Assigning roles and managing project responsibilities is certainly one of the most sensitive things a Project Manager has to deal with. You have to deal with sensitivities and expectations of team members, but at the same time you can’t lose focus on the project objective or business purpose.
Successful projects are usually the product of careful planning, talent and collaboration between the project manager, team members and other project stakeholders.
Projects cannot progress without every one of these key elements, but it is not always easy to clearly identify the roles and responsibilities that everyone should cover.
These roles may also be assigned to one or more individuals or, conversely, individuals may play more than one role depending on the structure and type of organization, as well as the scope of the project and its strategic positioning.
1. Project manager
We can’t but start by talking about the project manager (to whom we will soon dedicate an entire article), the main responsible for the completion of the project as initially agreed.
Depending on the type of project organization, typically a project manager leads the overall planning, execution, monitoring, control, and closure of the project.
This includes managing, reviewing, and prioritizing day-to-day project activities with the goal of remaining on schedule and within the project budget.
The project manager usually uses project management software to plan activities and provide them a framework.
2. Project team
The project team consists of full-time or part-time employees who are assigned to work on different project activities and outcomes.
Having an interdisciplinary team with the right mix of skills and competences is key to the successful execution of any project.
Project teams, often identified and “put together” by project managers, may include internal staff from different departments and even different geographical areas.
Sometimes, project teams may also include suppliers, contractors, or external consultants, who have been explicitly grouped together for the project.
Their role is to successfully perform the project tasks and activities that have been assigned to them, keeping the project manager informed about the progress of the project, as well as any blockages and risks that may arise during project execution.
Project team members typically use project management software to see the tasks assigned to them, understand their work priorities, report progress and time spent on different tasks, and collaborate with other team members and the project manager.
3. Steering Committee
The steering committee is constituted by representatives of the management and other high-level stakeholders.
These individuals or groups with a direct interest in the outcome of the project supervise the whole life cycle of the project, providing guidance on the overall strategic direction.
They provide “leadership” support for the project, address issues raised by the project manager and decide on requests for changes to key elements of the project, such as final results, planning and budget.
4. Customer of the project
Clients are the individuals, organization or department for whom the project was started.
Whether it is an internal company project or an external project, each project has a customer who has a specific need that will have to be met by the successful completion of the project.
During a project, the role of the client is crucial to overall success.
They play an active role in approving project plans, requesting changes, increasing problems and risks, approving milestones, issuing payments and, most importantly, accepting (or declining) the final results of the project.
5. Project Management Office (PMO)
The Project Management Office, or PMO for short, is a group of individuals who help build and maintain a set of standards and best practices for internal project management and oversee their application in every project.
In other words, a Project Management Office is an organizational structure that standardizes project-related governance processes and facilitates the sharing of resources, methodologies, tools and techniques.
As more and more projects gain strategic importance, PMOs help to manage and execute them in a more predictable and controlled way, ensuring standardization of project management practices to achieve scale economies and thus improve overall project success rates.
6. Resource Manager
Although limited in number, many organizations have this role as a dedicated Resource Manager, whose primary responsibility is to manage groups of resources available and assignable to projects.
The Resource Manager works closely with the project manager to coordinate resource capabilities and workload and is responsible for assigning the right people to the right projects at the right time.
The Resource Manager plays an essential role in capacity planning to ensure that resources satisfy project requirements.
7. Project sponsor
The project sponsor is the project’s pilot and internal champion.
Generally, they are top management members, those with an interest in the outcome of the project.
The project sponsors work hand-in-hand with the project manager and validate the project objectives by participating in the project planning.
Moreover, they often help resolve conflicts and remove obstacles that occur during the project and sign the necessary approvals to move each phase forward.
Tasks of the project sponsor:
- Make key business decisions for the project
- Approve project budget
- Ensure resource availability
- Report the objectives of the project throughout the organization
Bottom line, in order for a project to be successful, a whole team effort is required.
The roles and responsibilities assigned to team members and various stakeholders can be small or massive, but in the end every role and responsibility is important because the project can only be successful through efficient teamwork.