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Programme Management for Owner Teams authors Freek van Heerden, Jurie Steyn and Davida van der Walt explore team alignment and its challenges on a programme.

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On a programme, alignment ensures that there is a common understanding of the owner’s business and project objectives, as well as the owner management team’s expectations.

On programmes the following alignment challenges are typical:

  • Key management stakeholders and decision makers do not align upfront on the frame / ultimate business objective of the programme. Poor upfront framing leads to multiple problems down the line
  • Project teams reporting into the programme do not always have a clear understanding of the bigger picture and the purpose of the programme.  They tend to relentlessly pursue their project objectives, not keeping sight of the programme objectives.

In reality we have found sponsors do not always take their role seriously in managing stakeholder relations that are of diplomatic or strategic nature.  The sponsor can play a huge role in pro-actively keeping key stakeholders abreast of the programme objectives and status, and avoiding stakeholder misalignment.

To ensure effective alignment, the programme management team needs to ensure that they have clarity on the items below and that all involved on the programme are aligned to these:

  • Scope: what they are supposed to do;
  • Business objectives: why they are supposed to do it;
  • Programme objectives/operating model: how they are going to do it;
  • Timeline: when they are to do it;
  • Roles and responsibilities: who will be responsible for what;
  • Budget and cash flow: what monies will be available to the programme, and;
  • Communication plan: how they will communicate about the programme.


For more practical lessons on programme management, please take a look at our book on the subject Programme Management for Owner Teams available on Amazon.