We are often asked  ‘What’s the difference between a PRINCE2® qualification and an IPMA level D® IPMA qualification such as the UK’s APMP, or a PMI PMP?’ The answer is that they are complementary but different. Gartner agrees.

IPMA’s  level D qualification, and PMI’s PMP are wider in terms of content than PRINCE2 but they go less deep.

PRINCE2 is a methodology and as such goes deeper but has less width than the IPMA level D and PMP. Neither the PMP nor PRINCE2 Practitioner exams claim competence, as was pointed out by Gartner in a recent review.

To check competence you need a higher level qualification such as PRINCE2 Pro, or one at level ‘C’ in IPMA terms.


In my view, and as set out in an IPMA paper written by me for Krakow in 2008, and made available through the 2009 edition of Project Perspectives (first paper) which is freely available from the IPMA  website under publications, you need both types of qualification – either PMP or APMP or another IPMA level D from elsewhere in the IPMA family, AND a Methodology qualification.

The current de facto leading methodology with more than 600,000 Practitioners worldwide and nearly a million Foundation qualified people is PRINCE2. This compares with around 600,000 with a PMP, and a much smaller number with an IPMA level D qualification.

Where you live in the world will impact on your more general PM qualification, whilst PRINCE2 is becoming pretty universal with the exception of the US.

This is why APMG and IPMA are developing a bridging syllabus and exam for those national member associations of IPMA who would like to award a level ‘D’ certificate on this basis. This is currently being piloted by the Polish national member association before being rolled out to those IPMA country associations who would like it.

I guess this is also why the Association of Project Management in the UK has its own syllabus and bridging exam leading to the APMP qualification for those who have PRINCE2.