Programme Management

What is Programme Management?

A large number of growing organisations misunderstand what Programme Management is and therefore struggle to realise the benefits Programme Management can bring.  All to often Project Managers running larger projects see themselves as Programme Managers and fall into that title without understanding any elements of Programme Management.  Professional Programme Management can bring a significant edge to an organisations’ progression, making the difference between failure and successful change.

As a Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) Practitioner, Craig Hughes is a qualified and experienced Programme Manager able to assist your organisation implement change or transformation successfully.

What is MSP®?

MSP represents proven programme management good practice in the successful delivery of transformational change through the application of programme management.

MSP has been used and adopted within many organisations within both the public and private sectors. The experiences of those who have adopted programme management have provided invaluable inputs into the core publication, ‘Managing Successful Programmes’.

MSP defines programme management as the action of carrying out the coordinated organisation, direction and implementation of a dossier of projects and transformational activities (i.e. the programme) to achieve outcomes and realise benefits of strategic importance to the business.

Programme management aligns three critical organisational elements:

  • Corporate strategy
  • Delivery mechanisms for change
  • Business-as-usual environment

It manages the natural tension that exists between these elements to deliver transformational change that meets the needs of the organisation and its stakeholders.

The MSP structured framework is for organisations of all sizes and from all sectors to improve practices, offer better services and more effectively prepare for the future.

The MSP framework facilitates for large, complex change to be broken down into manageable, inter-related projects.  When managing the overall delivery the MSP principles and processes of programme management are key to delivering on time and within budget.  It is founded on best practice although it is not prescriptive.  It is very flexible and designed to be adapted to meet the needs of individual programme circumstances.

Types of Programmes

There are three distinct types of programmes:

Vision-led Programme:

  • The delivery of a clearly defined vision that has been created and is sponsored by the top of the organisation.
  • Tends to be top down in approach with cross-functional implications for the organisation’s operations.
  • Entrepreneurial programmes developing new products and services that focus on innovation or strategic opportunity offered by the business environment.
  • In the public sector this could be the translation of political priorities into a programme which will refine and deliver the desired changes.

Emergent Programme:

  • Evolves from concurrent, individual projects that have grown within an organisation.  The coordination of the projects is necessary to deliver the changes and the desired benefits.
  • Is transitory, as it becomes a planned programme when its vision, context and direction have been defined and established.

Compliance Programme:

  • Often referred to as a ‘must do’ programme.
  • The organisation has no choice but to change as a result of an external event, such as legislative change.
  • Benefits may be expressed in terms of compliance, achievement and avoidance of negative implications rather than measurable improvements in performance.

In reality, most programmes have a mix of these characteristics, but it is helpful to understand the dominant characteristics of a programme as it will help to develop and optimise the priorities and approach.

When Should MSP Be Used?

MSP is highly suitable for business transformation and political/societal change, being an approach designed to accommodate high levels of complexity, ambiguity and risk.

Adopting a programme approach is not necessary:

  • Where something new is delivered within the existing business models.
  • Incremental improvements to an existing product or service.
  • To organise all the projects within an enterprise solely for prioritising and allocating resources.

The programme management framework of MSP is primarily designed for leading and managing transformational change.

The MSP Framework

The model right illustrates the three core concepts of MSP.  The outer ring represents the principles, the inner ring reflects the governance themes and the centre illustrates the transformational flow.


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.

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 for success.

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.

Make a Difference for Your Organisation

Contracting an MSP qualified Interim Programme Manager will make a significant difference to your organisation and your Programme Management capability.  Craig Hughes bring not only a MSP Practitioner qualification but a wealth of blue-chip experience.  Make contact today and understand what difference can be made for your organisation.

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