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What Is MSP®?

MSP® (Managing Successful Programmes) represents proven programme management good practice in the successful delivery of transformational change through the application of programme management. MSP® defines programme management as “the action of carrying out the coordinated organisation, direction and implementation of a dossier or projects and transformational activities to achieve outcomes and realize benefits of strategic importance to the business”.

MSP® has been used and adopted within many organisations both within the public and private sectors. The experiences of those who have adopted programme management have provided invaluable inputs into the latest edition of the guide, which was published in 2007.

Adopting a programme management approach such as MSP® provides a structured framework that can help organisations avoid these pitfalls and achieve their goals.

MSP® defines the roles and responsibilities of all who need to form part of the leadership of a programme. Effective leadership of a programme is achieved through informed decision-making and a flexible management regime. The MSP® framework is based on three core concepts:

MSP® Principles – These are derived from positive and negative lessons learned from programme experiences. They are the common factors that underpin the success of any transformational change

MSP® Governance Themes – These define an organisation’s approach to programme management. They allow an organisation to put in place the right leadership, delivery team, organisation structures and controls, giving the best chance for success

MSP® Transformational Flow – This provides a route through the lifecycle of a programme from its conception through to the delivery of the new capability, outcomes and benefits.


Are there any pre-requisites for the MSP® examinations?

There are no pre-requisites for the foundation examination. Candidates must achieve a pass at foundation level before completing the practitioner examination, and a pass at practitioner level before completing the advanced practitioner examination.


What is the main publication for MSP® and where can I purchase it?

MSP® has one main manual, published by The Stationary Office, called “Managing Successful Programmes – 2007 Edition”.

FGI provide this manual as part of the course fee unless advised otherwise by the delegate.

To purchase, please go to


Which languages are MSP® examinations available in?

MSP® examinations are available in the following languages: English, Dutch, French and Polish. Further translations are in progress / under consideration.


Which languages is the MSP® manual available in?

The “Managing Successful Programmes – 2007 Edition” manual is currently available in English, Polish and French. Further translations are in progress / under consideration.


How long will it take to learn the MSP® material?

FGI’s foundation courses are delivered over 3 days, while combined foundation and practitioner courses are delivered over 5 days. Advanced Practitioner Conversion courses are delivered over 3 days.


What is the structure of the MSP® examinations?

The exam formats are as follows:


  • Multiple-choice
  • 40 minutes duration
  • 50 questions
  • 30 correct answers or more are required to pass
  • Closed-book


  • Objective testing
  • Two-and-a-half hours duration
  • 8 questions
  • 80 marks available
  • 40 marks or more are required to pass
  • Open-book (only the MSP Guide is allowed)

Advanced Practitioner

  • Essay based
  • Three hours duration
  • 3 questions
  • 75 marks available
  • 38 marks or more are required to pass
  • Open-book (other material in the form of course notes, examples, copies of presentations, etc. can be used during this examination but no electronic aids, such as laptops, may be used)


How long are the MSP® qualifications valid for?

The foundation examination is not valid for a defined period and will not expire. Candidates who pass the practitioner exam are recognised as an “MSP® Registered Practitioner”. Candidates who pass the advanced practitioner exam are recognized as an “MSP® Registered Advanced Practitioner”. Registered status is valid for a period of 5 years. To maintain registered status, practitioners/advanced practitioners must complete and pass a practitioner re-registration/advanced practitioner re-registration examination 3-5 years following their initial/previous practitioner/advanced practitioner certification.


When can I expect the results of my MSP® Examinations?

MSP® Foundation examinations can be marked on location with provisional results provided immediately after marking. The result turn around period for the Practitioner examination is 3-4 weeks from receipt of the examination papers back into the APM Group Office.* The result turn around period for the Advanced Practitioner examination is roughly 6-9 weeks from receipt of the examination papers back into the APM Group Office.*

If you sat the foundation and practitioner exam in the same week, your results will not show on the Successful Candidate Register until two weeks after the results for the practitioner exam have been released. Certificate turn-around is usually two weeks after you have been notified of your result.*


When will I receive my certificate?

A Foundation Certificate will be dispatched to you approximately 2 weeks after we have received your exam paper back into our offices if you only took the Foundation exam.*

A Practitioner Certificate will be dispatched 10 working days after the Practitioner results have been released.*

An Advanced Practitioner Certificate will be dispatched 10 working days after the Practitioner results have been released.*


What are the pass marks for the MSP® examinations?

Pass marks for the MSP® examinations are as follows:

Foundation: You will need to score 30/50 to pass the Foundation exam.
Practitioner: You will need to score 40/80 to pass the Practitioner exam.
Advanced Practitioner: You will need to score 38/75 to pass the Advanced Practitioner exam.


How can I advertise myself as MSP® qualified on my business card?

Candidates who have passed the MSP® Practitioner/Advanced Practitioner examination can put “MSP® Practitioner/Advanced Practitioner” on their business cards. You can also include a web address on your business card ( which takes you to an online list of all MSP® Registered Practitioners/Advanced Practitioners.



Are there any comparisons to alternative methods?

Currently there are no official comparisons to alternative programme management methods.


*Please note that these are average time scales and are only offered as a guide as they are subject to change.