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Author  John Edmonds - PPM Portfolio Development Manager at Axelos

October 26, 2020 |

 2 min read

  • Blog
  • Programme management
  • MSP

Today marks the launch of the 5th edition of Managing Successful Programmes (MSP). MSP was last updated in 2011 and so this new edition responds to a number of changes that have taken place in the world of programme and project management since then. It also reflects changing perceptions of programme management that have become evident in extensive research carried out by AXELOS over the last few years.

A lot of research has been published over the pasts few years that reports on the high failure rate of programmes, be they transformation programmes or large-scale ‘specification-led’ ones. The digital revolution, the speed of change, the rise of Agile ways of working, and the increased volatility and uncertainty of all aspects of life mean that programme management must evolve to meet these demands.

Axelos's own research also revealed that there is widespread misconception about what programme management is (and therefore what MSP is). Many saw it as simply a bigger version of project management, just with several projects rather than one.

Our new MSP edition clarifies again that programme management is not project management, whilst at the same time offering guidance that many project managers (and, of course programme managers, organizational managers and a wide variety of other roles) will find of great value.

Our approach

When updating guidance there can be a tendency to simply add new material to the existing content, resulting in more rather than better guidance. We were very careful about not falling into this trap. Instead, we took the decision to go back to the basics and challenge every aspect of MSP to ensure that its inclusion contributed to the guidance being fit for purpose now.

The research and consultation undertaken produced a wide variety of input, as might be expected. However, it became clear that in response to the transformation challenges facing all organizations, MSP must also be transformed. We wanted to ensure that it would be able to contribute to the way in which organizations invest in response to their changing circumstances and enable them to realize tangible outcomes and benefits from their investment in programmes.

And so, after extensive consultation, review and testing, we are now launching the 5th edition of MSP, together with a new, updated set of examinations.

This new edition will help current and aspiring programme managers, and many other roles, to design, plan, lead and deliver their programmes and thus help organizations be successful.