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Project management basics finale: MSP

Managing Successful Programmes (MSP®) is a programme management methodology from, you guessed it, AXELOS, and it was developed as a best practice guide on programme management.

A programme is a number of projects that have been identified by an organisation that will deliver a defined objective, or set of objectives. With MSP providing a framework for practitioners to work with to deliver added value to any organisation that needs to manage and control multiple projects at one time.

The MSP framework is based on three core concepts:

  • Seven 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 changes.
  • Nine MSP Governance Themes – these define 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 of success.
  • Six MSP Transformational Flow Processes – provides a route through the lifecycle of a programme from its conception through to the delivery of the new capability, outcomes and benefits.

Aren’t bees miraculous? I just put a teaspoon full of honey in my tea and it got me thinking.

Bees are known as one of nature’s most industrious creatures (busy bee), a bee will fly to thousands of flowers to make that spoonful of honey that I used.

Bees are also incredibly smart; as a defence mechanism from a hornet invasion, bees will heat up their hive to a temperature of 47.2 degrees Celsius and turn their bodies into a convection oven by vibrating. This causes the hornets to either get out of the kitchen, or cook.

Bee colonies are like programmes. You have the queen bee who is like the programme manager and keeps the colony in check, you have the worker bees who are like project managers who direct the drone bees who carry out the all-important ground work. This all equates to a lovely, sustained programme. Sorry, I mean hive.

So, a programme manager is next up in the project management food chain: in a programme, you will have a programme manager who manages a group of projects that are managed by project managers. So, the programme manager manages the programme, while in turn managing the project managers who are managing the individual projects – wow, that’s a lot of managing.

Thank you for reading our project management basics series. If you would like further information on careers in project management, you can click here. If there's a specific methodology you wish to learn, you can browse the options here.