Category Archives: MSP®

The great programme management debate – MSP v PMI

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In the world, there are two main programme management frameworks, the MSP® framework which we have been so heavily involved in, and the PMI Programme Management framework from the US based community.

We were commissioned to write a paper comparing the two approaches and we thought this article would be an interesting reference point if you are looking to develop programme management understanding.

The overwhelming conclusion of this article is that organisations delivering programmes need to exploit the strengths of both approaches and once understood, they are surprisingly compatible and build on the strengths and weaknesses of each other rather than proposing opposing approaches.

The article has been written by Rod Sowden, lead author for MSP® 2007 and 2011.

MSP® is a [registered] trade mark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved

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Filed under Aspire Academy, Aspire Accelerate, MSP®, Programme and Project framework, Programme Management

Programmes without blueprints are like ships without keels

Clipper Around The World Race, Hawaii start, April 5th 2008Is your programme exhibiting any of these characteristics

  1. Project issues dominate the programme board
  2. Unidentified risks start to materialise a bit too quickly
  3. Benefits are rarely discussed
  4. The BCM lacks authority or purpose
  5. Many uncontrolled or unclear dependencies between projects and other initiatives start to manifest themselves
  6. Decision making is ad-hoc, reactionary or just slow
  7. Stakeholder resistance begins to increase and programme loses support
  8. Programmes either lack momentum or feel like a roller coaster

If that is the case, your programme probably does not have a blueprint, and is probably out of control.

In this article, we liken a programme a yacht and explain how it is not what you see on the surface that is providing the control, it is what happens below the waterline that is important.

If your programme is exhibiting any of these characteristics then this article is for you.

 

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Filed under Aspire Academy, Aspire Accelerate, MSP®, Programme Management

Ever wondered how you become a thought leading company?

Anyone can claim to be at the leading edge of the industry or a thought leader, but not many people back themselves and go into print as authors, even fewer get the backing of one of the world’s leading publishing companies such as The TSO.

Why not check out some of the books that we have written.

Managing Successful Programmes 2011

The lead author was Aspire Europe Managing Director, Rod Sowden and was supported by Geof Leigh, Aspire Assess Director. Together they wrote both the 2007 and 2011 versions of the manual for the OGC and Axelos and helped to establish MSP® as the de facto standard for programme management around the world.

MSP® Survival Guide for Senior Responsible Owners

This was jointly written by Rod Sowden and Nick Carter (one of our lead trainers) who had a significant track record as an SRO himself. It addresses the needs of new SROs who come into an intimidating environment and are expected to take full accountability for what is going on. The book is designed to help them keep their ship steady and navigate it safely to an acceptable destination.

MSP Survival Guide for Business Change Managers

This was the first in the Survival Guide series and the first of the publications intended to enhance the MSP® body of knowledge by focusing on the roles, tasks and techniques of each of the roles. The author was Rod Sowden with support from a number of the Aspire Europe team. The book was published in 2015 and filled in many of the gaps that link MSP® to business change and business architecture environments.

MSP Survival Guide for Programme Managers

This book was written jointly by Rod Sowden and Geof Leigh with support from the internal team. Published in 2016, the book developed a number of the concepts around MSP® and rewrote them for the benefits of programme managers new to MSP® and included large amounts of new materials to help set up programme governance and programme offices.

The Practical Guide to Project Planning

This book was written by Rod Sowden with the help of Tom Ford. It started life as a set of guidance for one of the Aspire Europe customers, developed into a course and finally became a book. It came as a result of P3M3 assessments and spotting a systemic problem with planning  in most organisations.  It is a global epidemic, so we wrote the book to help pull all the threads and concepts together into one practical guide which pulls the best out of many bodies of knowledge from around the world.

Portfolio, Programme and Project Management Maturity Model (P3M3®)

This is the product which changed the industry. From Version 1, the academic framework developed in 2005 to becoming a globally recognised and internationally adopted standard for measuring performance by 2015. Version 2 in 2008 was developed by Rod Sowden as the lead author, and the update released in 2015 had joint lead authorship with Andy Murray (Outperform and PRINCE2® lead author). In addition, Geof Leigh developed large sections of the model, Sam Jenkins was heavily involved in reviewing and testing the new model, Claire Rookes was the project manager and most members of the team were absorbed in some aspect of review and development.

If you can find an organisation that has contributed more to the industry, we are looking forward to finding out who they are.

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MSP®,P3M3® and PRINCE2® are [registered] trade marks of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Aspire Academy, MSP®, P3M3®

Stakeholder Engagement and Communications [podcast]

“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others” – Anthony Robbins

So many projects and programmes snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by failing to communicate effectively or misjudging the mood of the stakeholder base.

In this podcast Rod Sowden talks about the approach to Stakeholder Management defined  in Managing Successful Programmes and gives an overview of the key areas to focus on and how the stakeholder management can be deployed effectively.

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Filed under Aspire Academy, MSP®, Stakeholder Management, Training

Our books – Practical guides to getting things done – 10% off!

Anyone can claim to be at the leading edge of the industry or a thought leader, but how many people put themselves ‘out there’ and go into print as authors securing the backing of one the world’s leading publishing companies like TSO?

As evidence of our unique position, we have listed below where we have contributed to the development of the programme and project management profession through leading the development and authorship of the following publications. For all of the below publications, we are able to offer a 10% discount (off the listed price) if bought through us. Contact us to find out more

MSP® is a [registered] trade mark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Aspire Academy, Learning, MSP®, Planning, Programme Management, Project Management

A better way of showing Programme Lifecycles [video]

In this video, Rod Sowden the Aspire Europe Managing Director talks about Programme Lifecycles.

Hope you enjoy!

Visit and Subscribe to our YouTube Channel here

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Filed under Aspire Academy, Knowledge Nugget, Learning, MSP®, Vodcast/Video

Lessons learned – new thinking

In general, lessons learned are rarely learned. butterfliesResearch and general knowledge about what causes programme and project failure has abounded for years, yet the same things keep happening, so what can we do to help.

As an example of this problem, for the last 20 years in the UK, the world of best practice (originated by the OGC) illustrates the issue. We wrote Managing Successful Programmes (MSP®), and it was written on the assumption that audiences already had experience of programme management, understood programme management and wanted to improve.  The reality is that people read the book as part of a course and never look at it again.

The work of P3M3® has shown that although the knowledge has been absorbed temporarily for the examination, it is not sufficiently understood to enable deployment in the real world as the courses are attended by inexperienced individuals unable or unauthorised to deploy the knowledge they have in the real world. For more on this, click here

MSP® and P3M3® are [registered] trade marks of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Articles, Knowledge Nugget, Learning, MSP®, News