Getting Off on the Right Foot



By Bob Prieto

Jupiter, Florida, USA

Strategic Business Objectives represent the fundamental business drivers in a well-executed program. But not all programs are well executed and as such understanding how the selection and translation of strategic business objectives into program strategy and execution affects program performance and outcomes is essential.

Previously this relationship has been described as shown in Figure 1, where Strategic Business Objectives provide the basis for a strategy implemented programmatically through a series of projects. Simplistically, this relationship remains true but a closer examination highlights some essential ingredients of a successful program that while implicit, can benefit from more explicit treatment.

Figure 1

The Nature of Strategic Business Objectives

Strategic Business Objectives by their very name must be truly strategic in nature. Their achievement should result in the transformational outcome that is desired. Strategic Business Objectives should describe “Outcomes” and not be confused for strategy or tactics which occur at a different level. They must be clearly and consistently articulated.

But strategic business objectives must be even more. They must be bounded in time. Open ended strategic business objectives describe a direction or intent, not a rate of progress towards an end goal. Without adequate bounding, progress is not measurable and ultimate success uncertain.

But even bounded strategic business objectives are not enough. There must be broad stakeholder buy in to these strategic business objectives and it is this lack on consensus that often acts as a passive drag on many programs. A review of large engineering and construction program experiencing scope, schedule and cost growth suggests that both articulation of the businesses strategic business objectives and broad stakeholder consensus were lacking. Simply put, strategy was flawed and organizational alignment inadequate since there was not agreement on the fundamental strategic business objectives to be achieved.


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Editor’s note: Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English.  Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright.  This paper was originally published in PM World Today in December 2010.  It is republished here with the author’s permission.

How to cite this paper: Prieto, R. (2010). Getting Off on the Right Foot, Second Edition, PM World Journal, Vol. X, Issue III, March 2021.  Originally published in PM World Today, December 2010. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/pmwj103-Mar2021-Prieto-getting-off-on-the-right-foot.pdf

About the Author

Bob Prieto

Chairman & CEO
Strategic Program Management LLC
Jupiter, Florida, USA


 Bob Prieto is a senior executive effective in shaping and executing business strategy and a recognized leader within the infrastructure, engineering and construction industries. Currently Bob heads his own management consulting practice, Strategic Program Management LLC. He previously served as a senior vice president of Fluor, one of the largest engineering and construction companies in the world. He focuses on the development and delivery of large, complex projects worldwide and consults with owners across all market sectors in the development of programmatic delivery strategies. He is author of nine books including “Strategic Program Management”, “The Giga Factor: Program Management in the Engineering and Construction Industry”, “Application of Life Cycle Analysis in the Capital Assets Industry”, “Capital Efficiency: Pull All the Levers” and, most recently, “Theory of Management of Large Complex Projects” published by the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) as well as over 750 other papers and presentations.

Bob is an Independent Member of the Shareholder Committee of Mott MacDonald. He is a member of the ASCE Industry Leaders Council, National Academy of Construction, a Fellow of the Construction Management Association of America, Millennium Challenge Corporation Advisory Board and member of several university departmental and campus advisory boards. Bob served until 2006 as a U.S. presidential appointee to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Advisory Council (ABAC), working with U.S. and Asia-Pacific business leaders to shape the framework for trade and economic growth. He had previously served as both as Chairman of the Engineering and Construction Governors of the World Economic Forum and co-chair of the infrastructure task force formed after September 11th by the New York City Chamber of Commerce. Previously, he served as Chairman at Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) and a non-executive director of Cardno (ASX)

Bob serves as an honorary global advisor for the PM World Journal and Library and can be contacted at rpstrategic@comcast.net.

To view other works by Bob Prieto, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/bob-prieto/