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I've taken the Prince2 course and have achieved certification but it hasn't necessarily made life easier at work. The manager I report to doesn't have Prince2 accreditation and doesn't recognise the process and method it is trying to use. How can I mange him and make sure my career doesn't suffer as a result of this disconnect?

Panellist biographies

Simon Buehring is a project manager, consultant and PRINCE2 trainer. He is the founder of KnowledgeTrain, which offers PRINCE2 project management training in the UK and overseas. Simon has extensive project management experience within the IT industry in the UK and Asia and has worked in the financial, transport, health and education sectors.

Martin Cox is CTO of DHL Logistics. He manages more than 2,200 IT staff around the globe.

Alistair Russell is development director at CIO Connect, working with CIOs on their leadership and professional development. Prior to joining CIO Connect, Alistair was director of programmes for executive development at Durham Business School leading programmes for Halifax Bank of Scotland, Barclays, United Utilities and the Department for Education and Skills. Alistair is a qualified member of the Institute of Management Consultants and as a Chartered Mechanical Engineer.

Simon Buehring says:

Your predicament is sadly all too common. Too many managers fail to understand what Prince2 requires in practice to be successful. It requires a commitment and understanding from senior management in order that key decisions can be made in a way which benefits the project and organisation. You need to concentrate on showing him how Prince2 will bring in your projects on time and within budget.

You could concentrate on areas where current practices are lacking and look at ways in which Prince2 may help you to improve. If you can show your manager that Prince2 is useful, then he might be more willing to offer you more practical support.

You might also try applying the Prince2 components on your project and therefore practice what you’ve already learned. That will deepen your understanding of the method and will prove useful if you decide to move jobs.

The Prince2 certification is becoming widespread across IT but real understanding of how to apply it sensibly is not so common. If you can show potential employers you have this understanding then your career choices will grow as a result.

Alistair Russell says:

Congratulations on your Prince2 qualification. I’ve been leading major projects for several years and have never managed to make the commitment of time to make sure I’d pass the exams!

Firstly, the approach to managing your manager is the same, no matter what the issue – align your solution with his needs and wants. Secondly, your lack of success in influencing your manager may be due to the need to reposition how you see and present Prince2 – it’s just a tool.

As in any influencing activity, the key is about finding the “wins” for your manager. In discussion, confirm or identify the key issues he is trying to address. Make sure you are clear on what he is seeking to achieve on the projects that you are working. Then, re-present Prince2 as the way that these needs will be met. Don’t lead with Prince2, lead with what he needs.

Secondly, any methodology, including Prince2, will only ever be an important part of the answer. Your accreditation in many ways only qualifies you to “play” as a Project Manager. It is my experience as a Project Manager that it is the integration people and process that delivers, not the process on its own.

Martin Cox says:

I would suggest that in conversation with your boss, you focus on the outputs/deliverables of the project management process such as the information contained in risk and issue logs rather than the methodology itself. Your career in project management is more likely to be governed by successful delivery of projects than by knowledge of industry methodology standards.