Produced by Kandy Shaw | 09 October 2017
I have covered several topics related to PRINCE2® courses, qualifications and jobs available, so in this post, I am going to briefly outline a further opportunity for those wishing to advance to the more senior project manager position; the programme manager.
The difference between a programme manager and a project manager
A programme manager is responsible for the managing of multiple projects and sometimes multiple programmes. They plan the structure of the programme and organise the projects within it in a way that achieves success. A project manager, on the other hand, has a more tactical position in that they are responsible for managing the teams involved in the running of the project, ensuring that tasks are completed successfully, on time and within budget.
Prerequisites to MSP Qualification
Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) is an internationally recognised qualification being a proven best-practice approach to delivering transformational change by means of applying programme management methods. There are three MSP qualifications: Foundation, Practitioner and Advanced Practitioner. A prerequisite to the MSP Practitioner qualification is to have passed the MSP Foundation course and the prerequisite to MSP Advanced Practitioner is the MSP Practitioner qualification.
At Foundation level you will gain knowledge and understanding of MSP guidance and be able to communicate effectively with others involved in the management of the programme. MSP Practitioner builds on this knowledge and understanding so that you can apply it to your own management responsibilities. MSP Advanced Practitioner, finally, determines how you lead and manage a much more complex programme of transformational change.
The MSP Foundation and Practitioner can be taken as a five-day course. During the first three days of Foundation, you will learn what a programme is and how it differs from project management. You will also learn the seven MSP principles and their relationship with governance themes and transformational flow. On the third day, you will take the examination and also receive your result. The examination is of a one-hour duration and consists of 75 questions (5 of which are trial questions). You must answer 35 of the remaining 70 questions correctly as it is a minimum 50% pass rate.
Once you have completed the MSP Foundation course, the fourth day will concentrate on Practitioner level training and on the fifth day, you will sit your examination and again receive your results. This is a two-and-a-half hour examination consisting of eight questions worth ten marks each. There is again, a 50% pass rate. MSP Advanced Practitioner is then a separate two-day course with the usual examination on the second day. This course concentrates on leadership, organisational and management skills as well as stakeholder engagement. The examination is three hours long and is essay based. There are 75 points possible and you must gain at least 38 as, once more, this is a 50% pass rate.
Salaries for a programme manager range from £200 to £700 per day as a contractor, depending on location and industry. Permanent positions attract salaries ranging from approximately £25,000 to £95,000, again depending on location and industry. There are currently 895 programme management positions advertised on Indeed (05.10.2017). Whilst this is only a brief outline of MSP, it was considered worthy of a mention because during my jobs and salary research many of the vacancies that I saw specifically requested this qualification. It was for the same reason that the subject of my next post is to be Microsoft Project.