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The Alternative Board Blog

What Roles Do a Project Management Team Need to Succeed?

Dec. 5, 2012 | Posted by The Alternative Board
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Thus far, we have created our Project Scope, and have created the project Success Criteria. The next step in the project process is to assemble the Project Team. Before selecting individuals, the first thing to do is to define the roles. For a typical small business project, the key roles are:

Project Manager:

The individual responsible for guiding the project team. The project manager is responsible for coordinating all project activities within the specified project parameters, (scope, budget, etc) and for meeting project success criteria.

Customer:

The ultimate recipient of the project. The customer determines the success criteria, and ultimately decides if the criteria has been met.

Analyst:

The analyst is the person responsible for understanding the problem or opportunity that the project is planning to address, and for defining the solution that will ultimately be achieved. The analyst must have a deep understanding of your business. Analysts also need to be good communicators, and exceptional writers.

Implementer:

This is a catch-all term for a project specific role.  For a software project, this will be the programmer(s). For a process improvement project, this will be the process engineer(s). The implementer will implement the bulk of the work needed to complete the project scope.

Quality Assurance:

Also known as testers. This is the person who will examine the work done by the implementer, and determine whether the project meets the project scope. A fundamental rule to follow, even for the smallest projects,  is always ensure that the quality assurance staff are distinct from the implementer(s).

Stakeholder:

The individual or group of people, internal or external to the organization, who are impacted by, or can impact, the outcomes of the project. Typically, individuals filling other roles on the project team are not considered stakeholders.

Trainer:

The person who will be responsible for training customers on the new solution. It's good practice to involve the trainer throughout the project; inclusion ensures that the trainer will be as knowledgeable as possible once they start training.

Vendor:

All external vendors involved in supplying technology or services for the project.
 
Don't be intimidated by this list of roles. In fact, this list of roles is quite small. For larger projects, there are many additional roles. For small businesses, an individual may play several of these roles.
 

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For Project Tweet, the roles will be filled as follows:
 
McKenzie Rogers, owner of Hummingbird Deliveries, will play many roles. She will serve as project manager, stakeholder, and quality assurance. It's not ideal that the project manager and stakeholder roles are filled by a single person, since this has the feel of the fox guarding the hen house.  But for small companies, and for relatively simple projects, one person acting as project manager and stakeholder is fairly common.
 
The dispatcher will serve as the customer.  He will work with Rogers to specify the success criteria, and will ultimately determine whether these criteria have been met.
 
The other office employee will serve as the analyst and implementer. She will do all of the work activities required to complete this project.
 
On this project, there is no Trainer, and there are no external Vendors involved.
 
One final piece of advice in assembling the project team is to ensure that all team members have the capacity to do the project work. Over-extension is a common small business project mistake.  If all  of your team members already have a full plate, don't make the mistake of just adding the project to everyone's work load, and expecting that there will be no impact to their existing responsibilities. Something will need to give. Either operational tasks will get dropped, or the project will not be successful. Be sure to re-allocate tasks so that all project team members will be suitably dedicated to the project.

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Written by The Alternative Board

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