCE2 is a highly sought after qualification which can further careers, allowing you to make your money back by working up the career ladder. However, for many a less expensive course would be preferable. Total Training Solutions’ PRINCE2 courses are affordable at a middle-of-the-road cost. Our Foundation course is £549 and Practitioner course, £495. With educational courses, you get what you pay for, and our prices guarantee professional and efficient learning, whilst still being inexpensive enough for most to afford. The project management sector is a very lucrative one, with project administrators earning potentially up to £25,000 and project directors at the top of the ladder earning up to £75,000. A PRINCE2 qualification can help you exponentially in succeeding in this sector, meaning the course will soon pay for itself.

    The second factor to be considered when shopping for a PRINCE2 course is accessibility. Total Training Solutions operate at any of 37 training centres across the UK, from Aberdeen to Exeter, and offer the most comprehensive training schedule in the UK with over 800 trainers. We also offer virtual learning and elearning in an increasing number of our courses, including PRINCE2, for those with a busier schedule. We believe that you should be able to be get the most concise and efficient learning experience possible, which is why our PRINCE2 courses differ from many by only spanning two or three days rather than a week or two, so you don’t have to put your life on hold.

    Finally, when choosing a PRINCE2 course, it is essential to know the type of course which works for you. The 2 main types of PRINCE2 courses are Foundation and Practitioner. The Foundation course is a perfect first step for those who are interested in a project management career. The course covers the main principles of PRINCE2, as well as the structure of the methodology and how the method can be tailored to different environments and projects. The Practitioner course is the next step up and tests candidates’ ability to put the method into practice. However, Total Training Solutions goes above and beyond these basic qualifications, also offering combined courses, BSC certificates for PRINCE2 practitioners and courses using Agile with PRINCE2, taking the advantages of both methods for an even more beneficial and efficient project management solution.

    If you’re considering taking a course in PRINCE2, Total Training Solutions can help. We offer expert service in all areas - price, accessibility and choice - meaning you have the greatest amount of options and flexibility when achieving your new qualification, as well as being guaranteed a professional learning experience. You can check out all the Total Training Solutions training locations, and the full list of the qualifications and training we offer. If you have any queries, contact us today on 0800 612 1299 or through our contact form.

  • Why holding a PRINCE2 qualification matters?

    08 August 2014

    PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments, version 2) is a structured project management methodology that was created in 1975, known back then as PROMPT. Today, PRINCE2 is considered the leading project management training resource and its interest is widely recognised.

    It entails managing a project while taking into account changing factors in its environment such as time and budget constraints, risk or benefit, that are likely to influence its success.

    The PRINCE2 methodology is composed of seven principles, seven themes and seven processes to follow in order to successfully lead the management, control and organisation stages of a project. Highly practical, this structured approach can be easily understood when the methodology is carefully followed.

    PRINCE2 is primarily focused on IT operations but can be applicable to any type of project. There is a clear process model and templates to the PRINCE2 structure, making it easy to adopt for every kind of operation.

    Total Training Solutions offer many PRINCE2 courses and certifications. We have a number of courses available at all levels, from Foundation to Advanced. Along with PRINCE2, you will find many other project management courses and qualifications, such as Agile or PMP.

    We are specialist training providers who can help steer your personal or company development through the knowledge, understanding and certification of industry standard qualifications. For the individual, adding an approved project management qualification to your CV will improve your employment prospects. A company which invests in project management training for its employees will save time and money in the long-run through efficient project planning, execution and completion.

    To learn more about PRINCE2 or other project management qualifications available from Total Training Solutions, visit our course directory or call us on 0800 612 1299. You can also email us at info@tts-uk.com for more information.

  • PRINCE2: The 7 Principles

    14 August 2014

    As discussed in last week’s blog post, ‘Why holding a PRINCE2 qualification matters’, the PRINCE2 project management methodology is made up of seven principles, seven themes and seven processes. Over the coming weeks we will be looking at these three areas and breaking them down so you can begin to understand and appreciate how PRINCE2 projects are structured.

    The 7 Principles

    1. Business justification - the project must be aligned to the business objectives of the customer at all times. This is monitored by the development of a detailed Business Case. The Business Case describes the reasons for doing the project and forecast of benefits the project will deliver. It is outlined at the beginning of the project and accessed and added to at each Stage of the project. The project and Business Case must be comply with the organisation’s corporate strategy to move the project forward.

    2. Learn from experience - time must be created to record and analyse any problems that occur within a project. Previous projects are also accessed for lessons that can be applied to future ones, to avoid making the same mistakes again. These are captured and incorporated into new plans and strategies.

    3. Roles & responsibilities - these must be defined and agreed in a structure so all team members know what is expected of them; their level of authority, who they report to and their responsibilities. These can be adapted to suit the needs of the project. Laying out the roles and responsibilities avoids the issue of team members not knowing what is expected of them.

    4. Manage by stages - a PRINCE2 project must be broken up into stages. Each Stage must be planned, monitored and controlled. A project must have an ‘Initiation Stage’ where the Business Case, Project Plan and strategies for managing changes, communication, control, issues, products, risk and quality are developed. One or more delivery stages are required for any project. Between each Stage the Business Case is reviewed to determine business justification before a project can continue.

    5. Manage by exception - the Project Board will appoint a project manager with agreed ‘tolerances’ i.e. budget, time etc. If a tolerance is breached, the Board intervenes and changes are made until the project can continue or is abandoned.

    6. Focus on products - before a project begins, understanding and defining what needs to be delivered from the project must be set out. This is achieved by writing a Project Product Description, done by the project manager. This document focuses attention and the scope of the project, and time and cost estimates can be taken from it. More detailed Product Descriptions are written at each Stage of the project to ensure products are delivered at the right point in the project’s timeline.

    7. Tailor to suit the environment - PRINCE2 methodology should be tailored to suit a project’s capability, complexity, environment, importance, risk and size. Control for higher budget projects will be much greater than lower budget ones. More Stages will be needed for higher risk projects. Benefits of using the PRINCE2 method won’t be felt without adapting processes, themes and management products it to the specific project.

    To learn more about the 7 Principles, as well as the other structures of PRINCE2 methodology, how to apply the concept to a project and monitor its progress, sign up for a PRINCE2 Foundation course with Total Training Solutions. We have a number of options for studying the course including PRINCE2 evening classes, PRINCE2 eLearning and PRINCE2 virtual classrooms. An advanced PRINCE2 Practitioner course is also available, as well as a combined PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner course.

    To book your place, call us on 0800 612 1299 or email us at info@tts-uk.com for more information.

  • PRINCE2: The 7 Themes

    22 August 2014

    As seen in previous posts, PRINCE2 is a project management methodology which consists of seven principles, seven themes and seven processes. Last week we covered the 7 principles, which are the first step of the methodology. Today, let's look at the case of the second step:

    The 7 Themes

    1. Business Case - this theme is the heart of each PRINCE2 project. The Business Case justifies initial and continuing investment in the project. Its goal is to ensure it remains viable and achievable in every stage along the way. Created at the very start, the Business Case drives the entire project, describing the reasons for doing the project and forecast of benefits the project will deliver.

    2. Organisation - defines and establishes project roles and responsibilities for a PRINCE2 project as well as its structure of accountability. It clearly identifies the three project interests: business, user and supplier. Organisation's roles consist of a programme executive, the project board, a project manager, team managers, project assurance, change authority and project support.

    3. Quality - ensures that the project’s products or services are 'fit for purpose'. Its focus is on each product's ability to meet its requirements, which are defined in the project's Quality Management Strategy. PRINCE2 contains product-focused elements of quality planning, quality control and quality assurance.

    4. Risk - the PRINCE2 method ensures that risk management is planned and integrated into the project management from the beginning so potential risks can be identified, assessed and controlled in order to improve chances of success. The five steps for managing risks are:
    - Identify the cause, event and effects of each risk
    - Assess their probability and impact
    - Plan the specific management responses
    - Implement the risk responses as required
    - Communicate risk information internal and external to the project.

    5. Plans - planning is crucial for the project to succeed. Plans are used to define how, where and by whom the project’s products will be delivered. There are three levels of plans in a PRINCE2 project: Project plan, an overview of the whole project; Stage plans, one for each management stage and Team plan, for creating products. A backup plan exists, called Exception plan, which can replace any of the previous plans in case of failure.

    6. Change - every project involves change, that can be related to expectations and requirements. The objective of this theme is to identify, assess and control any potential and approved changes to the base-lined objectives. A project needs an approach to controlling how those changes affect the configuration management.

    7. Progress - monitors and evaluates actual project progress and performance compared with planned achievements in order to provide a forecast for the future objectives, including the continued viability of the project.

    To learn more about the 7 Themes, as well as the other structures of the PRINCE2 methodology, sign up for a PRINCE2 Foundation course with Total Training Solutions. An advanced PRINCE2 Practitioner course is also available, as well as a combined PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner course.

    To book your place, call us on 0800 612 1299 or email us at info@tts-uk.com for more information.

  • PRINCE2: The 7 Processes

    29 August 2014

    PRINCE2 is a process-based approach to project management. Each process is defined by key inputs and outputs, objectives and activities. Here we attempt to delve a little deeper into each of the 7 Processes to better understand PRINCE2 methodology....

    1. Directing a Project - aimed at the Project Board who manage and monitor the process from initial start-up to Project completion. The Project Board direct a project by initiating it, setting out the Stage Boundaries, giving directions and closing a project. This is done through authorising documents and management strategies including the Business Case, Project Briet, Stage Plans and Project Plans.

    2. Starting up a Project - this pre-project process ensures everything is in place to successfully conduct a PRINCE2 project. Here reasons for undertaking the project are set out, as are the desired outcomes. Information for the team is gathered, the Project Management Team is appointed and the Initiation Stage Plan created. Other documents including the Business Case, Project Product Description and Project Brief are created.

    3. Initiating a Project - before a project can be initiated, the Project Manager must develop an Initiation Stage Plan which is sent with the Project Brief, to the Project Board. Once authorised, the initiation process can begin.

    Project tasks are set out including, what will be done, why it will be done (benefits), how it will be done and how risk will be managed and controlled. Control over the entire project will be determined, communication plans (by who, with who, why and how) and roles and responsibilities for carrying out and monitoring tasks are agreed.

    Management Strategies are prepared during this process including; Risk, Configuration, Quality and Communication Management Strategies. Project controls such as the number of stages, reporting requirements and tolerances are set out, the Business Case is reviewed and the Project Initiation Documentation is compiled for the Project Board, along with the next Stage Plan, in order for the Project to move to the next step.

    4. Controlling a Stage - this process sets out the activities of the Project Manager within each stage of the Project.
    Activities include:
    - authorising and monitoring project work, usually in the form of a Work Package, which describes what must be produced, how much it will cost, how long it will take etc,
    - monitoring and reporting progress is carried out by reviewing management documents at each stage to ensure control over the project. The Project Board should be kept up-to-date with progress by the Project Manager via a Highlight Report.
    - managing issues and risks is done by keeping various logs and registers up-to-date so the Project Manager can examine them to assess risk and change anything that threatens the progression of the project. The risks and changes are sent up to the Project Board for comment, where corrective action is determined.

    5. Managing Product Delivery - the objective of this process is for the Team and Project Managers to ensure that planned products are created and delivered by accepting and checking Work Packages and ensuring all work conforms to the requirements of the Work Package. The process ensures that the work is completed and meets quality criteria, progress and forecasts are accessed, and approval is obtained for completed work.

    6. Managing Stage Boundaries - Here the Project Managers prepares for the next management stage. He will create a Stage Plan (or an Exception Plan), update the Project Initiation Documentation, Project Plan and Business Case and produce a Report End Stage. Once this relevant information has been gathered it is presented to the Project Board who will decide on whether to continue with the project or not.

    7. Closing a Project - a controlled closing of a Project is essential for PRINCE2. In this process relevant documentation in gathered to present to the Project Board for them to authorise a project’s closure. An End Project Report is compiled and submitted to the Board. Only when they are satisfied will a PRINCE2 Project formally end.

    The many Principles, Themes and Processes of PRINCE2 project management are complex and vast. How they all fit and work together, and are applied to move a project forward (or not) are explained through professional qualifications and training programs, like those offered by Total Training Solutions. You can find out more about our range of PRINCE2 courses via our website. Specialist PRINCE2 Foundation, PRINCE2 Practitioner and PRINCE2 combined courses are available. Please call us on 0800 612 1299 or email info@tts-uk.com to book your place or if you have any questions about any of our courses.

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