PRINCE2® Roles and Responsibilities [Major & Minor Roles explained]

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09th May, 2019
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PRINCE2® Roles and Responsibilities [Major & Minor Roles explained]

A project is run by a team and without one, it won’t even begin or complete. When a team is finally formed, they would then have to formulate a plan and act on the same to complete the project. Thus, it becomes an issue of great importance that the members in the team associated with a particular project are aware of what they have to do, what they can expect from others as well as their team members, to whom they have to report their work, and who shall do the brainstorming and decision-making, and this article focuses on providing answers for these questions. Hence, this principle defines the roles and responsibilities of everyone who is associated with the project, from the very beginning till the closure of the project.

PRINCE2® clearly suggests that a project should have well-defined, distributed and agreed roles and responsibilities among the entire team undertaking the project. It is important for an organization to distinctly identify these roles and responsibilities to enable its structure that deals with Business, User and Stakeholder interests to function properly and effectively.

Get to know more about project description.

PRINCE2® ORGANIZATION THEME

The organization theme is responsible for defining and authorizing the accountability and responsibilities, that form the structure of a project.

PRINCE2® assumes that there will be a customer responsible for specifying the desired result and then purchasing the project. Similarly, a supplier will also be present to provide the resources and skills needed to deliver the desired results. Thus, it is safe to say that  PRINCE2® is based on a customer/supplier environment.

One major feature of PRINCE2® is that all the projects should have a defined organizational structure that will ultimately bring together the various parties and teams for the common aspirations of the project. It further enhances the effectivity of project governance and decision making.

These are the components of a successful project management team under the organization theme:

1. Representation of all the three major stakeholders as listed in PRINCE2®, a project consists of three major stakeholders which are the Business Sponsors, Users, and Suppliers.

Major Stakeholders

  • Business Sponsors are responsible for ensuring that the product or service offers value for money and is of high-quality standards.
  • Users represent the consumer aspects, they will use the final finished products and services, and are the ones receiving the benefit of those products and services.
  • Suppliers are responsible for providing the basic material and resources, raw or tailored and supplying proper knowledge and experience to the project. They are the producers, producing the finished products according to the designed project plan.

This particular principle clearly states that the three major stakeholders must be correctly represented in the Project Management Team and in the Project Board as they act as the three staunch pillars that support and drive the project further ahead. Every successful project team must have a proper Business, User, and Supplier stakeholder representation.

  1. An effective project team should have defined responsibilities for directing, managing and delivering the project. These three processes paired up with accountability are the key components of a project and thus require accurate and proper distribution of responsibilities.
  1. Another component of a successful project team is the regular and continuous reviewing of various project roles assigned to the members throughout the project.
  1. The final component is to come up with an effective strategy for properly managing the communication flows that the project team must maintain to/from the external key stakeholders.

It is a common understanding that the senior management board will be under a lot of workload and cannot supervise the day-to-day development of the project. Hence, the board issues certain responsibilities to certain individuals or a group of individuals, such that the direction and management of the project is separated from the delivery of the project’s outputs and results. It is done by using the principle of Management by Exception.

The structure that eventually forms comprises of four levels, where Corporate level is outside the project borderlines:

  • Corporate: It is responsible for:
    • Commissioning the project in the first place
    • Appointing the Project Executive  
    • Defining the project level tolerances to be followed by the project board
  • Directing: It is undertaken by the project board, which is responsible for:
    • Overall direction and supervision of the project
    • Accountable for the project’s success
    • They approve all the major plans
    • They approve completion of each stage
    • They authorize the start of the next stage
    • Communicating with the stakeholders
    • Authorizing any deviation that exceeds the project level tolerances
  • Managing: Project Manager comes under this level and is responsible for:
    • The day-to-day management of the project within the parameters set by the project board
    • To make sure that the products are being delivered according to the time, cost, quality, scope of risk and benefit objectives
  • Delivering: Team Managers come under this level and are responsible for:
    • Delivering the project’s products with the desired quality standards and within a specified time frame and cost

To summarize these components, we can conclude that each project should have direction, management, control and communication within its structure and project team for providing better and fruitful outcomes.

THE PREDEFINED ROLES IN A PROJECT

PREDEFINED ROLES IN A PROJECT

The PRINCE2® methodology is based on processes and division of stages for improved performance. It also brings along a series of defined roles with specific tasks designated to them. The predefined roles in a project based on a PRINCE2® environment are:

  1. Project Board - It is a group of professionals that includes :
    • Executive: The executive has the custody of the business case and is the person ultimately taking responsibility for the project.
    • Senior User: This position can be held by an individual or a group of professionals. Their primary objective is to represent the demands of the final user.
    • Senior Supplier: This position can also be assigned to one or more individuals. Their responsibility is to ensure the representation of the interests of the suppliers.
  2. Project Assurance: The primary goal of Project Assurance is to make sure that the interests of the stakeholders are met.
  3. Change Authority: They are responsible for deciding the major change requests on behalf of the Project Board.
  4. Project Manager: The person responsible for undertaking the day-to-day supervision of the project on behalf of the Project Board.
  5. Project Support: It is the body responsible for assisting the Project Manager in the Project Management tasks and duties.
  6. Team ManagerThis position can be assigned to one or more professionals that ensure the quality and other elements of production in the various teams that focus on a particular skill or knowledge from various departments.

1. Roles Associated with the Project Board

The project board represents the direction level of the project and consists of the following roles :

 a. The Executive: The executive actually owns the business case and his role is that of a business-oriented leader who is ultimately accountable for the project. The executive also has the authority of delivering the final words and decisions that are taken in the project. Thus, the project board doesn’t demonstrate any signs of democracy and equal decision-making rights.

The executive is appointed by the corporate of programme management, he is the one responsible for the project with additional support from the Senior User and Senior Supplier. The executive is also responsible for designing and appointing the project management team, including the rest of the project board and also appoints the project manager

 b. The Senior User: It represents the final user’s requirements in the board. It specifies the needs of the user that will use the finished product or service and also establishes communication between the project management team and the users, and ensuring that the products will cater to the needs of the users, especially the quality of the product or service and ease of use. It also supplies benefits information for the Benefit Review Plan.

 c. The Senior Supplier: It represents the interests of the supplier. It represents the interests of those designing, developing, facilitating and implementing the project’s product and services, they provide supply to the project and make sure that only the right tools, people, equipment and expertise are in place. They also ensure that the product meets the expected criteria including the quality criteria.   

Only one person can be the executive, but both the other two roles i.e the senior user and the senior supplier can be assigned to one or multiple individuals.

Associated Duties

  • The project board is responsible for holding accountability for the success and the failure of the project.
  • Another duty is to provide unified direction to the project and the respective Project Manager.
  • The project board also provides the resources and also authorizes funds utilized in the project.
  • They should also provide additional visible and continuous support and assistance to the Project Manager.
  • They ensure that there is effective communication within the project team and with external stakeholders.

In real life, there are many organizations that have a project board that is incapable of handling projects or is either inexperienced or not at all interested in the project itself. This is a serious issue and a major drawback that could sabotage the entire project and the team associated. Henceforth, a great project board is a must to ensure that the direction is on point and effective.

 2. The Project Assurance Role

It is the responsibility of the Project Board to ensure that the project performs well and the products/services are produced, this is known as the Project Assurance. The board usually checks it directly through the Project Manager. But in large projects, many of the board members are busy with their respective tasks. Thus, the board can delegate this responsibility to someone else. The basic method is to double-check the information and this is called Project Assurance.

  • It monitors the performance of the project and provides assistance to the Project Manager by giving insights on corporate-related issues. That’s how the board uses its Project Assurance responsibility to ensure that everything is going according to plan and the Project Manager is up to date with corporate regulations.
  • Different board members have their respective Project Assurance responsibilities. For example:
  1. The Executive is responsible for Business Assurance (Business Value)
  2. The Senior User is responsible for the User Assurance
  3. The Senior Supplier is responsible for the Supplier’s Assurance

 3. The Change Authority Role 

The responsibilities associated with the Change Authority are as follows:

  • This role lies under the Project Team Management.
  • The Project Board may decide if an individual should be appointed or an entire group is required to undertake this role.
  • The primary objective of  Change Authority is to review the requests for change or the off-specifications related to the project.
  • The Change Authority is also capable of delegating responsibility to a number of levels depending on the intensity and the complexity of the change.
Asperity of Change RequestDecided By
Level 1Project Support / Help Desk
Level 2Project Manager
Level 3Change Authority
Level 4Project Board
Level 5Corp / Programme Management
  • If smaller changes are expected in a project then the Project Board can handle them. But when many major changes are expected then it is more efficient to use a separate Change Authority group.
  • A separate Change Authority group simplifies the change process and saves the Project Board from all the hassle.

 4. The Project Manager Role

The Project Manager role has the following impact on the project:

  • Their primary objective is to manage the project on a daily basis. Their main focus is on the day-to-day progress of the project.
  • This particular position of a Project Manager can never be shared and only one is appointed for a particular project.
  • The Project Manager runs and supervises a project on behalf of the Project Board within a few specified constraints and collaborates throughout the project with the Project Board and the Project Assurance.
  • In the case of PRINCE2®, it is usually preferred that the Project Manager belongs to the customer side.
  • The Project is also responsible for running all the principal processes except Directing a Project Process (DP).
  • The Project Manager is responsible for the Project Support and assistance and also the Team Managers.
  • In several smaller projects, where there are no Team Managers, the Project Manager can manage the team members directly. Additionally, in cases where there is project support, the support task is completely on the shoulders of the Project Manager.

5. The Team Manager Role

The role of a Team Manager is actually optional and not necessary in smaller projects. The role  of a Team Manager only comes into the scene if:

  • The Project is quite huge and requires a lot of members. Thus, a number of Team Members would be required to manage and supervise several teams from different departments and expertise.
  • Team Managers are usually required for a specific skill, skillset or knowledge of the products to be produced. For example, a project requires an individual with great expertise of JAVA to provide assistance in handling and developing the applications or programs or researching on a particular product.
  • They are also the need of the hour when the project is affected by geographical reasons. The project might include remote teams that provide assistance from remote locations, then that particular remote team is managed by a Team Manager.
  • If the project is using an external company, then it would be easier to coordinate with the Team Manager rather than all the team members directly and individually.

6. The Project Support Role

The Project Support Role

The project support role offers the following services to the project:

  • The Project Support provides administrative services to provide assistance to the Project Manager in the form of filing, distributing documents, adding documents to an IT System, etc.
  • Project support also advises and offers guidance regarding the use of project management tools and configuration management.
  • The Project Support also provides additional assistance in planning and risk management. For example, keeping the planned documents up to date and also highlighting what has been completed and what aspects of the projects are delayed.
  • The prominent responsibility of the Project Support is Configuration Management and following the guidelines under the Configuration Management Strategy Document: it is one of the four strategy documents formulated at the beginning of the project.
  • The responsibility of the Project Support is under the authority of the Project manager. To put forward in simple words, the Project Manager is responsible for the administrative duties associated with the project. Therefore, this role is not optional, however, the Project Manager can delegate this responsibility to another person or group.
  • In a case, where the Project Manager is unable to delegate this role to someone else, it is the responsibility of the Project Manager to assume the role of the Project Support. This is the reason why we see many Project Managers working late in the evening and doing overtime. As they are trying to catch up on their administrative tasks and keep forgetting to plan all this in their normal working hours.

STAGE-WISE MANAGEMENT

A great way of handling a big and chunky task or project is to divide it into smaller and manageable fragments. This is the same methodology implemented in the PRINCE2® method of project management. But, instead of chunks or fragments, in PRINCE2® a different terminology is used, i.e. stages - Management Stages. The PRINCE2® methodology focuses on running and operating a project under a planned and controlled environment through a stage by stage basis.

These stages are separated and decided by the Project Board on the basis of Decision Points. After the completion of each stage, the Project Board assesses the performance of the previous stage, analyzes the plans for the next stage, and ultimately decides whether to proceed to the next stage or not. The higher the number of stages, the more control is possessed by the Project Board, but it also increases their workload. Fewer stages in a project require less amount of work from the Project Board which indicates that the Senior Management will have less control over the project.  

The division of a project into stages has some advantages as mentioned below:

  • It allows the project to be divided into smaller and simpler fragments that can be easily managed.
  • It leads to a high-level plan for the project and a very detailed Stage Plan.
  • It also incorporates learning from the previous stages while devising a plan for the upcoming stages.

There should be a minimum of two management stages in a project under a PRINCE2® project environment:

Stages in the project Environment

  • The Initiation Stage
  • The Management Stage

The Closing a Project process is the last part of the second stage in a two-stage project.

In this manner a particular PRINCE2® project is controlled, managed, and monitored on a stage by stage basis.

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