Exploring trends and developments in project management today.

Defining Roles and Responsibilities

Question 9: Have you clearly defined the project roles and responsibilities?

Project Manager building an organisation chart

21 Ways to Excel at Project Management

Good Practice: The project manager must ensure that roles and responsibilities are clearly defined. The organisational structure should be kept as simple as possible.

The following structure works well on large projects:

Business Sponsor

  • Overall sponsor of project; receives regular updates.

Steering Committee

  • Senior managers from business.
  • Responsible for all key project decisions.
  • Meets every 4-6 weeks.

Project Team

  • Led by the Project Manager, who reports to the Steering Committee.
  • Must include a User Representative.
  • Must include technical expertise.

User Group

  • Led by the User Representative.

The roles and responsibilities for managing the project must be fully documented and adapted to suit the size and complexity of the project and the skills of the organisation.

Common Mistakes

  • No clear ownership for the project.
  • Lack of leadership and commitment from the Steering Committee.
  • Roles and responsibilities not clearly defined.
  • Disconnection between the Project Team and Steering Committee, for example discussions not open and honest.

Notes: Comment from a project team member "...I was never quite sure what I was supposed to be doing..."

One of the many roles of the Project Manager is to actively 'drive' the Steering Committee ensuring that regular meetings take place, providing clear agendas, ensuring that key decisions are made and actions are followed up.

Warning Sign! The sponsor fails to attend scheduled project review meetings.