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PRINCE2 2017: A Lead Trainer's Perspective

PRINCE2 2017: A Lead Trainer's Perspective

The forthcoming launch of PRINCE2 2017 updates the methodology to reflect the latest thinking in the world of project management. Joining us to explain the changes this week is Keith Lord, Lead PRINCE2 trainer at The Knowledge Academy. Keith is the main author of of our updated course, so there's no better person to give an insight into how the new version will benefit you. PRINCE2 2017 places a much greater focus on the tailoring of the method, allowing even more professionals to consider that this should be their project management approach of choice.  The expanded links to other project management methods, such as Agile methodologies, make PRINCE2 much more aligned with the IT industry and its projects.  This Agile focus also ensures that PRINCE2 can also be used in a “business as usual” environment when performing smaller change tasks. The document set has been trimmed down to focus on what is important to projects today, but other documents may be brought into a project should the management team of the project feel that it is relevant to do so. The method now has extra activities to ensure that the project is properly tailored to its environment, giving PRINCE2 projects a greater chance of successful delivery. These improvements to PRINCE2 match up against its previous strengths, which are: Adherence to Project Management best practice principles The ability to apply the method to any project regardless of size, complexity or industry sector Use of common terms and language A fully worked project justification for the project via a Business Case The promotion of “Management by Exception” principles freeing up senior management time and empowering the Project Management team to deliver Learning from the experiences gained during the project A thorough but economical structure for project reporting documents The latest set of examinations places a greater emphasis on the practical application of PRINCE2 when given differing situations within a project.  Passing the updated exams will indicate that individuals understand the flexible approach to project management that is required in today’s business environment.  In making the changes to the method, PRINCE2 has cemented its position as market leader.  It has shown that with its improvements, it is still very relevant to today’s project environment - truly a flexible project management method for all. PRINCE2 2017 is launching in July.

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  14 Jun 2017

Why choose to study online?

It seems that there are no limitations when it comes to the benefits of being able to access content online. Millions of students and professionals from all over the world are taking advantage of the internet in the pursuit of educating themselves in one way or another. The traditions associated with education systems are continuously being challenged for their effectiveness when it comes to offering value for money and the ability to tailor your education to suit your lifestyle. While it’s true that studying online may not be for everyone, for many, it can open up a whole new world of opportunities when it comes to developing skill set and understanding of topics within work and beyond. You Have an Unlimited Choice Studying online allows you to pick from an extensive range of courses in a wide range of subjects that will truly enable you to open up new opportunities and career possibilities. Whether you are looking to study a certification online or something more specialised, online training is available for almost everything. You Can Study From Home The great thing about choosing to study an online course is that you are granted the utmost flexibility when it comes to where and how you study. Forget attending lectures or having timed study sessions, with an online course you are free to learn in a way that best suits you. Typically all of the materials and lectures can be hosted on an online platform, and this means you will be able to access them from anywhere. It’s Cost Effective It’s a simple fact that most online courses tend to be cheaper than classroom courses because they cost less to create and run. And, with your course materials all provided for you online, you will not have to spend money getting to and from training locations, placing you in a better position to save funds. Online Courses Save You Time By enrolling in online courses, you are given the opportunity to tailor your course to fit in with your life. Logging onto your laptop or computer from any location allows you to save time that you would spend travelling and studying in fixed sessions on a classroom training course. In addition to this, you can work at the same time as studying, allowing you to benefit from the two different lifestyles of being a professional and a student. Get Qualified Sooner Instead of having to wait for a training provider to offer a classroom course that fits with your schedule, online learning allows you to start studying as soon as you are ready. Some courses even allow you to do exams online, meaning you can become certified in the career of your choice in less time than you think. At The Knowledge Academy, you will find an extensive range of online courses for choose from, whether you’re looking to learn a new skill or learn a professional qualification. From PRINCE2 training to Agile, Scrum and everything in-between, you will find that our professional online courses will help you to fulfil your true potential and help make career progression easy!

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  07 Jun 2017

The History of PRINCE2

The PRINCE2 project management methodology is possibly the most popular one in the world, and every year thousands of professionals earn their PRINCE2 certification. Not only is it utilised extensively throughout the UK, but it also has a lot of influence in organisations abroad.  The name ‘Projects IN a Controlled Environment’ gives a good indication as to what you can expect to learn on a PRINCE2 course. You will be learning how to manage and control the environment of your projects in order to give them more stability and structure. The main principles of PRINCE2 are comprised of several different techniques, components and processes, which work together to create an environment and working method that prioritise order and functionality. Even chaos and spontaneity are tightly managed with such components as Change Control and Management of Risk being some of the management techniques that you will learn. But that doesn’t mean that PRINCE2 doesn’t allow for innovation and change. Rather than fighting change by putting in place precautions to prevent any errors, PRINCE2 teaches you how to look for strategies to seamlessly integrate change into a project and to recover quickly from mistakes and disturbances.  PRINCE2 is the perfect balance of structure and planning as well as control and adaptability, although the earlier methodologies from which PRINCE2 derived, PRINCE and PROMPT II, were not nearly as flexible. This is because these methodologies were originally intended for the management of government projects, which require strict regulation. In the 1980s, the UK government’s CCTA (Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency) made some changes and adapted the PROMPT II methodology into Government PROMPT. This used the principles of PROMPT II and was introduced into major UK Government departments for some time until CCTA decided to upgrade it and release their own enhanced version into the public domain.  This became an issue for the current owners of the original version of PROMPT II, LBMS, who were still marketing the methodology. In order to prevent competition between the old and upgraded version of PROMPT II, CCTA decided to release their new and improved methodology under the name PRINCE in 1990. Since PRINCE became an established project management methodology, it has continued to receive upgrades. The first major upgrade saw the name change to PRINCE2 and subsequently, there have been a fair few upgrades and modifications to improve the flexibility of PRINCE2 and make it more easily tailorable for both UK and international organisations. The latest update was announced in January 2017, which is the first major update to occur since 2009. This new update will see the revision of the PRINCE2 guidance and the introduction of new PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner examinations. This update aims to keep PRINCE2 relevant in more modern industries and work environments, where upgraded and new technologies continue to change working methods and where the expectations of clients and stake holders continue to rise. This new version of PRINCE2 has been created with the guidance of PRINCE2 practitioners who have seen to it that the methodology becomes easier to tailor to different organisations and projects.  PRINCE2 today is still the most widely used project management methodology around the world and the range of professionals and organisations utilising it demonstrates its versatility and helpfulness. In an AXELOS survey, over half of professionals qualified in PRINCE2 were found to work outside the UK and the largest fractions of organisations which use the methodology were companies comprised of over 1500 members of staff as well as organisations with less than 100 members of staff. This shows that you don’t need to be managing large, comprehensive projects in order to benefit from a PRINCE2 qualification. The majority of consultants, managers and IT professionals that are qualified PRINCE2 Practitioners also said they found the course to be highly beneficial to their career, making it a valuable asset for anyone looking for a change in career or to move up in their current place of employment.  If you would like to improve the environment for your projects or are interested in learning new and valuable skills, sign up for PRINCE2 Training with The Knowledge Academy and take our PRINCE2 Foundation & Practitioner course. 

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  02 Jun 2017

How can PMP Certification Help You in Your Career?

As the job market becomes more and more competitive every year, it’s becoming increasingly important to stand out. Employers are continually looking for ways to screen their list of candidates in order to save time and determine who they should interview. Ultimately, most employers are looking for experience, but it can be hard to articulate this on a CV. This is where you will find a globally accepted certification such as Project Management Professional (PMP®) comes of use. Based on the PMBOK® (Project Management Book of Knowledge), a collection of global standards for project, programme and portfolio management, PMP is a course that educates and tests the competence of professionals in the most valued areas of project management. In general, a PMP course covers the five major stages of any project: Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing. Studying these topics on a PMP course provides baseline knowledge that project managers all over the world agree is required to handle projects intelligently and efficiently. 'The Gold Standard' The PMP certification is often referred to as ‘the gold standard for project management’ and it’s not difficult to see why. You will need to have achieved a certain level of education and experience in project management in order to apply for the PMP exam, and receiving your certification indicates prestige and professionalism. The amount of industries utilising PMP and project management is vast and increasing all the time. With a PMP certification you can enter into almost any industry and find a position, and PMP career opportunities are growing all the time. Project management used to be a role for very particular industries, but this is not the case in modern business. Industries that use PMP include telecoms, finance, research, and technology, and the increasing complexity of projects is helping organisations around the world to realise the importance of adhering to a global standard of project management. This is why the PMP certification is in such high demand; it is applicable to almost all fields and has the potential to benefit all kinds of organisations. Universal Skills  While a PMP certification is specially tailored for project management positions, the skills and knowledge taught can be applied to any job which utilises elements of project management, even if it is not specifically mentioned in the title. The project management process covered by PMP also teaches a range of skills which can be universally applied in any career. These include: Data gathering and analysis Strategic thinking Interpersonal skills Organisation skills Conflict resolution Change and risk assessment and management skills Knowledge management Time and resource management skills Decision making Quality management While these skills are highly valued in project management, they are not exclusive to project management. You can utilise these skills in practically any job position and use your certification as evidence of these skills, which means that the range of jobs you apply for can be expanded by a PMP certification. For employers, these skills are all highly valuable: they show that you can get on well in a team, work in an efficient and organised manner and that the quality of the work you produce is a high priority. This means that this certification provides improved employability and the chance to demonstrate your increasing value as an employee. If you’re interested in learning more about this valuable qualification or would like to apply for a place on one of our courses, explore our PMP Training page.

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  31 May 2017

What is the Difference Between Scrum and Agile?

There still remains a lot of confusion as to what the difference is between Scrum and Agile. Some people believe them to be two completely different methodologies while others believe that they are the same methodology given two different names. While aspects of Scrum and Agile can seem similar, it is important to note the differences. Agile describes a range of working practices. Scrum can be described as an Agile framework in that it follows Agile principles, but its approach also varies in such a way that it can be classed as a separate methodology. Agile Project Management Agile is, in essence, a very broad term. Any process that aligns with the principals and values outlined in the Agile Manifesto can fall under the umbrella term ‘Agile’. The four main values of the Agile Manifesto are: Individuals and interactions over processes and tools Working software over comprehensive documentation Customer collaboration over contract negotiation Responding to change over following a plan The polar opposite of the traditional Waterfall methodology, Agile requires evolvement and adaptability. It is particularly useful in environments where change and risk management are high priorities. Rather than working to a strictly managed process, teams that implement Agile are knowledgeable and capable of managing their own work. Because planning is less concrete, team members need a sense of initiative in order to keep a project moving in the right direction, and regular meetings and discussions are necessary to ensure that everyone in the team is notified of any changes and requirements. Teams that implement Agile work in iterations, aiming to produce a working product after each cycle.  While the phases of a work cycle involve planning, analysing, designing, developing, testing and deploying, these phases don’t necessarily happen in succession. This flexible approach to the project means that these phases can happen at any time during a project, depending on where the team is in terms of progress and which issues need addressing at that time. Agile teams are able to take challenges as they come and work at their own pace to get the project where it needs to be. Pros Improved change management Progress is not compromised by an undefined end goal Continuous improvement High level of focus on customer and client requirements Scrum Training You will often see Scrum being described as an ‘iterative and incremental Agile software development method’, but, to put this in simpler terms, if Agile is the product, then Scrum is the brand. Scrum is a subset of Agile – a framework rather than a methodology – that is used to manage complex product development. Scrum is useful for cross-functional teams that regularly encounter rapid changes in their projects. The difference is that, where Agile allows ultimate freedom and needs to be interpreted almost entirely by the individuals within the team, Scrum has rules and guidelines that can help teams avoid some of the shortcomings of Agile. Instead of a project manager, Scrum teams have a ‘Scrum Master’ who acts as a guide for the team but does not lead the project. The main concept of Scrum is the same as Agile – teams work in iterations – however, with Scrum, these cycles are more structured and require an element of routine to better apply a team’s adaptive capabilities. The cycles in Scrum are referred to as ‘sprints’ and are of a fixed length, lasting one or two weeks, whereas the cycles of Agile have no defined length or order. A structure is applied to these sprints using four ‘ceremonies’: sprint planning, a daily stand-up, sprint demo, and sprint retrospective. During these ceremonies, the team analyse their current progress, prepare for the next step, and reorganise their work in accordance with any changes to the project. Pros More transparency Improved collaboration Strong team communication and relationships Quickly and easily adapt to change Scrum vs. Agile Not all teams are the same, and neither are all projects. In some instances, a cross-functional team is what you need, but with other projects, you may need a person in charge to keep things on track. The risk will always be that if you plan for one event, then you will be at a disadvantage when another occurs and the same can be said when choosing between studying either Agile or Scrum. Many teams require the freedom and flexibility of Agile, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t utilise some of the structured nature of Scrum. For example, daily stand-ups can be recommended for almost any work environment. They give you an opportunity to see what has been done, what is being done, and what needs to be done in a project, allowing you to keep an eye on the project as a whole rather than focusing too much on the one part of it that is your responsibility. When teams take too much of an independent approach to their work, they run the risk of under-communicating and working towards different end goals because they haven’t collectively established what it is that they are working towards. If you are concerned that you may need to utilise aspects of both Scrum and Agile, then studying both may be the most beneficial options. While Agile will supply you with the fundamental principles of flexible project management, Scrum will inform you of how to apply for some order without being limiting. Scrum and Agile Certification The Knowledge Academy offers a range of Scrum and Agile certification for those wishing to learn more about these approaches. AgilePM® provides an official qualification for the use of Agile as a method of project management, while our Scrum courses will show you how to fulfil vital roles in a Scrum team, including Scrum Master and Scrum Product Owner.

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  24 May 2017

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Announcing Our New PRINCE2 2017 Classroom Courses

Announcing Our New PRINCE2 2017 Classroom Courses

  22 Jun 2017

We’re delighted to announce the release of our new range of PRINCE2 2017 classroom training courses. Following the latest 2017 syllabus from our partners AXELOS, our new Foundation, Practitioner and Foundation & Practitioner courses update the methodology for a modern world where organisations are increasingly required to be able to adapt quickly to business needs. The 2017 update marks the first time PRINCE2 has been changed since 2009. Over the eight years of its use, PRINCE2 2009 has proven itself to be the world’s de facto project management methodology, used by thousands of organisations and businesses around the world. Rather than being a replacement, the new version should be thought of as an evolution. The tried and tested fundamentals of PRINCE2 have not changed; the latest version simply improves on it by making a number of changes based on the feedback and experiences of project professionals around the world, ensuring PRINCE2 continues to set the standard for project management. PRINCE2 2017 includes the following main additions: Enhanced guidance on tailoring the methodology to the needs of organisations and project environments Clarification of the link between themes and principles Restructured ‘Themes’ guidance to incorporate specific examples of tailoring Numerous examples, hints and tips for practically applying the method and guidance Along with the updated courses come new Foundation and Practitioner exams which are designed to ensure PRINCE2 students know what they need to succeed in a project environment using the methodology. Both exams have been updated in line with the new focus on tailoring, and the Practitioner exam emphasises the practical application of PRINCE2 using all parts of the method. Any PRINCE2 course booked with us running from 10th July onwards follows the new 2017 standard, with updated syllabus, courseware and exams. Contact us for more details. Stay tuned for our PRINCE2 2017 online courses, which will be released soon.

WannaCry ransomware infects computers around the globe

WannaCry ransomware infects computers around the globe

  24 May 2017

Organisations and users around the world have been infected by the cyber attack WannaCry. The attack, which takes the form of a ransomware program, encrypts users’ files and prevents them from accessing their computers unless they make a payment to the attackers. If they do not pay within 7 days, the ransom doubles. Having started on Friday 12 May 2017, the attack spread on an unprecedented scale, affecting machines in organisations including the National Health Service in England and Scotland, FedEx, Hitachi, the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Russia, Renault and Telefónica. The attack was slowed in its early stages by a cybersecurity researcher who unknowingly activated a kill switch. This gave time for countries which had not been attacked so severely to deploy defences. Nevertheless, estimates suggest that around $72,000 in payments have been made already. In addition, a new strain of the virus is now operating which doesn’t have the kill switch, making it much more difficult to prevent. The attack is believed to have entered systems via an exploit within the Microsoft Windows operating system. Although the exploit had been patched in recent security updates for newer systems, older, unsupported systems like Windows XP were not protected. In a rare move, Microsoft rushed to bring out an emergency update for the older operating systems Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003 shortly after the attack. The impact of the virus has caused many to reconsider their stances on cyber security, as they realise how important it is to keep systems and protection up to date.

The Knowledge Academy announces General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Courses

The Knowledge Academy announces General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Courses

  24 May 2017

We’re pleased to announce the introduction of two new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) courses for 2017. The courses cover what we see as a growing training need for companies to understand GDPR and how they can be compliant before the new law is introduced in May next year. The first new course is Certified EU GDPR Foundation. This entry-level course is designed for those looking for an introduction to GDPR. It provides an overview of the new legislation, including changes to existing law and new additions. We recommend it for managers and senior staff who wish to gain an idea of the impact of GDPR on their business and how they should prepare for it. Our second course is Certified EU GDPR Practitioner. This course follows on from Foundation to provide a more technical look at the content of the GDPR and is aimed at those who will be directly be involved in the implementation of its guidance and monitoring to ensure compliance. It will be of particular value to those who will take on the role of Data Protection Officer (DPO) in their organisation. GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a new regulation which protects the personal data of EU citizens and harmonises existing data protection laws. First discussed in April 2016, the law comes into effect on 25 May 2018. After this date, businesses which are not compliant can be fined up to 4% of their global revenue.

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