MSP does not aim to deliver value, only build the capability to deliver value. TOP ensures all projects and programs deliver value.

Different views of Benefits

Both the OGC’s “Managing Successful Programmes” (MSP) approach and TOP are focused on ‘benefits’. However the two approaches have different definitions of what a benefit is and different ways of ensuring if they are delivered. Not surprising, we find TOP's approach much easier, clearer and practical.

What does MSP deliver? 

In MSP, the Program Manager’s (PM) role is the equivalent to that of the ‘building contractor’. He/she takes the output requirements and the (coordinated by someone) Blueprint and organizes the program of projects to deliver the Blueprint specified outputs.

The PM is accountable for ensuring the delivery of new products or services (outputs) from the individual projects meets requirements.

A collection of one or more products/services/outputs can deliver a ‘capability’. A capability would be the delivery of, say, a ‘Brick Making Factory’.

Then, subsequently, a ‘capability plus change’ delivers an outcome (a benefit).

It is up to the Business Change Manager to transition the MSP delivered capability into a business outcome e.g, into the 'Factory Making bricks' and realize the resultant benefits.

Delivery Accountabilities for success

The MSP approach consciously separates the PM from accountability for the delivery of business outcomes and benefits. PMs deliver ‘capabilities’ and are not accountable for transitioning these into ‘outcomes’ or benefits. The potential for a ‘value gap’ to exist between the project/program and change/outcomes/benefits desired is built into the approach.

TOP eliminates the gap between the business outcomes and benefits and the project outcomes and benefits by ensuring the PM’s success is measured not only in terms of what project outcomes and benefits they deliver but also what business outcomes and benefits they enable and support.

What TOP delivers

Within TOP, once the end state business outcomes and benefits have been defined; a subset of project outcomes and benefits are agreed for the project to deliver. 

The project outcomes and associated benefits can only be delivered in conjunction with the business. This requires the project and business to work closely together (aided, directed and managed by the project governance team).

Success is only achieved when the projects’ outputs/products/services/capabilities/AND their outcomes and their immediate benefits are delivered.

Within TOP, the PM’s role is extended to deliver real value to the business. Quite how far up the value delivery chain, the PM goes is determined by the definition of the project outcomes (scope) – but the more activities that are allocated to the project/program to deliver, the faster the solution will be delivered (as the project is set up to deliver change and the business is not).

TOP ensures the PM is accountable for delivering real business value – the factory making bricks – (albeit recognising that they cannot do it alone).

Learn more about the TOP Value Equation™ that underpins the successful TOP approach

Topics: TOP compared to orthodox approaches

Further Reading



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Revision History

First published: Simms, J. (Aug 2010) as "TOP& MSP (2) - Delivery Accountabilities"

Updated: Chapman, A. (March 2020), Revisions and Corrections