With the recent launch of AXELOS 5th edition MSP, we are pleased to announce that we have now moved all of our MSP® virtual classroom courses to 5th edition for both Foundation and Practitioner.

So what is MSP®?

MSP® (Managing successful programmes) is the go to approach for any organisation undergoing transformation, change initiatives and long term policy implementation. It addresses the challenges that are encountered when organisations have a series of or particularly complex projects and change initiatives, focusing on governance and strategy and ensuring that benefits are realised in line with overall strategic goals.

So why the changes?

Adapting to the changing digital landscape and agile ways of working meant it was essential that programme management evolved to continue to be as effective.

It has been 10 years since the previous 4th edition update and much has changed in the way in organisations function and react to change in this time.

In the words of its creator AXELOS the new 5th edition revised from 2011 4th edition does the following:

“The MSP 5th edition emphasises more flexibility, adaptability, and responsiveness by adopting an incremental approach to the programme lifecycle and thus enabling organisational agility.”

This enables organisations to:

Be more agile, using an incremental approach to the programme lifecycle.

Rise to the challenges in today’s landscape when managing either programmes or larger, complex projects.

Align more greatly with overall strategy.

Focus on benefits delivery.

Gain stakeholder buy-in with active engagement.

So what does this mean?

General changes

Principles: Have been overhauled to make them more aligned with today’s environment. Each of these principles is explained in a succinct paragraph and is dealt with under each of the ‘themes’.

Themes: Seven themes now exist instead of the previous nine and the word ‘governance’ has been removed from this title. There is also greater interconnectivity to the overarching principles.

Programme lifecycle: The focus is on achieving stakeholder benefits and is now iterative in its approach, reflecting more agile ways of working.

The main areas of revision for the manual itself are as follows:

Vision: An updated approach to the structure of a vision statement.

Benefits: This is a key principle and it prevalent through the whole guidance.

• Risks: Addressed more widely and at greater frequency through the edition.

• Organisation structure and roles: Well established roles have been updated in the manual and new ones included.

• Business case: Has been revised to include greater exploration of funding and finance.

• Blueprint: Now ‘Target Operating Model’ with further explanation of its use.

• Stakeholder engagement and communications planning: updated and refreshed.

How have the exams been revised?

• Scenarios have been simplified making them easier to understand.

• A stronger focus on application and analysis at practitioner level.

• a reduction in the number of questions for each level: the Foundation exam has reduced from 75 to 60 multiple choice questions, and the Practitioner exam has reduced from 80 to 70.

Prerequisite for the MSP 5th edition Practitioner exam is the 5th edition Foundation certificate.

How does this fit with the all new AXELOS ProPath study route?

MSP is an essential component of the all new AXELOS study route known as ProPath. The ProPath study route has been specifically designed to bring together a series of approaches which enables candidates to gauge the level of skill and expertise they need for their chosen career. It also allows organisations to have the confidence in the expertise of their employees to take their projects, programmes and portfolios to new levels.

Read more about this ground-breaking approach to project and programme expertise in our recent ProPath study route from AXELOS.


SPOCE Project Management Limited is a global leader in delivering best practice training for project programme and risk management. We offer a wide range of courses which can be tailored to suit any form of training need. For example, public courses e-Learning, blended learning, virtual classroom and client workshops. SPOCE is the flagship training provider for PRINCE2® and MSP® and were APMGs first ever training provider.

Click to see our SPOCE MSP Training Page

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Click to read more about MSP and it’s role within AXELOS ProPath study route

Call; 0800 177 7623 / 0800 17 SPOCE

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* Information correct at time of broadcast.