PMI Belgium

Difference between the PMBOK and PRINCE2

Date: November 2019

Interview by: Frank Turley

with Geert Bruynsteen


What is the main difference between the PMBOK and PRINCE2?  

I see PRINCE2 as more general, not only applicable to project management, but remaining more on a ‘high’ level. For instance, in my purchasing practice, parts of PRINCE2 were very useful and could be applied instantly. By ‘high’ level I mean that PRINCE2 does not prescribe in detail how you must approach a project, and the ‘tailoring’ is completely left to the discretion of the project manager. In PMBOK, there is a well-structured approach with processes, and I think this is an excellent starting point.

2) How is the PMBOK better? 

I like the practical approach in PMBOK, the basic structure to start with and going through the processes in phases helps a lot to identify, analyse and resolve issues. Knowledge areas in PMBOK overlap with PRINCE2, but especially scope and schedule I found very well structured in PMBOK.

3) How is the PRINCE2 manual better? 

The high-level organization and process view is very interesting, it gives you a guideline what to do in certain situations. E.g. raise an issue, exception report, business case, etc. Also, the templates provided for these reports serve as a good checklist.

4)  What changes would you like to see to the PMBOK

Cost management should be extended and have more of a business approach. In each project you must balance cost-scope-schedule-quality, and it is important as a project manager that you understand the language of the business sponsor, e.g. project manager must know how to make a business case on a high level and be able to get support from stakeholders for implementation of the ‘best’ option.

5) What trainings and certifications have you done?   

PRINCE2 Practitioner, Agile, PMP, Vlerick program on change management, strategy, HR, management control and many trainings in purchasing, supply chain and cost management.

6) What do you advise people who are new to read regarding project management?

I think both PMBOK and PRINCE2 guides are good starting points to get an understanding of project management. In order to be successful, it is not enough to simply following a structure, and reading should be complemented with books on human resources, quality, communications skills, negotiation, just to name a few.


Who is Geert

Geert is an experienced project manager with a work experience of more than 20 years and active as an interim manager since 2011. Practice in prominent well-known companies, as well as in private equity start-ups, scale-ups and leverage buyout.

He has broad international experience in project & supply management, operations, innovation and negotiation. In several assignments, he worked on high-tech product innovation programs, in close cooperation with other disciplines to introduce novel products into the market. Solid experience in operational value creation, business & operational process re-engineering, transition and transformational change. Hands-on entrepreneur with vision, strong technical skills, influencer and coalition builder, business acumen and people manager.

Geert is acquainted with the medical devices industry, biopharma, energy, automotive, oil & gas construction, metal and consumer electronics.

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