Managing Successful Programmes (MSP): the cream on the career “trifle”
Blog posted by: James Smith, Supply Chain Manager (Transformation), 30 August 2022.
What are the biggest challenges for people leading transformational change in organizations today?
First, it’s vital to understand the culture of the organization that needs or wants to undergo change. Change, effectively, is like breaking eggs to make an omelette. While doing radical things may be necessary, leaders need to be able to acclimatize to the culture and communicate with people in the right way.
This requires knowledge of who the stakeholders are and, especially in very large organizations, identifying the people who will be important to an effective change process but who might not be so visible.
In this complex context of change, recognised, industry best practices such as PRINCE2 and Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) are useful ways to create a common language, plus a starting point and finishing point for a change initiative.
MSP: meeting the demands of modern organisational change
Speaking from my own experience of having certified in PRINCE2 for project management, studying MSP is very much the next step up.
Among the guidance that MSP offers, I think the vision statement is a really good place to start, setting the tone for the rest of a programme.
Having a short, punchy statement which the programme board can adopt is very useful and – as long as the board meets regularly and is engaged with the programme manager – it underpins progress within the programme and supports decision making.
For example, creating a vision statement for a company importing electric scooters ensured there was continual clarity and focus on what the company was ultimately aiming to achieve: electrifying transport in urban areas.
Another beneficial aspect of MSP’s approach is working in tranches. This helps to remove time slippage in programmes, as the programme manager can break down the activity into smaller chunks and focus genuinely on the stakeholders for each tranche.
In MSP 5th edition – the latest version of the guidance – the target operating model provides the outcome of a programme. This finishing point helps keep everyone to timelines and improves the pace of the work. It is also critical to people’s understanding of why the organization has to change and, consequently, why they also need to adapt – for example through training – to flourish in the future state of the company.
The career value of MSP
If I think of my entire career and training like a trifle, a best practice certification such as MSP is the cream on top.
Similar to saying that you are certified in Lean Six Sigma, people understand the level of competence you’ve achieve when you’re MSP qualified. On a practical level, it takes your ability to communication with different stakeholders and to understand a variety of perspectives to a whole different level.
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