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Defining MSP®: A deep dive into Managing Successful Programmes

As programmes become more complex, methodologies that offer a structured framework for execution are increasingly crucial for success. Among these, Managing Successful Programmes (MSP®) stands out as a versatile, best-practice approach.

What is MSP?

Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) is a globally recognised framework for programme management that aligns programmes with strategic business objectives to achieve beneficial change. It offers a structured approach for organisations to manage large-scale, transformational change, encompassing a range of activities from the conception of a programme to its delivery and closure.

The framework is designed to be adaptable and suitable for programmes of all sizes and across various sectors.

Discover the difference between a project and a programme.

Defining MSP’s three pillars

At its core, MSP is built around three pillars: principles, themes, and processes. These elements work harmoniously to guide a programme's lifecycle from its inception to the realisation of benefits after the programme has been closed.


MSP is underpinned by seven principles. These principles include leading with purpose, collaborating across boundaries, dealing with ambiguity, aligning with priorities, deploying diverse skills, realising measurable benefits, and bringing peace and value.

These principles ensure that a programme remains focused on its long-term objectives while also navigating change.


The themes offer a framework for defining roles, responsibilities, and processes that support decision-making and accountability throughout the programme lifecycle. The MSP themes include:

  • Organisation
  • Design
  • Justification
  • Structure
  • Knowledge
  • Assurance
  • Decisions

These themes ensure that every aspect of the programme is carefully managed and aligned with its objectives.


Previously known as the transformational flow, the seven processes in MSP provide a guide for the stages that all programmes should go through, including:

  • Identify the programme
  • Design the outcomes
  • Plan progressive delivery
  • Deliver the capabilities
  • Embed the outcomes
  • Evaluate new information
  • Close the programme

MSP – The next training step for project managers

Already qualified in PRINCE2®, APM PMQ, AgilePM® or another similar certification? While the career options for project managers can be extensive, one natural progression in this career path is to move into programme management.

For seasoned project managers looking to progress from managing individual projects to a suite of interrelated projects with aligned strategic goals within a programme, MSP training can help with this transition as it clarifies the differences in key areas such as:

  • Scope: projects focus on the delivery or output, whereas programmes focus on strategic benefits
  • Scale: projects focus on the intricacies of specific deliverables, whereas programmes focus on overall transformation
  • Reporting: projects will require reporting information, and programme managers will typically focus on managing the channels of information
  • Change: projects typically handle standalone project changes, while programmes will ensure there is embedded change across the organisation
  • Financials: budgeting will focus on specific project activities for project managers, while programme management financials will explore investments in a way that maximises benefits and value
  • Alignment: projects focus on achieving specific goals, while programmes will align with strategic objectives and evolving organisational goals

The value of MSP training

Certifying in MSP teaches individuals and organisations a comprehensive framework for programme management and how it can be used to manage them successfully.

Benefits for individuals

For professionals, MSP training enhances their programme management skills, equipping them with the knowledge and tools to manage large-scale, complex programmes effectively. It broadens their career prospects, opening doors to roles in various sectors and industries by demonstrating a commitment to professional development and a deep understanding of programme management best practice.

Benefits for organisations

Organisations that adopt MSP and invest in training can expect to see significant improvements in how programmes are managed and delivered across their business. MSP helps organisations take a more strategic approach, aligning projects and programmes with broader business objectives to ensure they deliver maximum impact.

MSP can enhance stakeholder engagement, improve risk management, and promote a culture of learning and continuous improvement. Ultimately, MSP enables organisations to deliver transformational change more effectively, with greater efficiency and a higher likelihood of realising the intended benefits.

Programme management expertise with MSP

MSP offers invaluable insights and skills, paving the way for successful programme management and transformational change. If you’re looking to boost your skills or move from project to programme management, MSP training can really help.

Our MSP training is delivered in various formats, including online e-learning, virtual or in-person classroom courses, and blended learning options. Find the right MSP training for you.