Before I left for India last week a copy of the new Edition of 'Managing Successful Programmes' landed on my desk.
Perhaps I should explain first that I am proud to have been one of the authors of the 2007 edition, authoring key chapters. The 2007 authoring team was delighted with what we achieved then: a major improvement of this world-leading framework for programme managers.
I was not involved in this latest edition and, in fact, I made it my business not to interfere. Nevertheless, reports back to me of some of the requests for change unsettled me. I feared that MSP would be 'dumbed down', made more mechanistic and miss the strategic, agile nature of the way the best programme managers engage with their programmes.
I was somewhat relieved, therefore, to see that most of the good we had produced has survived intact. The new edition has not ruined MSP as, I might have feared. In fact, the refresh might have gone somewhat further in streamlining some of our work of four years ago, particularly the stakeholder engagement process that I personally authored, which still stands more or less as before.
The new edition is thicker, heavier, mainly due to having a consistent mapping onto the Transformational Flow at the end of each Governance Theme. (For 'consistent' read 'pedantic'.) Alas, thicker later editions seem to be the norm for reference works: it's rare to see a simplified, slimmer revision of anything.
So, I'm breathing a sigh of relief. Best Practice appears to have survived the process. We will be running a 1-day conversion briefing for people and organisations already investing in MSP, explaining where the changes have been made, and how this affects applications. Watch this space.