A programme is made up of a specific set of projects identified by an organisation that together will deliver some defined objective, or set of objectives, for the organisation. The objectives, or goals, of the programme are typically at a strategic level so that the organisation can achieve benefits and improvements in its business operation.
Programme Management and Project Management
A programme is made up of a specific set of related projects identified by an organisation that together will deliver some defined objective, or set of objectives, for the organisation.
The objectives, or goals, of the programme are typically at a strategic level so that the organisation can achieve benefits and improvements in its business operation.
There is a close link between Programme Management and project management because the programme is made up of projects and is only successful if the projects within it succeed. The concept of a programme is that it should deliver more than the ‘sum of its parts’.
In other words, without Programme Management, the projects would probably still be able to deliver their particular outcomes but these would not be co-ordinated or integrated into the achievement of a strategic business goal.
AXELOS Ltd owns the best practice guide on Programme Management called Managing Successful Programmes.
The Principles in MSP 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 benefits 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 MSP 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 achieve
MSP Exam Structure
There are currently 3 qualifications available for MSP:
The MSP Foundation exam consists of 75 multiple choice questions to be answered in 60 minutes. The pass mark is 50%. This is a closed-book examination.
The MSP Practitioner Exam is an objective marking style paper:
- 8 questions
- Total of 80 marks
- 2.5 hours duration
- Candidates need to achieve a mark of 50% to pass the paper
- Open book exam – may only take the MSP Guide into the exam room for reference during the exam
- A pre-requisite for this exam is a score of 60% at Foundation level for candidates that have taken the Foundation exam on or after 1 March 2008. Candidates that have taken their Foundation exam prior to 1 March 2008 are exempt from this rule.
MSP Advanced Practitioner
The Advanced Practitioner examination is an essay based, open book paper. The paper consists of up to 3 questions with a total of 75 marks available to be completed within 3 hours. Candidates need to achieve a mark of 38+ to pass the paper.
MSP Practitioner/ Advanced Practitioner Re-Registration
All MSP Practitioners and/or Advanced Practitioners should be re-registered within 3-5 years of their original certification. Find out more about the MSP Practitioner Re-Registration exam (opens in new window).
Background to MSP Qualifications/ Eligibility
Candidates have to pass the Foundation exam (with a pass at 60% or more if taken on or after 1st March 2008) before attempting the Practitioner exam. Once candidates have passed the Foundation exam they may take their Practitioner examination. If a candidate wishes to sit the Advanced Practitioner examination before they have their results from the Practitioner exam, they may do so. However, MSP candidates who pass the Advanced Practitioner exam yet fail the Practitioner exam, must re-sit the Practitioner exam within 24 months to validate their Registered Advanced Practitioner Status.
If the candidate does not complete within the 24 months, the candidate will be required to re-sit the Advanced Practitioner exam as well. 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, Practitioner and Advanced Practitioner Examination on the same day, and passes all three, they will receive an “Advanced Practitioner Examination” certificate, but not any other certificate.