Managing Successful Programmes (MSP)

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This article explains Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) in a practical way. After reading you will understand the basics of this powerful programme management tool.

What is Managing Successful Programmes / MSP?

Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) is a programme management method in which people, activities and information are brought together to implement change within an organization as efficiently as possible.

What is MSP in project management?

MSP originates from the British Office of Government Commerce (OGC) that has also developed Prince II. MSP is public domain and can be used freely by any given organization.

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Using this method, organizations can implement an envisaged change effectively. This method provides a framework for setting up and carrying out a portfolio of various projects. It comprises a range of principles and processes for the use and management of a programme and is based on proven best practice.

MSP is very flexible and adapts to the current circumstances. Managing successful programmes coordinates and directs a portfolio of projects and activities to deliver joint, new and strategic outcomes.


But what is a programme exactly? A programme is a made up of related projects that target specific organizational objectives. The purpose of these strategic objects is to improve the entire business operations.

There is a close relationship between programme and project management as a programme is based on projects and it can only be successful if these projects are a success. Without programme management a project is not coordinated or integrated and as a result strategic objective will be achieved less quickly.

Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) Principles

MSP makes responsibilities and lines of communication clear within an organization. The British Office of Government Commerce (OGC) recommends a list of principles that make it possible to make optimal use of Managing successful programmes:

  • plan activities in a targeted and result-oriented manner
  • the benefits of the implementation of a programme should be clear to everyone within the organization
  • all interested parties must be involved in a programme
  • identify and control risks and try to solve problems
  • ensure quality
  • keep information up-to-date in an ever-changing environment
  • evaluate a programme to guarantee standards


For Managing successful programmes to be as streamlined as possible and to make it succeed the following elements are essential:

  • determine the objective of the programme and the intended benefits for the organization
  • define the programme and specify the change for the organization afterwards.
  • determine the programme
  • coordinate and supervise the projects within a programme
  • supervise the transition between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ working practices.
  • close the programme and make sure the final object is achieved

Managing Successful Programmes Evaluation

MSP forces an organization to set up a clear organizational structure and to make it clear who are the persons responsible for certain roles. This enables clear and efficient decisions. It provides people with clarity about the degree of autonomy with respect to their own actions.

As the end of each track contains an important evaluation point, the progress of a programme and the achievement of the desired results will be considered. At the end of the programme, the total output is measured by means of an end evaluation.

Managing successful programmes in practice

When Managing successful programmes is carried out well, organizations will be fully able to realize strategic changes in a streamlined fashion.

As processes are distinguished and identified by managing successful programmes, managers will know exactly what is going on and where certain bottlenecks arise. Furthermore, MSP makes managers more aware of current developments and therefore they are able to respond quickly and adequately.

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More information

  1. Harpham, A. (2002). Successful Programme Management or Managing Successful Programmes. In 16th IPMA World Congress, Berlin. June.
  2. Ward, J., & Daniel, E. (2006). Benefits management: How to Increase the Business Value of Your IT Projects. John Wiley & Sons.
  3. Winter, M., Smith, C., Morris, P., & Cicmil, S. (2006). Directions for future research in project management: the main findings of a UK government-funded research network. International journal of project management, 24(8), 638-649.

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Vincent van Vliet
Article by:

Vincent van Vliet

Vincent van Vliet is co-founder and responsible for the content and release management. Together with the team Vincent sets the strategy and manages the content planning, go-to-market, customer experience and corporate development aspects of the company.


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