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Legal – Lessons Learned from Major Programs (#43 in the series Foundations, Frameworks and Lessons Learned in Program Management)
By Robert Prieto

The lessons learned on several major programs have been characterized in the context of the program management framework elements previously described. These lessons learned are reflected below.

The programs reflected range from $ 1 to over $ 30 billion in size and from 4 to 30 years in duration and include both US and non-US program management delivery. Over $ 125 billion of program cost is represented by these major programs. Program management lessons learned have been “sanitized” to protect the identity of specific programs. Input derives from program managers or other senior executives and in select instances from lessons learned documents prepared as part of the post mortem process.

Lessons Learned on the Legal Aspect – #14 in Organizational Foundation & Integrated Framework Processes

Program 1: Establish accountability policies parallel with development of program practices and procedures. Provide external oversight to ensure basic compliance with legal and regulatory objectives. Prompt governance and integrity standards through management leadership.

Program 2: No lessons learned.

Program 3: No lessons learned.

Program 4: Essential to focus on environmental, regulatory and permitting issues at project commencement and to adequately reflect cost and schedule uncertainties in overall program plan and execution strategy.

Program 5: No lessons learned.

Program 6: No lessons learned.

Program 7: Right of way and other property acquisition needs must be recognized and planned for early in the implementation of the program. Regulatory agencies and processes must be clearly understood and clearly provided for in overall program schedule and sequencing.

Program 8: Broad range of all significant Stakeholders (beyond all aspects of the client) must be identified and targeted early in Program Management development. Building the broadest base of consensus reduces risk of negative budget/schedule implications but requires diligent proactive steps. Program Management should include early direct relationships
and consensus building with:

  • users of planned facility
  • nearby community/neighbors
  • business and civic organizations
  • disadvantaged business enterprises and other special interest groups
  • environmental agencies responsible for approvals and permitting
  • affected industry at large through respective organizations (contractors, designers, trucking etc.)
  • other responsible public agency technical staff with some responsibility (federal/state/local government, regional planning, zoning, financing etc.)
  • elected officials (local, state and federal) as appropriate and dependent upon involvement (don’t rely on others for this coordination)

Program 9: Concurrent review of environmental submissions by all owner elements to reduce program schedule. Stakeholder commitments include in a special conditions section of affected project contracts.

Program 10: No lessons learned.

Program 11: No lessons learned.

Robert Prieto, Senior Vice President

Robert Prieto is senior vice president for Fluor, where he leads strategy for Fluor’s Industrial and Infrastructure group. Mr. Prieto focuses on the development and delivery of large, complex projects worldwide.

Prior to joining Fluor, Bob served as chairman of Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc. As head of PB’s board of directors, he was responsible for overseeing management performance, establishing top-level policies, and ensuring the firm’s continued long term success.

He is a member of the executive committee of the National Center for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, a member of the board of directors of the Business Council on International Understanding, a member of the board of the Civil Engineering Forum for Innovation, and co-founder and member of the board of the Disaster Resource Network. He currently serves on the National Research Council’s committee framing the challenges on Critical Infrastructure Systems. Until 2006 he served as one of three U.S. presidential appointees to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Advisory Council (ABAC) and served 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. He is also a member of the board of trustees of Polytechnic University of New York, and was previously selected as alumni of the year by its New York Chapter.

He has had an executive sponsorship role in the World Trade Center Transportation Hub; West Coast Rail Modernization; Train Protection and Warning System; Level 3 Communications Long Haul Network and Superconducting Super Collider.

Prieto holds a master of science in nuclear engineering from Polytechnic University of New York and a bachelor of science in nuclear engineering from New York University.

Fluor Corporation (NYSE: FLR) provides services on a global basis in the fields of engineering, procurement, construction, operations, maintenance and project management. Headquartered in Irving, Texas, Fluor is a FORTUNE 500 company with revenues of $14.1 billion in 2006. For more information, visit

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