The suitability of MSP for engineering infrastructure

Stephen Keith McGrath, Stephen Jonathan Whitty


This paper arose from empirical investigations of practitioner views of both governance and program definitions together with investigations of practitioner reference documents. These investigations indicated that some confusion had arisen in infrastructure project management as a result of approaches used in IT. This paper contributes to the literature evaluating project standards and methodologies by conducting an examination of the suitability of one such source (MSP) for use in in engineering infrastructure program management. A deductive definitional approach is taken to identify features that could cause difficulty. Eight features were examined and six were found to have difficulty in application to engineering infrastructure. The remaining two were found to be terminology differences that are unlikely to cause too much difficulty. The features causing difficulty include inappropriate definition of a program, use of a non-generic process flow unsuitable for rolling programs, confusion of transformation projects with programs, presumption of a board governance model, and confusion of large projects with programs. The paper concludes that MSP is quite poorly suited to managing rolling programs, whether they are in engineering infrastructure or IT. Various changes to MSP and PMI publications are recommended.


benefits realisation; change management; portfolio management; program management; programme management; project management; transformation; definition


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