PM Professional

Managing Successful Programs (MSP)® training courses

What is MSP? (a.k.a. Managing Successful Programmes)


Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) is a methodology that comprises a set of principles and processes to use when managing a programme. AXELOS Ltd owns the best practice range of portfolio, programme, and project management frameworks including MSP.

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 of the programme are usually at a strategic level so they can help an organisation improve its operations.

This approach allows each project to succeed or fail based on the success of others. It ensures that the individual elements of the programme are well understood, managed, and delivered.

How can you get certified in MSP?


Besides being an effective project management framework, MSP is also a certification scheme. There are two MSP certifications: MSP Foundation certification and MSP Practitioner certification.

MSP exams

To earn your MSP certification, you must both pass the MSP Foundation and MSP Practitioner examinations.

MSP Foundation exam

MSP Foundation exam covers the basics of the framework, allowing you to integrate MSP into your daily workflow. The MSP Foundation examination is a closed-book test, which means there are no books or other materials permitted during the test.

MSP Practitioner exam

The MSP Practitioner exam is built upon the Foundation Level. It provides an overview of the analytical tools needed to think strategically as a program manager. Candidates who successfully passed the MSP Practitioner exam show they understand its concepts and can use them in practice.

The MSP Practitioner examination is an open-book test and candidates may bring their copy of the MSP manual to the testing centre. It is a pre-requisite to have passed the MSP Foundation exam before taking an MSP Practitioner exam.

Both exams must be passed at a score of 60% each.

What MSP training courses are available?


It is not necessary to attend an MSP training course to become an MSP certified. However, if you’re new to the field of MSP, it is recommended that you take an introductory course and familiarize the MSP basics. Several training providers offer MSP Foundation and Practitioner courses. Here’s an overview of what you’ll learn from each course.

MSP Foundation course

The MSP Foundation course provides a basic introduction to the MSP framework and its terminology. The foundation-level course training aims to show students an overview of the skills they need to be able to work effectively within a team. It covers the MSP principles, themes, and processes.

The MSP Foundation course is ideal for people who want to develop their project management skills. This certification is intended for the following people who need to understand MSP to work effectively within large-scale projects or programmes:

  • Business change managers
  • Project managers
  • Programme managers
  • Programme and project delivery team members
  • Programme office staff.

MSP Practitioner course

MSP Practitioner course builds on the Foundation level. After completing the Foundation course, you are expected to demonstrate your ability to apply the MSP framework to real-life scenarios.

MSP Practitioners course is perfect for these managers looking to gain practical experience in applying MSP to real-world programmes.

  • Business change managers
  • Project managers
  • Programme managers.

What formats are MSP courses?


There are various methods of training available for MSP courses, depending on what works for you as a professional. There are three distinct kinds of training courses offered by training providers.

Classroom courses

Traditional classroom courses provide an interactive and collaborative environment for students to learn from the expertise of their teachers. They let you fully immer¬sion yourself in the material you’re studying. It’s best suited for people who have plenty of free time to go to classes.

Virtual classroom courses

A virtual course combines both the teaching experience of a regular class with the advantages of a virtual environment. You can interact with them at any time during the session; they’re extremely interactive, so everyone else can also participate.


E learning is the most common and convenient way to learn. You can take this course whenever and wherever you want. It’s completely online so there’s no need for travel. Each online training programme was created by professional instructors, subject matter experts, software engineers, and instructional design specialists. It’s created from official syllabi and then turned into interactive, multimedia-filled courses.

Depending on which learning method you choose and which online learning provider you enrol in, the duration of the MSP Foundation and Practitioner courses ranges from three to five days.

What are the benefits of MSP certification in my career?

Programme management is an exciting career with plenty of opportunities for career growth. They are usually one of the most senior positions within an organisation, occupying a leadership position responsible for making major decisions.

Becoming a certified MSP professional can help you get started in an exciting new career. There are countless businesses across a wide range of different sectors that need skilled programme managers to help them reach their goals and achieve transformative change. With an MSP certificate, you can significantly improve both your professional and personal life. Additional benefits include:

  • This MSP certification gives people who don’t normally work with project managers the skills they need to succeed in their jobs. It shows them that you’re capable of working on any type of project, no matter its size or complexity. And because it’s an industry-recognized credential, it gives you a competitive edge when applying for new positions.
  • Understand how to manage risk and unexpected change effectively. Plus, learn about the latest in technology that can help you do your job better.
    The world is changing at a rapid pace. The way we work, communicate, shop, play, travel, and live are all evolving rapidly. And as these changes occur, so does the need for new skills—skills that will allow us to adapt to this ever-changing environment.
  • To become an effective leader, you need to understand what it means to be a good communicator and an excellent listener. These are two key qualities for any manager.
  • MSP is applicable across numerous industries, meaning that you can work as a programme manager without having to renew or retake your certification.
  • An MSP certification demonstrates a commitment to personal development
  • Programmes are an important part of helping companies manage transformational change. An MSP certificate helps you advance in the market because it is one of the most sought-after credentials in project/programme/service manager roles.

Is programme management a good career?

Programme management is a fast-paced and exciting role that requires an ability to work well under pressure, be able to juggle multiple priorities at once, and have excellent communication skills. It’s also a great way of learning new things as there are always new challenges to face.

It is a natural career progression path for experienced project managers. A programme manager is not an entry-grade position because it involves managing the risks, resources, and outputs of multiple interrelated project teams.

However, if you’re an experienced project manager who wants to move up the ladder, programme management is the ideal way to apply your skills in new environments and hone your managerial capabilities.

Roles related to programme management

When trying to become a program manager, you can consider applying for related programme management roles. Numerous jobs need skilled professionals to help them run projects successfully.

For instance, a risk management specialist, a communication specialist, or a benefits specialist could be responsible for some of the more specific programme management tasks.

Programme manager responsibilities

These are the responsibilities of a programme manager:

  • Manage budgets on behalf of the SRO (Senior Responsible Owner)
  • Plan programmes and monitor them, resolve issues when necessary
  • Define governance measures for the programme
  • Ensure effective QA. Ensure consistency and coherence between different standards
  • Manage all communications with stakeholders
  • Monitor spending against benefits delivered
  • Allocate the resources and skills needed by projects.

The strategic level

Programme managers operate on a higher level than project managers – at the strategic level. Programme managers oversee multiple people who are involved in different parts of a project. They coordinate with individual project leaders and others to make sure their projects’ objectives are achieved.

Develop your career in programme management

Programme managers need to be adept at leading others, managing teams, maintaining productive relationships with clients, and understanding IT systems well. To become a programme manager, one usually must start out as a project manager and gain experience through projects.

A lot of companies prefer to hire employees with at least 3 or 5 years of experience working in project management roles. To get hired for meaningful projects, you’ll need to show them that you’ve got experience managing major projects with multiple teams across diverse functions. An MSP certification is a good way to demonstrate that you’re ready to take on bigger challenges.

As a result of this, project manager salaries are usually quite high at around $70K+ annually. Project manager salaries increase even further the larger companies get and the longer they stay in business. In summary, project manager positions offer lots of benefits and opportunities for your career development.

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