What is Managing Successful Programmes (MSP)

Date: 03/11/2020| Category: Best Practices Glossary| Tags:

MSP stands for Managing Successful Programmes and is a programme management methodology. MSP represents proven good practice in the successful delivery of transformational change through the application of programme management.

Programme management has become an increasingly essential skill worldwide as it is increasingly being recognized as key to enabling organisations to manage transformation. Transformation through effective leadership and strategic control help organisations survive and prosper in a constant and increasing change. MSP, managing successful professionals, has been utilized by many different organisations to help with this transformation.. MSP is used worldwide and has to adapt to a wide variety of programmes, situations and environments. This makes MSP extremely flexible, very comprehensive and widely applicable.

MSP provides a structured framework to manage programmes. It helps organisations break large programmes down into individual projects, each clearly defined.

What are the benefits of using MSP 

Organisations need to respond to continual change in order to survive and grow. MSP provides a base to design and run programmes so that organisations can deliver their strategy and gain measurable benefits from change.

MSP helps organisations and individuals manage their projects, programmes and services consistently and effectively. The key benefits of implementing MSP are the following:

  • MSP combines the quality of rigour with the flexibility to respond to specific situations
  • MSP provides a practical, step-by-step approach for designing and running successful programmes
  • MSP covers key principles, governance themes and the processes needed to deliver change
  • MSP advises on how to embed, review and apply MSP to achieve high-quality outcomes
  • MSP includes real-life examples of how to apply best-practice programme management

Key elements of MSP 

MSP exists of three different groups; the principles, the governance theme and the transformational flow processes.

The MSP Principles: These are derived from positive and negative lessons learned from programme experiences. They are the common factors that underpin the success of any transformational change. The principles are:

  1. Remaining aligned with corporate strategy: this means that at no point of time, the programme should deviate from the strategic goals of the organisation.
  2. Leading change: this emphasizes that change should be led effectively.
  3. Envisioning and communicating a better future: this aims at having all stakeholders and the programme employees aligned.
  4. Focusing on benefits and threats to them: This ensures that all benefits are realized and threats to them are managed.
  5. Adding value: this means that the programme should add value to the organisation.
  6. Designing and delivering a coherent capability: this focuses on delivering a capability that is useful and in sync with the programme objectives.
  7. Learning from experience: this aims at not repeating the mistakes that might affect the success of the programme.

The MSP Governance theme: This defines an organisation’s approach to programme management. They allow an organisation to put in place the right leadership, delivery team, organisation structures and controls, giving the best chance for success.

The MSP Transformational flow: This provides a route through the lifecycle of a programme from its conception through to the delivery of the new capability, outcomes and benefits.

Project roles: MSP defines roles and responsibilities of all who need to form part of the leadership of a programme. Effective leadership of a programme is achieved through informed decision-making and a flexible management regime. The key roles involved are:

  • Sponsoring group
  • Senior responsible owner
  • Programme manager
  • Business change manager
  • Programme office

MSP 5th edition 

In 2020 Axelos launched the 5th edition of the MSP certification. It revised the complete methodology and created a version that is really adapted to ‘real-world’ change scenarios. The three key concepts ‘principles, governance and processes’ remain the same. However, there is a new focus on incremental change and the new edition is easier to integrate with other frameworks like Agile, Lean etc.

MSP Certification Scheme 

The MSP certification scheme has two main levels:

  • Foundation: this level introduces the MSP method. The MSP Foundation exam aims to confirm that you know and understand the MSP method well enough to be able to work effectively with, or as a member of, a programme management team working within an environment supporting MSP.
  • Practitioner: this level gives you the knowledge to not only understand but actively use and tailor MSP to your specific needs. The MSP Practitioner exam aims to confirm whether you have sufficient understanding of how to apply and tailor MSP in a range of different programme management environments and scenarios.

How to get MSP Certified

In order to obtain your MSP Certification you need to take a classroom or online training with an AXELOS’ Accredited Training Organisations (ATOs).

QRP International is an official ATO for MSP, accredited by Peoplecert on behalf of Axelos. We are authorized to deliver MSP Foundation and MSP Practitioner classroom, coporate and virtual courses.

Source: Axelos

Share this post, choose Your platform!


Subscribe to the QRP International neswletter and get all the news on trends, useful contents and invitations to our upcoming events.

QRP International will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you. We'd like to continue keeping you up-to-date with all our latest news and exclusive content that's designed to help you to be more effective in your role, and keep your professional skills current.

You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at marketing@qrpinternational.com. We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please visit our website. By clicking below, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.