Tag Archives: MSP®

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 quicky
  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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Seven Deadly Sins: Programme Management

Let’s face it, we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t make mistakes, and we have seen many in our  time.

In the early stages of maturity, there are many common errors that people make when delivering programmes, so we thought we would jot a few down for you.

  1. Thinking like a project: if you fill a programme with project people, guess what happens, they behave like project people and it gets run like a project. Programme management professionals have a different skill set, don’t mistake qualifications for skills.
  2. Forgetting the vision: at the start it is all about the vision. Once it starts rolling and people get busy it is easy to forget why the programme exists, it loses direction, scope drifts and before you know it, all people are talking about is what the projects are doing and not what the programme is doing.
  3. Forgetting there is a lifecycle: programmes have a start and an end, if your programme doesn’t have an end then it is probably a portfolio. They go through very distinct stages of evolution. In the programmes that fail or lose direction, it is because these stages (tranches) are indistinct and the whole delivery becomes a blur.
  4. Not having a blueprint: this one is simple, if you don’t have a blueprint to describe the end game for the programme, you will not know where you are going. This is a fatal error for most programmes, not thinking enough about the outcomes which means there will be no benefits.
  5. Leaving change till later: programmes deliver change, whether it’s major infrastructure build or internal business transformation, failing to plan and cost the change from the outset will lead to failure in the future. Benefits come from change, so without change there will be no benefits.
  6. Looking in the wrong places for risks: programme risks are not pumped up project risks. The risks that kill programmes rarely come from projects, they are normally linked to strategic changes of direction, underestimation of the cost and impact of change to the environment they are impacting, business or social.
  7. Getting the governance wrong: you may not be in a position to affect this, but the people on a programme board should have very clear terms of reference and authority. Programme boards are full of important people with big egos not making the important decisions.

Now you can do a quick health check on your own programme and judge whether it is likely to succeed.

If you need any more help, our services may be able to help. Why not check out our brochure to see the services we offer, or visit our website at www.aspireeurope.com

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12 October, 2017 · 13:59

MSP® Business Case in a Nutshell

Rod Sowden the Aspire Europe Managing Director (and lead author of the current versions of MSP® and P3M3®) talks about the Business Case chapter of the MSP manual.

Hope you enjoy!

Visit and Subscribe to our NEW YouTube Channel 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 Aspire Academy, Knowledge Nugget, Learning, Programme Management, Vodcast/Video

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