MSP Foundation – Leadership and Stakeholder Engagement

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MSP Programmes are all about delivering transformational change. This part of the guide looks at how the transformation is achieved through a series of iterative, interrelated steps.

Before proceeding, just a quick reminder that all page references are from the MSP® manual, so if you haven’t bought it yet then I strongly advise you do so. You can order it directly from Amazon below (affiliate link).

For further information on the MSP® certifications, please download the MSP® syllabus, or visit

Leadership and Stakeholder Engagement

For the foundation exam you have to know facts, terms and concepts, specifically recall the:

=> Definition of stakeholder (page 59):

A stakeholder is any individual, group or organization that can affect, be affected by, or perceive itself to be affected by, a programme.

=> The purpose of:

  1. Influence/interest matrix (pages 64, 66): capture level of stakeholder importance to the programme and its impact on them. See Fig 6.4 page 66
  2. Programme communications plan (page 242): sets out the timetable and arrangements for implementing and managing the stakeholder engagement strategy
  3. Stakeholder map (pages 64, 65): shows the stakeholders, their interests, and the areas of the programme that affect them. See table 6.3 page 65
  4. Stakeholder engagement strategy (pages 64, 67, 70, 202, 247): used to define the framework that will enable effective stakeholder engagement and communication
  5. Stakeholder profiles (incl. stakeholder maps) (page 248): used to record stakeholder analysis information

=> Management and leadership (pages 36, 60, 61):

Management is:

  • Always required, particularly in business-as-usual contexts, and focuses more on evolutionary or continual improvement
  • Focused on the ‘how’ and the ‘when’
  • Concerned with speed, efficiency and quality
  • Most effective when controlling tasks against specifications or plans
  • Focused on tasks, delivery and process

Leadership is:

  • Particularly required in a context of change. It clarifies the ‘as-is’, the vision of the future, and thrives in the tension between the two
  • Inclined to clarify the ‘what’ and the ‘why’
  • More concerned with direction, effectiveness and purpose
  • Most effective when influencing people by communicating in face-to-face situations
  • Focused on meaning, purpose and realized value

=> The purpose of ‘visioning workshops’ and the ‘do-nothing vision’ (page 60):

  • Visioning workshops: help draft the programme vision statement. It’s an opportunity to engage the right stakeholders early; for leadership to explore and define what might be called the ‘do-nothing vision’
  • Do-nothing vision: allows leaders to create and foster the belief in the need for change. Sometimes known as the ‘burning platform’ or ‘burning bridge’

=> Objectives of the communication process (page 67):

  • Keep awareness and commitment high
  • Ensure that expectations do not drift out of line with what will be delivered
  • Explain what changes will be made and when
  • Describe the desired future end state

=> Four core elements of successful communications (page 67):

  • Stakeholder identification and analysis: send the right messages to the right audience
  • Message clarity and consistency: ensure relevance and recognition, and engender trust
  • Effective system of message delivery: get the right messages to the right stakeholders in a timely and effective way
  • Feedback collection system: assess the effectiveness of the communications process

=> Areas of focus for the governance theme leadership and stakeholder engagement of (page 72):

  1. SRO:
    • Engaging key stakeholders early and at appropriate milestones throughout the programme
    • Leading the engagement with high-impact stakeholders and anticipating stakeholder issues that may arise
    • Briefing the sponsoring group and gathering strategic guidance on changing business drivers
    • Showing visible leadership at key communications events and ensuring the visible and demonstrable commitment of the sponsoring group
    • Ensuring the creation, implementation and maintenance of the overall stakeholder engagement strategy
  2. Programme Manager:
    • Developing and implementing the stakeholder engagement strategy
    • Day-to-day implementation of the whole stakeholder engagement process
    • Developing and maintaining the stakeholder profiles
    • Controlling and aligning project communication activities
    • Ensuring effective communications with the project teams
    • Developing, implementing and updating the programme communications plan
  3. BCM(s):
    • Engaging and leading those operating new working practices through the transition, generating confidence and buy-in from those involved. Active stakeholder engagement is a major part of discharging this role
    • Supporting the SRO and taking specific responsibility for stakeholder engagement in their part of the organization
    • Support to the programme manager in the development of the stakeholder engagement strategy and programme communications plan
    • Alerting the programme manager to the new winners and losers (if any) in their area of change
    • Providing information and business intelligence for the stakeholder profiles
    • Briefing and liaising with the business change team
    • Communicating with affected stakeholders to identify new benefits and improved ways of realising benefits
    • Delivery key communications messages to their business operations
  4. Programme Office:
    • Maintaining information relating to the stakeholders
    • Maintaining an audit trail of communication activity
    • Collating feedback and ensuring that it is logged and processed
    • Facilitating activities specified in the programme communications plan


Managing Successful Programmes – Foundation content guide (hyperlinks will be added as posts become available):

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