MSP Course Introduction Tutorial

This is a tutorial about the introduction to managing successful programmes (MSP) offered by Simplilearn. The tutorial is part of the MSP® Foundation and Practitioner course. This introductory lesson gives a brief idea about MSP® and its objectives.

In today’s world of dynamic changes and external stimulators, organizations are forced to adapt to survive. Only those organizations that have learned how to transform themselves through effective leadership and strategic control will prosper.

Program management is a key tool to enable organizations to deliver their strategy. Managing successful programmes represent proven best practices that enable delivering successful transformations.

Let us begin with the objectives in the next section.

MSP Tutorial Objectives

By the end of this MSP introduction tutorial, you will be able to:

  • Explain MSP® principles.

  • Describe MSP® governance themes.

  • Discuss the transformational flow of MSP® and

  • Explain the areas of focus of different roles involved in managing successful programs.

  • Explain the MSP® framework

  • Differentiate between a program and a project

  • Explain program management

  • Describe program management environment

Let’s move on to the next section to understand what is MSP®?

Let us now have a look at this video about the introduction to MSP.

MSP-Introduction

Managing Successful Programmes or MSP® was developed as a best practice guide on program management. Some of its features are as follows:

  • The guide comprises a set of principles and processes to be used when managing a program.

  • MSP® represents proven program management best practice in the successful delivery of transformational change.

  • The best practices in MSP® are drawn from both public and private sectors.

We will learn more about MSP® in the upcoming lessons.

In the next section, we will focus on what is APMG.

About APMG and AXELOS

APMG

APMG-International is a global examination institute accredited by the APM Group Limited. Following are the facts related to APMG:

  • APMG has been awarded a contract to operate as an Examination Institute for the AXELOS portfolio of Best Management Practice products such as PRINCE2®, ITIL®, MoV®, MoP®, MoR®, MSP®, P3M3® and P3O®.

  • The training accredited by APMG and consulting organizations have gone through the most rigorous assessment process in the industry in order to ensure high standards.

  • APMG commits to high standards. This means that all the candidates and organizations awarded an APMG certificate can be assured that they have reached stringent quality standards.

AXELOS

AXELOS is a new joint venture company which has taken over the ownership of above-mentioned products from cabinet office.

APMG(contd.)

APMG is based in the United Kingdom. APM Group operates worldwide, with offices in the UK, the USA, Germany, Malaysia, India, Australia, China and South Africa amongst other countries.

It is the official accreditor of the UK Government's Cabinet Office for qualifications based on their best practice guidance portfolio.

APM Group is in turn accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) against the EN45011 and ISO/IEC17024 standards for several accreditation schemes it delivers.

In the next section, we will understand what value MSP® holds for a professional.

Value of MSP to Professionals

MSP® is one of the most widely known program management guidebooks. An individual with MSP® qualification will always be better positioned in a lead program.

The main benefits are-

  • Utilising best practice in program management, to successfully deliver transformational change,

  • Carrying out the coordinated organization,

  • Directing and implementing a dossier of projects and transformation activities to achieve outcomes, and realizing benefits of strategic importance to the business,

  • A managing transition of solutions developed and delivered by projects into the organization’s operations, whilst maintaining performance and effectiveness,

  • Encouraging realistic expectations of the organizational capacity and the ability to change, and

  • Leading business transformation accommodating high levels of complexity, ambiguity, and risk.

In the next section, we will focus on what value MSP® holds for an organization.

Value of MSP to Organisations

Organisations that hire MSP® trained individuals or train their managers in MSP® have added benefits of having professionals who are:

  • Adept at aligning corporate strategy, delivering mechanisms for change and the business-as-usual environment.

  • The MSP® trained individuals are trained to continually monitor progress, assess performance, realize benefits.

  • Apply a common framework of understanding for all the programs.

This also gives added value as it helps them to see the overall picture of the program. MSP® adds value by explaining the focus on benefits and further encourages feedback in order to refine future strategies based on evidence from programs.

The fact remains that trained individuals are more aware of the upcoming pitfalls and thus are better prepared to avoid them and lead the program. Also, the individuals working with an MSP® certified professional in a program will learn a lot and add value to the organization.

In the next section, we will look into what the updated 2011 edition of MSP® includes.

Updates in 2011 Edition of MSP

MSP® has been updated to 2011 edition guide and from since Monday, 5th August 2013, candidates will only be able to take exams based on the 2011 edition.

Let us look into the highlights of the updated edition:

  • One of the major changes is that the lessons on governance themes now have a section each outlining how a theme relates to each of the transformation flow processes.

  • New “hints” on practical ways to apply the guidance have been added to the guide.

  • The concept of tranche has been clarified, with specific guidance on the risk of overlapping tranches.

  • The lesson on benefits management has practical advice on techniques and categorization, a new cycle of activities with better vocabulary integration with the other lessons.

  • Quality management includes a significant new section on assurance.

  • The lesson on risk and issue management focuses on how the management of risk guidance can be applied specifically to the programming environment, and

  • The section of an issue management has significantly improved.

Let us discuss the prerequisites for applying for the certification in the next section.

Requirements for MSP Foundation and Practitioner

There are no prerequisites for the foundation examination:

  • Candidates must pass the foundation level before completing the Practitioner examination.

  • They should also pass in practitioner level before completing the advanced practitioner examination.

Experience in program management or at least project management will help understand the concepts easier.

In the next section, we will discuss the MSP® exam pattern with respect to the three levels of certification.

MSP Foundation and Practitioner Examination

There are three levels of examinations in APMG. They are as follows:

Foundation exam

The aim of the foundation exam is to confirm that the candidates have has sufficient knowledge and understanding of the MSP® guidance in order to interact effectively with those involved in the management of a program.

Practitioner exam

The aim of the practitioner exam is to confirm that the candidates have has sufficient knowledge and understanding of the MSP® guidance to act as an informed member of a program management team.

Advanced practitioner exam

The aim of advanced practitioner exam is to confirm if the candidate you could lead a program of transformational change.

In the next section, we will look into the pattern of the three levels of examination.

MSP Foundation and Practitioner Exam Pattern

Let us look into the format of each level of exam.

Foundation Exam

  • Foundation exam comprises of 75 multiple choice questions with 75 questions per paper with 1 mark available per question.

  • Each question will have 4 options with 1 being correct.

  • 5 questions will be for trial and not counted in scores.

  • 35 marks are required to pass (out of 70 marks available) which is 50 percent of the total.

  • The duration of the exam is of 60 minutes and will be a closed book exam. No support material or guide will be allowed.

Practitioner Exam

  • Practitioner exam again also has objective type questions with 8 questions per paper based on a small case study provided during the exam.

  • Each of the 8 questions will have subparts with a total of 80 marks to be scored.

  • Each question might have more than one correct option. Therefore, all the correct options are to be selected to score marks.

  • 40 marks are required to pass (out of 80 available marks) which is 50%.

  • The duration of the exam is of two-and-a-half hours and is an open-book exam, which that means that only the MSP® Guide is allowed.

Advanced Practitioner Exam

  • Advanced practitioner exam is essay based on up to 3 questions per paper.

  • Each question will have subparts with a total of 75 marks available to score.

  • The exam is based on MSP® Care case study provided before the exam and additional information provided during the exam.

  • Out of 75, a total of 38 marks are required to pass, which is 50%. The duration of the exam is of three hours and is an open-book exam. This means that the MSP® manual is allowed.

  • Other material in the form of tutorial notes, examples, copies of presentations, etc. can be used during this examination but no electronic aids such as laptops may be used.

In the next section, we will focus on what is covered in this tutorial.

About the MSP® Foundation and Practitioner Tutorial

This tutorial has 3 parts:

Part 1

Part 1 will include introduction and program management principles.

Part 2

Part 2 explains the governance themes.

The nine governance themes include:

  • Program organization,

  • Vision,

  • Leadership and stakeholder engagement,

  • Benefits management,

  • Blueprint design and delivery,

  • Planning and control,

  • The business case,

  • Risk and issue management, and

  • Quality and assurance management.

We will study the importance of these themes in MSP® framework.

Part 3

Part 3 explains the transformational flow.

The third part will cover the overview of transformational flow and identify the responsibilities for each activity in the program.

The different processes in transformational flow are:

  • Identifying a program,

  • Defining a program,

  • Managing the tranches,

  • Delivering the capability,

  • Realising the benefits and

  • Closing a program.

Materials Provided

The supporting materials provided are as follows:

  • There are 140 quizzes in the MSP® Foundation course offered by Simplilearn.

  • Two sets of sample test papers are also provided to make help the candidates well prepared for the MSP® Foundation, Practitioner and Advanced Practitioner exams respectively.

  • MSP® Manual will be provided to all the candidates appearing for any of the MSP® exams.

In the next section, we will focus on the importance of practice questions provided by Simplilearn.

Advanced Practitioner Exam (MSP®)

In the following sections, we will discuss the MSP® advanced practitioner course which will be a separate 2-day tutorial.

MSP Advanced Practitioner

As mentioned earlier, for advanced practitioner tutorial, only those candidates who have proven their aptitude for MSP® by clearing the practitioner level will be allowed. The candidates will be provided access to the Simplilearn online tutorial material and MSP® Care case study, prior to the class for further discussions.

The training will be scheduled for 2 days and will include a review of MSP® principles, themes and transformational flows in- depth. This will be followed up by helping the candidates analyze the tailoring options, focus on benefits and help them justify their actions concisely, in terms of MSP®.

We will continue to focus on MSP® advanced practitioner tutorial in the next section.

MSP® Advanced Practitioner (contd.)

MSP Care case study and sample papers are also provided to give an in-depth understanding of MSP®. The training will help candidates discuss their real-life experiences in terms of MSP®.

Candidates will be familiarised with the exam process and tips will be provided. By the end of the second day, candidates will be ready to appear for the advanced practitioner exam!

MSP® Features

Managing successful programs or MSP® is a best practice guide, which is part of AXELOS best management practices portfolio. The guide comprises a set of principles and processes to be used when managing a program to ensure that the program maximizes its chance of success.

MSP® basically represents proven program management best practices in the successful delivery of transformational changes. The best practices in MSP® are drawn from both public and private sector programs.

In the next section, we will explain the MSP® framework.

MSP® Framework

The pictorial representation of MSP® Framework shown, constitutes-

  • Program management principles or MSP® principles

  • Governance themes and

  • Transformational flow

We can read these from the outermost circle to the innermost circle.

MSP® Principles

MSP® principles are derived from the lessons learned in different kinds of programs across the public and private sector. They represent the factors whose presence will increase the chances of success of a program.

MSP® Governance Themes

MSP® governance themes allow organizations to define, measure and control the program management approach. Going forward, in the next few lessons, we will discuss all of these themes in detail.

MSP® Transformational Flow

MSP® transformational flow guides us through the lifecycle of a program, from its inception to the delivery of capability and final closure.

In the next section, we will understand the concept of the program.

Program-Introduction

MSP® defines a program as-

“A temporary and flexible organization structure created to coordinate, direct and oversee the implementation of a set of related projects and activities in order to deliver the outcomes and benefits related to organization's strategic objectives”.

This implies that for every program, we should have a clear idea of the outcome that needs to be delivered. We have to ensure that the outcome is delivered in a timely manner with planned resources and most importantly, the outcomes and benefits should remain aligned with organization’s objectives.

In the next section, we will discuss the differences between project and program.

Differences between Program and Project

Let us look at some of the differences between Program and Project-

Difference 1: Timeline

Definition of a program is very similar to that of a project. The main difference is that the project’s timeline is shorter, while a program can run for many years and even decades.

For example, city reconstruction can be referred to as a program. In this program, we will have smaller projects like laying roads, building houses, creating parts of the city, transport infrastructure, etc.

This example makes it clear that a program constitutes of smaller projects, where all the projects are aligned to deliver one outcome, which in this example is “a new city”.

Difference 2: Short-Term vs Long-Term Gain Utilization

The other difference that can be derived from the above-mentioned example is the fact that the projects will deliver an output that will be immediately useful. When roads are laid, it will serve its purpose for easier transportation.

On the other hand, outcomes and benefits of the program may take a longer time to be delivered. The above program may have been started with an aim of reducing pressure on a nearby city resource or increasing the quality of life of residents there.

When a new law or a change in the process is initiated, it usually takes some time for the results to show up. These things will take time to be effectively measured after completion of the program.

Difference 3: Scope

The third difference between the two is that the program focuses more on the direction of strategy and how best to deliver it because the main aim of a program is to deliver a transformational change.

The scope of a project is smaller when compared to that of a program. A project’s focus remains on management and coordination within the project team.

Thus, although program delivers multiple individual projects under one umbrella, its purpose is to provide something more tangible and effective than the results of individual projects. The only condition is that the projects should be strategically aligned.

In the next section, we will understand what is program management.

Program Management

Program management definition is given by MSP® as -

“An action of carrying out the coordinated organization, direction, and implementation of a dossier of projects and transformation activities to achieve outcomes and realization of benefits of strategic importance to business”.

Program management has to align with three critical organizational elements:

  • Corporate strategy,

  • The delivery mechanism for change, and

  • Business as usual.

Let us discuss these elements in detail, starting with corporate strategy.

Corporate Strategy

In any organization, it is the strategy that drives the inception of a program. Each program will have clear goals set by the organization in line with its future plans. We can see it from the example of the city that we used earlier.

The organizational strategy will define the program. It can be a niche city for rich people with all the amenities or it can be a government program to construct a clean city for everyone. The next point is the delivery mechanism for change.

Delivery Mechanism for change

How exactly are we planning to deliver the change decided by the corporate strategy? This leads to creating a new capability and then putting it to use. For example, while planning a city, we have to ensure that things are done in the right order.

First, we have to lay the roads, then plan for transportation, then build houses and other amenities and in the end, we can build parks. This can only be done by proper coordination and by ensuring that each project knows its role in the program.

Further, we also have to plan how the population will move in and adjust to the new locality. We will need to plan some support functions for that phase as well.

Additionally, we need to make sure that all the outputs delivered by the program are integrated into business operations. The next point is business as usual.

Business as usual

Business, as usual, cannot stop for a program. There is no organization that will stop its work to implement the changes. Changes and day-to-day work must go simultaneously.

For example,

When the projects for the city construction are in progress, it should not impact other tasks of nearby locality or become a nuisance to nearby residents. Program management often involves changes in the way people work.

It may lead to cultural changes and might affect the operating style and overall character of the organization. When a change is associated with people and the way they work, we must ensure that the aspects like insecurity, comfort level with new processes, confusion about reasons for the change, etc. are recognized.

We also need to ensure that people affected by these factors are given sufficient assistance and help so that they can adjust to the new methods. For example, it is better to inform people about what they would gain or lose, if they accept or reject the new change.

Program management also provides a framework which can decide the priorities of the project and help resolve conflicts like resources. Program management maintains performance levels by breaking the program into manageable chunks and tranches.

The whole program cannot be delivered in one go.

It needs to be divided into tranches judiciously so that it is easier to manage the program as well as to ensure that higher priority outcomes are delivered faster. Division needs to be carefully done so as to minimize the occurrences of projects running across tranches.

In the next section, we will look into program management environment.

Program Management Environment

Program management environment is a complex structure. Organisation’s corporate strategies and policies can be influenced and shaped by both internal and external environment.

For example, a new rule from the government may force the organization to restructure the way they work. Programs are then defined, scoped and prioritized to implement and deliver the required outcomes.

Programs will initiate, monitor and align the constituting projects and related activities. These projects and activities will deliver and implement required outputs into operations.

This process continues until all benefits like new or transformed operations, services and capability are achieved. Other policy changes may take place during the program.

Therefore, the program has to be robust and flexible to adjust and remain aligned with organizational strategy, at all times.

Summary

Let us summarize what we have learned in this MSP introduction tutorial:

  • Managing Successful Programmes gives us a framework to successfully deliver transformational changes.

  • The framework includes transformational flow, governance themes, and principles.

  • A project’s timeline is shorter, while a program can run for many years and decades.

  • Program management is the act of carrying out the coordinated organization, direction, and implementation of a dossier of projects and transformation activities to achieve outcomes and realization of benefits of strategic importance to a business.

  • Program management environment is a complex structure and takes into account all influencing factors.

Topics Covered

There are 19 lessons covered in the MSP tutorial. The lesson names and their descriptions are listed below.

Lesson No.

Chapter Name

You will learn to-

1.

Introduction to MSP Tutorial

  • Explain MSP® principles.

  • Describe MSP® governance themes.

  • Discuss the transformational flow of MSP® and

  • Explain the areas of focus of different roles involved in managing successful programs.

  • Explain the MSP® framework

  • Differentiate between a program and a project

  • Explain program management

  • Describe program management environment

2.

Using MSP

  • Explain the types of program

  • Describe information baselines

  • Identify the circumstances for using MSP®

  • Discuss the program impact matrix

3.

Program Management Principles

  • Identify the constituents of the MSP® framework

  • Explain the 7 principles of program management.

4.

Governance Themes and Transformational Flows

  • Explain the themes of governance.

  • Differentiate between strategies and plans.

  • Explain integration of programme management in an organization-controlled framework.

  • Describe the interaction between governance themes and transformation flows.

  • Discuss various roles and areas of focus in programme management.

5.

Transformational Flow overview

  • Describe the program life cycle.

  • Explain the course of governance in tranches.

  • Describe how to monitor and when to close the program.

  • List the documents and information baselines maintained during the program lifecycle.

6.

Program Organisation

  • Explain the roles, responsibilities, and attributes of the Sponsoring Group, the Senior Responsible Owner and the Program Board.

  • Describe the responsibilities and attributes of the Program Board members.

  • Explain program assurance.

  • Explain the integration of program and project structures.

  • Describe program organization within the transformational flow.

  • Identify the areas of focus of various roles.

7.

Vision and Transformational Flow

  • Describe the development of vision statement in transformational flow

  • Discuss the roles and their areas of focus in developing and achieving the vision

8.

MSP Overview of Leadership and Stakeholder Engagement

  • Describe leadership and stakeholder engagement

  • Identify the differences between leadership and management

  • Explain business change management.

  • Explain the different ways to measure stakeholder engagement effectiveness

  • Explain the relationship between leadership and stakeholder engagement and transformational flow

  • Describe the roles of the Senior Responsible Owner, Program Manager, Business Change Manager and Program Office

9.

Benefits Management and Categorisation

  • Discuss benefits management

  • Differentiate between benefits and dis-benefits

  • Identify the various benefits management interfaces

  • Identify the steps involved in the benefits management cycle.

  • Discuss the benefits map.

  • Explain the benefits management strategy.

  • Explain the relationship between transformational flow and benefits management

  • Describe the roles of the Senior Responsible Owner, Program Manager, Business Change Manager and Program Office.

10.

Blueprint Design and Delivery

  • Define blueprint.

  • Explain the POTI model.

  • Describe the designing of a blueprint delivery and its sub-activities

  • Explain optimizing the approach Identify the various options if emerging business case is not viable.

  • Describe tranches.

  • Discuss the criteria for choosing an existing project.

  • Explain the relationship between transformational flow and blueprint design and delivery.

  • Describe the roles and their areas of focus in blueprint design and delivery.

11.

Planning and Control

  • Describe planning and control

  • Discuss the program plan

  • Explain the project dossier

  • Identify the ways to delineate projects under workstreams

  • Explain scheduling

  • Describe monitoring and control strategy

  • Discuss the main areas that the integration of program and project information covers.

  • Explain the relationship between planning and control and transformational flow

  • Describe the roles of the Senior Responsible Owner, Program Manager, Business Change Manager and Program Office

12.

Business case

  • Discuss business case

  • Identify the contents of a business case

  • Describe the types of program costs

  • Identify the steps involved in the business case review

  • Explain the relationship between transformational flow and business case

  • Describe the roles of the Senior Responsible Owner, Program Manager, Business Change Manager and Program Office associated with the business case.

13.

Risk and Issue Management

  • Define risk and issue

  • List the sources of risk identification

  • Explain the risk management perspectives

  • Describe the steps involved in risk management framework

  • Describe the various arrangements used in managing risks in a program

  • Identify the steps involved in the issue management framework

  • Discuss threat and opportunity responses

  • Explain configuration management

  • Explain the relationship between transformational flow and risk and issue management

  • Describe the roles of the Senior Responsible Owner, Program Manager, Business Change Manager and Program Office in risk and issue management

  • Identify the documents used in the risk and issue management process

14.

Quality and Assurance Management

  • Discuss quality and assurance management

  • Describe the ways to test quality and program management principles

  • Explain the scope of program quality

  • Describe the five assurance management principles

  • Explain the assurance management techniques

  • Discuss health checks

  • Discuss the quality and assurance strategy

  • Explain the quality and assurance plan

  • Explain the relationship between quality and assurance management and transformational flow

  • Describe the roles and their areas of focus in quality and assurance management

  • List the information available in the documents used in quality and assurance management

15.

Identifying a Program

  • Describe the inputs, principle controls, key roles and the outcomes of the process, ‘identifying a program’

  • Explain the steps involved in the same process

  • Identify the roles and responsibilities in the ‘identifying a program’ process

  • Discuss the information available in the documents used in the same process

16.

Defining a Program

  • Describe the inputs, principle controls, key roles and outputs of the process, ‘defining a programme’

  • Explain the first four steps involved in the same process

  • Explain steps 5 to 12 in the process, ‘defining a programme’

  • Explain steps 13 to 17 in the process, ‘defining a programme’

17.

Managing the Tranches

  • Describe the inputs, principle controls, key roles and outputs of the process ‘managing the tranches’

  • Explain the first seven steps involved in ‘managing the tranches’

  • Explain steps 8 to 13 of ‘managing the tranches’

  • Describe the responsibilities of various roles in ‘managing the tranches’

18.

Delivering the Capability

  • Describe the inputs, principle controls, key roles and the outputs of the process, ‘delivering the capability’

  • Explain the steps involved in the same process

  • Describe the responsibilities of various roles involved in ‘delivering the capability’

19.

Realizing the Benefits

  • Describe the inputs, principle controls, key roles and outputs of the process, ‘realising the benefits’

  • Explain the steps involved in ‘manage pre-transition’

  • Explain the steps involved in ‘manage transition’

  • Describe the steps involved in ‘manage post-transition’

  • Explain the responsibilities of various roles in the process, ‘realising the benefits’

  • Describe the steps involved in ‘manage post-transition’

  • Explain the responsibilities of various roles in the process, ‘realising the benefits’

20.

Closing a Program

  • Describe the inputs, principle controls, key roles and the outputs of the ‘closing a programme’ process

  • Discuss the checkpoints to verify programme closure

  • Explain the reasons for closing a programme

  • Explain the steps involved in the process, ‘closing a programme’

  • Describe the responsibilities of various roles in this process

Conclusion

With this, we conclude the Introduction to MSP® tutorial. The next chapter will focus on the types of programs and the circumstances for Using MSP®.

  • Disclaimer
  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

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