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The Seven Key MSP Principles

Managing Successful Programme (MSP) is a framework that provides a set of principles for effectively managing and delivering a Programme. The framework comprises MSP Principles intended to guide organisations to achieve their strategic objectives, deliver benefits, and navigate through the complexities of Programme Management.   

Moreover, each principle plays a crucial role in ensuring Programme success and driving positive outcomes. MSP Principles especially enable organisations to effectively manage Programmes, mitigate risks & maximise benefits through a systematic approach across industries.  
Table of Contents

1) Overview of MSP Principles

2) List of the 7 Key MSP Principles 

    a) Principle 1: Remain aligned with corporate strategy 

    b) Principle 2: Learning from experience 

    c) Principle 3: Designing and delivering coherent capability 

    d) Principle 4: Adding value 

    e) Principle 5: Focusing on benefits and threats 

3) Conclusion 

Overview of MSP Principles

The MSP framework is based on Seven Key Principles that guide organisations in managing successful projects as part of the MSP Programme. These principles provide a structured and effective approach to Programme Management, ensuring that transformational change is delivered and benefits are realised.  
Familiarise yourself with the MSP framework by signing up for the MSP 5th Edition Practitioner Course today! 

List of the 7 Key MSP Principles

Here is the list of the seven MSP Principles discussed in detail as follows:

List of 7 MSP Principles
Principle 1: Remaining aligned with corporate strategy

One of the fundamental principles of managing a successful Programme is to remain aligned with the corporate strategy. This principle recognises that Programmes are undertaken to achieve specific strategic goals and objectives of an organisation. By ensuring alignment between the Programme and the corporate strategy, organisations can maximise the value and benefits they derive from their Programme. 
To remain aligned with the corporate strategy, Programme Managers need to have a clear understanding of the strategic objectives and priorities of the organisation. They must continuously review and assess how the Programme's objectives and activities contribute to the overall strategic goals. This involves regular communication and collaboration with key stakeholders, including senior management. This is to ensure that the Programme remains on track and in line with the organisation's strategic direction. 
When a Programme remains aligned with the corporate strategy, it enhances the organisation's ability to respond effectively to changes in the business environment. It allows for the identification and prioritisation of projects and initiatives that are most closely aligned with the strategic objectives. By focusing resources and efforts on these strategic initiatives, organisations can optimise their performance and drive sustainable growth. 

Principle 2: Learning from experience

Learning from experience is a vital principle in managing a successful Programme. It recognises the importance of capturing knowledge, learnt lessons, and best practices throughout the Programme lifecycle. By reflecting on past experiences, organisations can avoid repeating mistakes, enhance their capabilities, and improve future Programme outcomes. 

To effectively learn from experience, Programme Managers should establish mechanisms to capture and document lessons learnt. This includes conducting thorough reviews at key milestones, documenting successes and challenges, and identifying areas for improvement. By systematically collecting and sharing this knowledge, organisations can create a repository of valuable insights that can inform future decision-making. 
Learning from experience also involves promoting a culture of continuous development and improvement within the organisation. This can be achieved through activities such as post-implementation reviews, knowledge-sharing sessions, and mentorship Programmes. By encouraging open communication and collaboration, organisations can harness the collective wisdom of their teams and foster a culture of innovation and growth. 

Principle 3: Designing and delivering a coherent capability

Designing and delivering a coherent capability is a crucial principle in managing a successful Programme. It emphasises the importance of aligning and integrating all Programme components to create a unified and effective capability that can deliver the desired outcomes. 
To design and deliver a coherent capability, Programme Managers need to consider the interdependencies between various Programme elements, such as projects, resources, processes, and technologies. They must ensure that these elements work together seamlessly to achieve the Programme's objectives. This involves developing a clear Programme architecture, defining the required capabilities, and establishing effective governance structures. 
A coherent capability is one that is aligned with the strategic objectives of the organisation, supported by the necessary resources, and capable of delivering the intended benefits. It requires careful planning, coordination, and collaboration across different stakeholders and teams involved in the Programme. 

Principle 4: Adding value 

Adding value is the fundamental principle of MSP. It emphasises the importance of delivering outcomes and benefits that exceed the initial investment. This principle involves continuously assessing and reassessing the value proposition of the Programme and identifying opportunities to optimise benefits. By adding value, the Programme can demonstrate its impact and contribute significantly to the organisation's success. 
Adding value also requires a strong focus on stakeholder management. Programme Managers can create value aligned with stakeholder requirements and preferences by actively involving them in decision-making processes. This ensures their voices are being heard, thus aligning with their requirements and preferences accordingly. 

Furthermore, continuous monitoring and evaluation of the Programme's progress and outcomes are essential in adding value. Programme Managers should establish robust measurement mechanisms and performance indicators to track the Programme's impact and effectiveness. This allows for timely adjustments and interventions to ensure that the Programme continues to add value throughout its lifecycle.

MSP Foundation

Principle 5: Focusing on benefits and threats

Focusing on benefits and threats is essential for effective Programme Management. This principle highlights the need to identify, measure, and track the benefits throughout the Programme's lifecycle. It also involves proactively identifying and addressing potential threats that could impact the realisation of these benefits. By focusing on benefits and their associated risks, the Programme can prioritise its efforts and ensure that the intended benefits are achieved. 
To effectively focus on benefits, Programme Managers must first clearly define and understand the desired outcomes and benefits of the Programme. This involves engaging stakeholders, conducting a thorough analysis, and establishing measurable targets. By having a clear understanding of the expected benefits, Programme Managers can align their efforts and resources towards achieving them. 
In addition to benefits, it is equally important to identify potential threats that could pose risks to the realisation of those benefits. Threats may include external factors, such as market changes and regulatory shifts, or internal factors, like resource constraints or resistance to change. By proactively identifying and assessing these threats, Programme Managers can develop mitigation strategies and contingency plans to address them. 

Principle 6: Envisioning and communicating a better future

Envisioning and communicating a better future is a key aspect of Programme leadership. This principle involves creating a compelling vision of the desired future state and effectively communicating it to stakeholders. It includes engaging stakeholders in the visioning process, articulating the benefits of the Programme, and inspiring others to support and contribute to the Programme's success. By envisioning and communicating a better future, the Programme can generate enthusiasm and commitment among stakeholders, fostering a shared sense of purpose and direction. 
Once the vision is established, effective communication becomes essential. Programme Managers must articulate the vision in a way that resonates with stakeholders and inspires them to actively participate and support the Programme. This involves using clear and persuasive language, visual aids, and storytelling techniques to convey the benefits and positive impact of the Programme. Regular communication and engagement activities should be implemented to keep stakeholders in the loop throughout the Programme's lifecycle. 
Programme Managers can create a shared sense of direction and purpose by envisioning and communicating a better future. It aligns stakeholders towards a common goal and fosters collaboration and commitment. Moreover, it helps manage expectations, build trust, and overcome resistance to change, enabling a smooth and successful Programme implementation. 

Principle 7: Leading change in the organisation

Leading change is critical for navigating the complexities of Programme Management. This principle emphasises the need for strong leadership to guide and inspire individuals through the change process. It involves establishing a change management strategy, addressing resistance to change, and providing support to those affected by the Programme. By leading change effectively, the Programme can overcome obstacles, promote buy-in, and facilitate successful implementation. 
Leading change in the organisation also requires effective stakeholder management. Programme Managers must identify key stakeholders, understand their needs and concerns, and actively engage with them throughout the Programme. By involving stakeholders in decision-making and providing regular updates and feedback, Programme Managers can build trust and commitment, facilitating a smoother transition and implementation of change. 
Furthermore, Programme Managers should anticipate and address resistance to change. They proactively identify potential barriers and challenges and develop ways to mitigate them. Programme Managers can overcome resistance and create a culture that embraces change by involving stakeholders in the change process, providing training and support, and addressing their concerns. 


The Seven Key MSP Principles provide a comprehensive framework for managing a successful Programme. Organisations can enhance their Programme Management practices by remaining in tune with organisational strategy and learning from mistakes. They can also design and deliver a coherent capability, add value, focus on both benefits and threats and thereby increase their chances of success. 

Learn the basics of MSP methodology by signing up for the MSP 5th Edition Foundation Course now! 

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