Written by Andy Trainer– Fri 20 Apr 2012
As taught on our PRINCE2® Training course, PRINCE2 is a methodology that can be tailored to any project. Therefore it is necessary for there to be a project management structure that can also be tailored to any project.
Using this structure allows us to identify who does what on a project without knowing anything about its size or complexity. The team structure is divided into roles, not jobs and so can be allocated individually or even combined.
Here is our flexible project management team structure:
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The corporate/ programme management site at the top but pass the decision making down to the Project Board. If you want to sit at this level you need MSP training, which is the next step after completing your PRINCE2 Practitioner training.
The Project Board are also busy on roles outside of the project and so delegate the day-to-day running of the project to the Project Manager. They are there to make the key decisions but if they believe they don't have the time or the right skills then they can appoint somebody to Project Assurance to monitor the project for them.
Depending on the scope of the project or the experience of the Project Manager, they may need some help, which would come in the form of the Project Support and the Team Manager.
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Here is description of some of the roles in more detail:
The Project Board is appointed by the corporate/ programme management to take overall direction of the project. The Project Board should be made up of managers with the authority to commit resources to the project within the limits set by the corporate/programme management.
As the public face of the project, the Project Board is responsible for any publicity of the project and dissemination of information. The Project Board agrees all major plans and should authorise any important changes to the agreed Stage Plans.
On completion, each stage is signed off by the Project Board which then must authorise the start of the next stage. Any conflicts within the project or between the project and external bodies are negotiated by the Project Board.
The Project Board approves the appointment of the Project Manager and any delegation of their responsibilities. Ultimately, the Project Board is responsible for the assurance of the project, that it remains on course to deliver the desired outcome of the required quality to meet the Business Case defined in the project contract.
Responsibilities of specific members of the Project Board are described below:
The executive has ultimate responsibility for the success of the project; that it gives ROI and that the demands of the business, user and supplier are balanced. They will appoint people to the roles of Senior User, Senior Supplier and Product Manager, will chair meetings and conduct briefings throughout. The Executive will closely monitor ongoing progress and changes to the project plan; and will eventually approve the notification of project closure once satisfied that it is completed within agreed budgetary and scheduling tolerances.
The Senior User specifies the needs of those who will use the product and monitors to ensure the solution will meet those needs. Their place on the board is to represent the interests and requirements of the users as a whole. Sometimes the role may be shared, to cover different user interests, but splitting the role between too many people risks losing effectiveness. The Senior User will ensure that any testing has the appropriate user-focus and representation.
The Senior Supplier advises on the technicalities of the project; including method, design and strategy. They are the product specialists - they approve the product descriptions and represent those who are designing the product, developing it, operating and maintaining it. The Senior Supplier has the authority to utilise any resource needed to achieve the final product. They exercise quality control and must ensure that any operating standards are defined and achieved. They will need to be able to brief other management staff on the technical aspects of the projects.
Here are the definitions of the rest of the project management team:
The Project Manager works on behalf of the Project Board to manage the ongoing project to agreed specifications and tolerances. They make sure the final product is as agreed, to the required standard and within time and cost budgets. They are also responsible for ensuring the product will lead to the benefits outlined in the business case.
The Team Manager role is often taken by the Project Manager, but some projects may demand a specific role for a TM who has specialist knowledge of the product or who works in a more appropriate location than the PM. The Team Manager reports to the Project Manager but has responsibility to ensure the product is delivered in the time and budget specified. They will directly manage the project team and are responsible for motivating and monitoring their ongoing work.
Project Board members are not a part of the project full time and so place a lot of reliance on the Project Manager. They may assign Project Assurance functions to ensure that the project is meeting its aims. Project Assurance is in place to give the board members confidence that they are being given accurate reports on the progress of the project and the expected quality of the output. The task of project assurance is given to individuals from the project board, but not the project manager or any of the core project team.
Project Support is driven by the needs of the project and the Project Manager. It can take the form of advice on project management tools, admin services including paperwork or data collection.
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