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Programme Management Factsheet

What is Programme Management ?

Programme management is

The process of managing a portfolio of multiple ongoing inter-dependent projects.
The co-ordinated management of a portfolio of projects to achieve a set of business objectives.

Programme Management, like project management, is a management tool for bringing together people, activities and information to achieve something


Designing, manufacturing and providing support infrastructure for an automobile make. This requires hundreds, or even thousands, of separate projects.
The USA’s Man on the Moon Project - e.g The Lunar Lander, the Orbiter, the Launcher and the Control Systems
Large Projects aimed at corporate goals - opening a new factory or launching a new product

Programme Management in an Organisation

In an organization, Program Management also reflects the emphasis on coordinating and prioritizing resources across projects, departments, and entities to insure that resource contention is managed from a global focus.

The UK government has invested heavily in program(me) management. In Europe the term normally refers to multiple change projects: projects that are designed to deliver benefits to the host organisation.

Program(me) management provides a layer above project management focusing on selecting the best group of programmes, defining them in terms of their constituent projects and providing an infrastructure where projects can be run successfully but leaving project management to the project management community.

Programme Management Training

Managing Successful Programmes is the Office of Government Commerce Best Practice Framework for defining and implementing change programmes.

The Principles in Managing Successful Programmes advise how to:


  • Organise people to ensure responsibilities and lines of communication are clear
  • Plan the work in a way which achieves results
  • Ensure that the organisation does benefit from undertaking the programme
  • Ensure that all interested parties (the stakeholders) are involved
  • Resolve issues which arise
  • Identify and manage risks
  • Ensure quality
  • Keep up to date information which tracks the continually changing environment
  • Audit a programme to ensure standards are being followed

The Processes in Managing Successful Programmes describe how to:


  • Identify the aim of the programme and envisaged benefits to the organisation
  • Define the programme, and specify how the organisation will be different afterwards
  • Establish the programme
  • Monitor and co-ordinate the projects within a programme to a successful conclusion
  • Manage the transition between the ‘old’ and ‘new’ ways of working, ensuring benefit
  • Close the programme and ensure the ‘end goal’ has been achieved

Managing Successful Programmes Qualifications Overview

MSP courses provide candidates with an understanding of and the skills to apply the method to managing programmes of work. The Practitioner courses will be of benefit to Programme Managers, Programme team members and Business Managers who are involved in or are to become involved in a Programme of work.

There are currently three qualifications available for MSP

Managing Successful Programmes Foundation - the first qualification consists of 50 multiple choice questions to be answered in 40 minutes. This is a closed-book examination.
Managing Successful Programmes Intermediate - the 2nd qualification is 90 minutes long, with 20 minutes reading time before the exam.The exam is closed book, and consists of 5 questions, of which 3 must be answered. No reference material is allowed. The Intermediate exam is designed to test the candidates knowledge of basic concepts and understanding of MSP

Managing Successful Programmes Practitioner - this is a case study question to test comprehension of the method, to be answered in 90 minutes. 2 out of 4 questions must be answered. Paper based Reference material can be used during this part of the examination. Pre-reading material is issued at the time of the exam and candidates get 10 minutes reading time before the 90 minute exam begins.
Background to Qualifications/Eligibility

Candidates must always take the Foundation Examination before the Intermediate and Practitioner Examinations, either on the same day or separately. If a candidate has previously passed the Foundation Examination, they are qualified to sit the Intermediate and Practitioner Examinations without the need to re-sit the Foundation Examination.  

If a candidate chooses to sit the Foundation Examination only, and passes, they will receive a "Foundation Examination" certificate stating that they have passed. However, if a candidate sits the Foundation Examination, Intermediate and  Practitioner Examination on the same day, and passes all three, they will receive a "Practitioner Examination" certificate, but not any other certificate.

Accredited Training courses provide candidates with a complete and practical understanding of the MSP Programme Management method, and prepares them for the MSP Foundation and Practitioner qualifications.

Managing Successful Programmes Foundation courses (2 -3 days)

Foundation level candidates would be able to describe the purpose of all roles, processes, deliverables. Candidates must be able to state which deliverables are input and output from which processes. Candidates must be able to state the relationships between processes, deliverables, roles and the management dimensions of a programme.

Managing Successful Programmes Practitioner courses ( 4 -5 day)

At Practitioner level candidates would be able to exhibit all competence required for the Foundation qualification. For a given programme scenario; candidates must be able to produce worked examples of all role descriptions, detailed explanations of all processes, and worked examples of all deliverables. Candidates must be able to show they understand the relationships between processes, deliverables, roles and the management dimensions of a programme, and can apply this understanding. Candidates must be able to demonstrate that they understand the reasons behind the various elements of MSP, and that they understand the principles underpinning these elements. Candidates must be able to demonstrate their ability to tune MSP to different Programme circumstances. Candidates must be able to demonstrate an understanding of Programmes in context with Business Operations, and Projects.

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