Alignment between formulation and implementation of business strategy can be important for achieving successful programmes. The authors have explored developing a programme management alignment theory. Statistical testing suggests that interaction between the study model variables was found to be multidimensional, complex and subtle in influence. They conclude that programmes have both deliberate and emergent strategies requiring design and management to be organised as complex adaptive systems. Programme lifecycle phases of design and transition were often illustrated by an unclear and confusing strategic picture at the outset which makes it difficult to control. Learning was established as an underlying challenge. The study model demonstrated continuous alignment as an essential attribute contributing towards successful delivery. This requires programme design and structure to adopt an adaptive posture.