Getting the relationship right between the SRO and Programme Director

In programme delivery, getting the relationship right between the Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) and Programme Director (PD) is fundamental to success. 


The SRO leads on the ‘up and out’. They champion the programme and are accountable for delivering to the vision, outcomes, and benefits. 


The Programme Director leads on the ‘down and in’. They are accountable to the SRO for driving the delivery of the programme outcomes within agreed time, cost and quality constraints. 


But often, the balance between the two roles is not there. The result is role creep, instability in the team, delay, and a drop in delivery confidence. 



How do you get the relationship right? 


From experience, we know that there is no silver bullet – but you can practically take action to make something that is potentially complex much simpler: 


  1. Ensure that the SRO and Programme Director understand their own and each other’s responsibilities – write them down and agree them.
  1. Set out a set of principles by which both will work – write them down and agree them.
  1. Ensure there is crystal-clear programme governance that is the framework that both will work within. Keep the governance straight forward – a strategic board that sets direction and priorities and a delivery board that drives delivery and manages change.



Above all, the most important fundamental for the SRO and Programme Director to get right is achieving a trusted and respectful working relationship. But remember that trust and respect only come with time served – and is best achieved by the SRO and PD working as a team with sleeves rolled up leading from the front. 



Project One is a leading independent Management Consultancy, voted by our customers and industry peers with special recognition for Organisation Change and Digital Transformation. We have deep transformation experience. This means that your organisation can immediately benefit from our insight – rapidly making the complex simple. If you’d like to learn more, please get in touch. 

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