This Guest paper was submitted for publication and is copyright to Mark A. Seely© 2016.
Published here April 2017

PART 3 | Editor's Note & Table of Contents | Chapter 7: Finding Levels 3 and 4
Chapter 8: Level 3 - Program Management | Level 3 Management | The Apollo Example
Chapter 9: Level 4 - Program Governance | Level 4 Governance | Performance
Chapter 10: Level 5 - Public Governance | Level 5 Governance | PART  5

Chapter 8: Level 3 - Program Management

Program Management

Ah, chess, a game of strategy. As you play the game, the game changes - depending on the moves of the opponent.

How do I know I am at Level 3?

For Level 3 we have:

  • A quest that is substantially beyond the state-of-the-art,
  • Innovation beyond leading-edge technologies,
  • Functional specifications that can't yet be achieved
  • Authority devolved to a Project Leader or Program Manager level.

Level 3 particulars are summarized in the following table:

Level 3: Program Management


• Closed System
• Internal Determinacy
• Custom Environment
• Dynamic Complexity


• Yield
• Directs vs. Indirects
• Quality Expectations


The extent to which a reasonable fitness for purpose is financially affordable.

Control Point:

The Statement of Operational Requirement or overarching functional mission is the control point.


This corresponds to an "Objectives" lowest static baseline.

Performance Management:

Investment Assessment

Performance Measurement:

Earned Value

Performance Expectation:



If stakeholders are willing to entertain cost growth and schedule delay through the learning, and provided the innovation stretch target is reasonably within reach, the project will succeed.


If stakeholders hold to initial budget and schedule estimations or the innovation stretch target is outside the art of the possible, the project will fail.


Department of Defense (US), NASA, The International Centre for Complex Project Management, The Telfer School

Chapter 7: Finding Levels 3 and 4  Chapter 7: Finding Levels 3 and 4

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