Managing Successful Programmes is the most popular programme management framework. Sometimes we also refer to it as MSP or M.S.P.
What is MSP?
MSP is an acronym for Managing Successful Programmes. It is the default standard for programme management across all UK government projects. MSP is also very popular in many other countries.
What is Programme Management?
Programme Management is the coordinated organization, direction and implementation of a dossier of projects and transformation activities to achieve outcomes and realize benefits of strategic importance to a business.
In an organization, successful projects do produce outputs, services and products etc. as planned. But, such outputs, services and products from projects on their own do not add much value to the business as a whole.
However, if you coordinate all projects in such a way that the outputs, services and products from various projects are aligned with the overall goal of the organization, a great deal of value can be added to the business. This makes sure that the organization can realizes the benefits.
Managing Successful Programmes provides a series of steps, set of tools etc. for such coordination and direction of projects in an organization.
MSP manual is the basis for all managing successful programmes certification exams.
Managing Successful Programmes is based on a set of principles that are Universal, Self-validating, and Empowering.
The meaning of the term ‘Universal’ is that the Managing Successful Programmes principles can be applied to programmes from a wide range of domains.
‘Self-validating’ means they have been proven in practice.
The term ‘Empowering’ means that the Managing Successful Programmes principles empower the MSP practitioners in MSP Programme Management with the right ability and real power to influence and shape the change.
The MSP framework based on these principles helps to make the MSP Programme Management much more successful.
The Managing Successful Programmes principles have been derived from the lessons learned in programmes. They might have had both positive and negative results.
The 7 Managing Successful Programmes principles are:
The 7 Managing Successful Programmes principles can be explained in more detail as below:
A corporate management works to reach a business goal and comes up with a strategy to do so – this is called corporate strategy. And, this goal may be very volatile due to various internal and external factors. As with the goal, the corporate strategy can also be very volatile. For a programme to be helpful to the corporate in reaching its goal, it is important that the programme management takes care so that the programme always remains aligned with the corporate strategy. Hence, Managing Successful Programmes states ‘Remaining aligned with corporate strategy‘ as one of the Managing Successful Programmes principles.
Programme Management in its core self is a leadership task to lead a huge number of people thru a big change. Large number of tasks need to be managed among these huge numbers of people for managing a programme well. A corporate cannot move to a better future without clear and strong leadership. Hence, ‘Leading Change‘ is a key one among the Managing Successful Programmes principles.
All programmes have one common goal – ‘to achieve a more beneficial state in the future’. In order to achieve this the programme management leadership team must have a clear vision of the future state and also be able to describe such future state. Such vision is developed in the early stage of the programme and continues to exist till the end. Vision also needs to be communicated to a range of people and groups in a clear fashion so that their trust, commitment and buy-in is gained. The commitment from these people and groups is vital for the ease of programme management and success of the programme. And, as per MSP, ‘Envisioning and communicating a better future‘ is crucial to gain their commitment. Hence, this principle is a vital one among Managing Successful Programmes principles.
The purpose of programme management and the ultimate goal of any programme is to make sure the end benefits are realised as planned. To achieve this, the programme management leadership should keep constant focus on the benefits and also look out for any risks or threats that might turn the programme away from the end benefits. Such focus is vital for the success of the programme. Hence, ‘Focusing on the Benefits and Threats to them‘ is one of the critical principles of Managing Successful Programmes principles.
All the effort that goes into the programme and its management is worth the time, cost and effort only if it adds sufficient value. This means the value added to the system by managing a set of projects as a programme must be higher than that of the individual projects if managed on their own. If that is not the case, then there is no need for the programme. Hence, ‘Adding Value‘ is one of the principles of MSP or Managing Successful Programmes.
It is vital that whatever value that a programme adds to a system as well works well with it. In other words, the new capability that the programme adds to the system must be coherent with it. The added value must meet the quality requirements. It should be suitably optimised so that it adds maximum benefit to the system. It is also important that the adverse operational impact due to the change is minimum. Hence, ‘Designing and delivering a Coherent Capability‘ is a principle of MSP or Managing Successful Programmes.
A programme can only get better with time if it is willing to learn from their own and others’ experience. Managing Successful Programmes states that all programmes must document lessons learned and also learn from other programmes’ lessons. Hence ‘Learning from Experience‘ is a key principle of MSP.
MSP or M.S.P. works with 9 Governance Themes for Managing Successful Programmes. The approach to programme management needs to be: 1. defined, 2. measured and 3. controlled. The MSP Governance Themes allow organisations to put in place: 1. the right leadership, 2. delivery team, 3. robust organisation structures, 4. controls and 5. control information. These give us the best chance of delivering the planned outcomes and realising the desired benefits as set by the business.
The 9 governance themes that apply at all times in an Managing Successful Programmes Programme Management life-cycle can be listed as follows: 1. Organization, 2. Vision, 3. Leadership and Stakeholder Engagement, 4. Benefits Realization Management, 5. Blueprint Design and Delivery, 6. Planning and Control, 7. Business Case, 8. Risk Management and Issue Resolution and 9. Quality Management. The 9 Governance Themes of Managing Successful Programmes provide an Programme Management framework that is well organised. A programme in such MSP framework can deliver the change in full clear visibility of the organization. It can be easily controlled too, due to its well defined structure.
The 9 Managing Successful Programmes Governance Themes can be explained in more detail as below:
Anyone with an interest in the MSP programme or in its outcomes can be called a stakeholder of the MSP programme. It can be an individual or a group of them. It is vital for the success of an MSP programme that the Managing Successful Programmes leadership team engages with all the stakeholders well at all times and as per the plan. The Managing Successful Programmes Leadership and Stakeholder Engagement theme means all of the above. It refers to the Managing Successful Programmes communication plan to work well for great results.
The main reason why anyone would pay for an MSP programme is the expectation of a few benefits from the outcomes of the MSP programme. So, these benefits are central to the idea of an MSP programme. The Managing Successful Programmes Benefits Realisation Management theme shows how the benefits are described and realised with Managing Successful Programmes Programme Management. This theme also describes some tools and techniques etc. that can be used for the same.
This Managing Successful Programmes theme gives a detailed view of the to-be state of the organization as a result of the MSP programme outcome. The Managing Successful Programmes Blueprint is closely linked with the Managing Successful Programmes Vision but, it is very comprehensive in its content. The main purpose of the Managing Successful Programmes blueprint is to provide the MSP programme with a description of the cohesive future state. This prevents the risky situation where diverse initiatives creep into the MSP programme. The Managing Successful Programmes Blueprint Design and Delivery theme describes two things: 1. The criticality of designing the organisation that the programme will deliver, the to-be state, and 2. The steps through which it will be delivered.
Managing Successful Programmes Planning is all about defining the main day-to-day activities of the MSP programme team. Control is all about the support activities in the MSP programme that make sure it is on track at all times. The Managing Successful Programmes Planning and Control theme describes the detail that need to be considered to plan, design and deliver the complex set of programme management practices. This theme achieves the below: 1. enable the project coordination, 2. focus on transition, and 3. do the above whilst maintaining business as usual. This theme is critical in MSP Programme Management.
The Managing Successful Programmes Business Case contains the data that justifies the initial funding to start the MSP programme and then more funding take it till the end. The Managing Successful Programmes business case describes vital factors such as 1. the value of programme benefits, 2. programme risks, 3. programme completion cost and 4. timescales among others. The Managing Successful Programmes Business Case theme describes how the business case will provide the key information to justify the programme to run. It represents the balance between the costs and the benefits to be realised. This chapter helps us with the lifecycle of the Business Case and then, the management controls that need to be applied.
Risks and Issues are common in business. Risks need to be managed and issues need to be resolved for a programme to be successful. This is an important responsibility of the MSP Programme Leadership team. The Managing Successful Programmes Risk Management and Issue Resolution theme deals with identifying and controlling the risks and issues to the MSP programme in its life. This theme describes how to ensure a structured and systematic approach to the same. This is applied from the start through to the end of the MSP programme.
When all is said and done, it is essential that the outcomes of an MSP programme bring in the planned benefits. After all, this is the basic purpose of having an MSP programme in the first place. Quality is very important to keep stake holders satisfied. The Managing Successful Programmes Quality Management theme describes how high quality can be achieved in the outcome as planned. It covers all the areas that can improve quality in the MSP programme. Quality Management is a vital par of MSP Programme Management.
Here, the main task is to develop the MSP Programme Mandate into an MSP Programme Brief. This helps to draw the objectives and vision of the MSP programme. And, required benefits, potential risks, costs and time-scales etc. are drawn up too in next steps. The Managing Successful Programmes Identifying a Programme takes just a little effort but provides great deal of information on which the rest of the MSP programme will be based. This Managing Successful Programmes process starts with the outline of an idea, then does analysis of stakeholders, clarifies the requirements and does a market survey. This turns the idea into a business concept that gets support of people on the top.
In Managing Successful Programmes Defining a Programme process, the MSP programme is defined in more detail and a MSP Programme Plan begins to get a shape. It takes the MSP Programme Brief as a key input and gives the MSP Programme Definition Document as a key output. The MSP Programme Definition document explains things like 1. what the MSP programme is going to do, 2. how it is going to do it, 3. all of the people who will need to be involved in it, 4. how it will be controlled and 5. the justification for going forward with it etc.
In MSP terms, a group of projects that delver step changes in capability and help realize step benefits is called a Managing Successful Programmes Tranche. In Managing Successful Programmes process ‘ Managing the Tranches ‘, the main tasks can be listed as: 1. preparation work to establish the tranche, 2. a set of activities that assure the delivery of the tranche, 3. preparation of information and activities that will be used in the next tranche and 4. activities to close the current tranche once all outputs have transitioned successfully. The Managing Successful Programmes process ‘ Managing the Tranches ‘ describes the activities that are involved in managing the interfaces between each of the projects and that of the projects with the business change and also with the strategy from the top-level.
In Managing Successful Programmes Delivering the Capability process, three main tasks for each of the projects in the MSP programme are carried out: 1. Starting the projects, 2. Monitoring the projects and 3. Closing the projects. The same process is repeated for each Managing Successful Programmes tranche to make sure that each of the projects delivers its planned outputs. All this explains how the alignment of the projects and other activities etc. that would deliver the Managing Successful Programmes Blueprint, will be managed and controlled.
The Managing Successful Programmes Realizing the Benefits process names three main tasks for every Managing Successful Programmes tranche. These are as listed here: 1. Managing the Pre-Transition, 2. Managing the Transition and 3. Managing the Post-Transition. In this way, the outputs from all projects of a tranche are transitioned into operation in a controlled fashion. Managing the Pre-Transition involves: 1. preparing, 2. delivering and 3. reviewing activities to put the outputs from the projects to good use. Managing the Transition means moving the outputs to the operations so that they can be useful as per plan. Managing the Post-Transition means embedding these outputs with those already in live to realise the planned benefits. Generally, a detailed transition plan is in place to clarify when the benefits are likely to come on stream. This plan is compared with the Managing Successful Programmes Benefits Profiles and the Managing Successful Programmes Benefits Realization Plan. Adjustments are made as needed to keep all these documents aligned.
This makes sure that the organization as a whole recognises that the MSP Programme has closed. A couple of actions take place here: 1. Establish that benefits have been realised and 2. Make provision for measuring these benefits. In summary, the Managing Successful Programmes Closing a Programme process provides a way to end the MSP programme in a structured way. The main steps in this process are: 1. Consolidate and embed the change, 2. Close down all programme activity and 3. Complete Stakeholder Engagement etc.
MSP programmes must be maintaining a set of documents, each for a purpose as below: