PMP vs PRINCE2 vs Agile: Strengths and Weaknesses

PMP vs PRINCE2 vs Agile: Strengths and Weaknesses

There are two standard approaches to a career path in any field of project management. You can spend years of trial and error developing experience and landing the job that’s right for you. Or you can consolidate that process into pursuing certification. Which sounds more likely to put you where you want to be?

Various programs or methodologies provide certification, but the benefits are universal:

  • Increased credibility
  • A more weighty resume
  • Worldwide recognition
  • Professional validation
  • Improved career growth opportunities
  • Augmented salary

By examining the strengths and weaknesses of three globally acceptable certification methods, you can determine which is right for you.

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PMP Certification and Method

Perhaps the most well-known credential is the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. It allows project managers to showcase their knowledge areas and domain expertise and develop the credibility needed to continue their journey to the career of their choice.


The strengths or benefits of PMP certification are as follows:

  • Expertise. PMP certification demonstrates a candidate’s high level of knowledge and expertise, ranging from project planning to execution and including a thorough comprehension of concepts of management and its various processes.
  • Talent acquisition. PMP certification helps employers to verify a candidate’s skills and professional experience, streamlining the talent hunt for even complex projects. It is a globally recognized certification, so this includes career opportunities around the globe.
  • Commitment. A PMP credential is a valid demonstration of a candidate’s professional commitment and career growth.


The weaknesses or disadvantages of PMP certification are as follows:

  • Eligibility. PMP certification has strict eligibility prerequisites, making it difficult to obtain. Some of the criteria pertains to education and work experience, which can present an obstacle for some candidates.
  • Cost. PMP certification requires significant investments of time and money.
  • Exclusivity. The downside of PMP being so widely recognized is that it may create a culture of exclusivity, and employers may be unwilling to consider candidates without this certification, no matter how experienced they are.

PRINCE2 Certification and Method

In Europe and the United Kingdom, one of the most popular certification credentials is the PRINCE2 Certification. It is a process-based methodology providing guidance in project initiation, planning, monitoring and controlling, delivery, and closure. Many organizations have chosen this methodology as their primary project management framework. Its comprehensive techniques, tools, and processes are often used to effectively manage projects of all sizes and durations.


The strengths or benefits of PRINCE2 certification are as follows:

  • Scalability. PRINCE2 is a good option for organizations with varying project sizes. Its processes are easily adapted to the needs of initiatives of all sizes, helping to ensure adequate focus on small projects and providing more advanced techniques and processes for larger projects.
  • Flexibility. PRINCE2 is highly customizable, making it a leading option for organizations that need an approach that can be tailored to their specific needs. It allows for ease of adaptation and even encourages experimentation.
  • Ease of use. PRINCE2 is not overly complex. It moves projects efficiently through a sequence of predetermined steps, making it simple to understand and implement for project management personnel of all experience levels.


The weaknesses or disadvantages of PRINCE2 certification are as follows:

  • Limited customization. While PRINCE2 has a certain amount of flexibility as an advantage, any organization seeking complete control over customization might be disappointed. Companies looking for a more controlled environment and increased customization may need to find a more comprehensive methodology.
  • Training requirements. The success of PRINCE2 relies heavily on training team members on how to leverage the system correctly. Insufficient training can result in a misuse of tools and techniques and a misapplication of processes, making projects inefficient at best and even unsuccessful.

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Agile Certifications and Method

Agile Project management is a method in which projects can be organized into epics and broken down into smaller, more manageable segments. It allows for tracking and managing roles, responsibilities, and deadlines, providing crucial feedback at project milestones. Certifications can be adapted to any of the Agile methodologies, such as Adaptive Project Framework (APF), Extreme Programming (XP), Kanban, and Scrum.


The strengths or benefits of Agile certifications are as follows:

  • Assessment. Agile certifications provide employers with a reliable benchmark for assessing the level of a particular candidate’s experience, knowledge, and skills in agile methodologies. They provide evidence of comprehension of specific agile concepts beyond theoretical knowledge and into the realm of real-world practice. Additionally, candidates can assess themselves against globally established standards and hone their abilities.
  • Learning opportunities. Agile certifications provide access to textbooks and other resources, allowing candidates to further their familiarity with and application of agile principles.


The weaknesses or disadvantages of Agile certifications are as follows:

  • Generalization. Agile certifications rely heavily on definitions of best practices that are too generalized. This means that there may be difficulties applying it in specific contexts or industries. This disadvantage is critical when weighing the ROI of agile certifications over traditional training methods.
  • Dishonesty. Reports have surfaced of candidates obtaining Agile certifications via illegitimate means, perhaps cheating on the exams or being guilty of plagiarism. This undermines the credibility and validity of Agile certifications and adversely affects those who obtained their credentials legitimately.

PMP vs PRINCE2 vs Agile: How are they Different?

Besides weighing the strengths and weaknesses of each methodology and certification, it is helpful to identify the key differences between the three options.


PMP credentials originate with the Project Management Institute (PMI) and are based on the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide. The PMBOK is defined as “the collection of knowledge within the profession of project management that describes the practice of successful project management.”

On the other hand, PRINCE2 credentials are awarded by AXELOS, and each candidate must enroll with an Accredited Training Organisation (ATO).

While the intent and methods used in both programs have similarities, the principal difference between them is their respective focus. PMP focuses on the principles of project management, while PRINCE2 focuses primarily on process-based approaches to management. Although both are based on the PMBOK Guide, their respective exams cover different material.

Agile Certifications

Agile certifications are varied, depending on the specific projects and nature of the business. There are fundamental differences between Agile methods and PMP or PRINCE2 certifications:

  • Agile methods promote an iterative process, producing tangible results even during the development phase. On the other hand, PMP and PRINCE2 follow a more linear progression, beginning with initiation and ending with completion.
  • Agile methods emphasize continuous learning and improvement during the entire duration of the course. On the other hand, PMP and PRINCE2 establish a plan at the outset and prioritizes adherence to that plan.

PMP vs PRINCE2 vs Agile: Which Certification Should You Choose in 2023?

Each organization must weigh the advantages and disadvantages to determine which methodology and certification best suits its needs. Some of the factors to consider and compare may be:

  • The length of the course
  • The course cost
  • The course requirements
  • Your career path and salary goals

Becoming certified can fast-track your career path and make your goals a reality. The professionals at Project Management Academy have helped over 100,000 candidates prepare to pass certification exams over the last decade.

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Erin Aldridge, PMP, PMI-ACP, & CSPO
Director of Product Development at
Erin Aldridge, PMP, PMI-ACP, & CSPO