This paper reports on a study of major Australian organisations that are using programs to achieve strategic transformation of their work. While the program management literature has focused on the coordination of the multiple projects and related operational activities within the programs, little is known about how these programs deploy efforts to coordinate activities in response to contextual pressures. This exploratory, multi-case study asserts that a significant effort is needed to coordinate responses to factors external to the program. In addition, this study shows the key internal and external forces that combine in shifting the locus of effort in coordinating and integrating multiple activities and projects in major transformation programs.