Organisations are in the grip of change, increasing pressure from competitive market places and challenges to the public sector are continuing to drive the demand for greater efficiency. In some organisations where all the efficiencies have been squeezed out, the need is for transformational change and doing things in a radically different way is dominating.
Such levels of change can bring the potential for great success from these opportunities, but for many it can bring chaos and increase inefficiency as service delivery is distracted by the adoption of unaligned change and reactive management.
Managing Successful Programmes is basically a framework for delivering change, for anyone that reads the book; they will quickly spot the significant differences from project management. The focus is on engaging and managing the environment within which it operates and reacting to opportunities and challenges rather than insulating itself, resisting change and focusing on internal delivery.
There are a numerous business benefits from adopting MSP, we use the word “adopting” intentionally, because within most organisations elements of the MSP framework already exist, so it isn’t implemented as such, it helps to make sense of what is there and helps to identify gaps and obstacles that will need to be addressed.
For those that are considering adopting the MSP framework, here are the five main benefits that you will enjoy:
- Improved and coherent governance structure that addresses the issues of linking business strategy, organisational change and project delivery. By establishing clear sets of accountabilities and responsibilities that cover not only the projects and the control structure for the programme manager, but also ensuring that there is clear ownership and accountability for delivering change through the role of Business Change Managers. Accountability for the whole programme is embedded in a single role, the Senior Responsible Owner (SRO). This structure enables effective hierarchical control of direction, by the executive whilst ensuring business requirements are paramount during design and delivery with the pace of change remaining under strategic control.
- Have the agility to react to change because a critical requirement for a programme is to have clarity of the “As Is” state of the organisation and the intended “To Be” state that will be delivered. By having this clarity it enables rapid impact assessments of changing circumstances and re-alignment to the new needs of the organisation. Where there are a number of programmes running, the impact assessments can be taken across the portfolio equally as effectively. Making organisations agile increases their competitive edge during turbulent times like we have now, which contributes to the increasing take up of MSP™.
- Improved strategic alignment and clarity of direction is a fundamental requirement of any programme approach. Within an MSP™ programme this alignment is achieved through two core concepts: the Blueprint, which is a detailed description of what the programme will leave behind once completed, and the detailed benefit profiles explaining how they will be achieved, by whom, and how they will be measured. Without the Blueprint to focus the projects on their outputs and the benefit profiles to describe how their outputs will be leveraged, programmes find it very difficult to set priorities and can quickly lose direction and focus. A common problem as many of you reading this will be aware.
- Focus on delivering benefits from effective business change is a critical advantage once MSP™ has been adopted. The focus of programmes moves from co-ordinating project delivery to preparing for, delivering, and establishing change which enables sustainable benefits to be delivered. A characteristic of organisations with embedded programme management is that they do fewer projects but achieve more benefits because their efforts are focused on doing the important things.
- A foundation for improving organisation performance from the proven track record of the Managing Successful Programmes framework worldwide. There is an OGC accredited industry providing qualifications, trainers, consultancies and tools to support organisations adopting and developing their capabilities. The most important tool for this, from an MSP™ perspective is P3M3™, which provides a maturity model which can be used by organisations to target their investment to maximise short and long term benefits from adoption.
In conclusion, as the old saying goes, “Nobody ever got sacked for choosing IBM” and increasingly the same saying applies to the selection of OGC Best Practice frameworks, of which MSP™ is a key element. Its flexible approach with a focus on linking strategy to change through effective project delivery provides a framework that enables organisations to effectively drive change.