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A project manager must clearly show the roles and responsibilities of management, team members and other stakeholders, and may use a responsibility assignment matrix to do so.

The role of the project sponsor/initiator

The Role of the Project Sponsor/Initiator A basic definition of a sponsor is one who provides the financial resources for the project, but the exam will attribute more duties than just providing the financial resources to the sponsor.

If the project is being done for an outside customer (you are the seller) the customer may fulfill the role of the sponsor as well as customer, and some of these functions would be taken over by senior management in the performing organization. (Management is anyone senior to the project manager in the organization(s).)

Think about your management as you read this. Do they know what their role is? Do you? How can you help them to better understand their role? Without having the sponsor or someone in management performing the following functions, the project will suffer, wasting time and resources. Management must serve as a protector of the project.

Read over the following list carefully to understand the role and characteristics of the sponsor and/or senior management in an organization.

Since the list is so long and since most project managers have large gaps in their knowledge here, I have organized this section by process groups.

  • During or prior to project initiating
  • Has requirements that must be met
  • Is a project stakeholder
  • Provide funding
  • Provide statement of work
  • Provide information for preliminary project scope statement
  • May dictate milestones, key events or project end date (along with customer)
  • Issue the project charter
  • Give the project manager authority as outlined in the project charter
  • Help organize work into appropriate projects
  • Set priorities between projects
  • Determine the priorities between the “triple constraint” components
  • Encourage the finalization of requirements and scope by the stakeholders
  • During project planning
  • Provide the project team with time to plan
  • May review the WBS
  • Supply lists of risks
  • Determine the reports needed by management to oversee the project
  • Provide expert judgment
  • Help evaluate tradeoffs during crashing, fast tracking and re-estimating
  • Approve the final project management plan
  • During project executing and project monitoring and controlling
  • Approve changes to the project charter
  • Protect the project from outside influences and changes
  • Enforce quality policies
  • Provide expert judgment
  • Help evaluate tradeoffs during crashing, fast tracking and re-estimating
  • Resolve conflicts that extend beyond the project manager’s control
  • Approve or reject changes or authorize someone representing them to do so (change control board)
  • May direct that a quality assurance review be performed
  • Clarify scope questions
  • During project closing
  • Provide formal acceptance of the deliverables (if he is the customer)
  • Support the collection of historical records from past projects

The role of the team

The Role of the Team The team is a group of people who will complete work on the project. The team members can change throughout the project as people are added and removed from the project. Team members may have some project management responsibilities in addition to responsibilities for implementing the work.

See the role of the project manager.

Generally it is the team’s role to help plan what needs to be done (WBS) and to create time estimates for their work packages or activities. During the project executing and monitoring and controlling process groups, the team members simply complete work packages or activities and help look for deviations from the project management plan.

More specifically, the team may help:

  • Identify and involve stakeholders
  • Execute the project management plan to accomplish work defined in the project scope statement
  • Attend project team meetings
  • Process improvement
  • Comply with quality and communications plans
  • Enforce ground rules

Depending on the size and complexity of the project, the team role might also include helping the project manager do the following:

  • Define the product of the project
  • Identify and analyze constraints and assumptions
  • Define requirements
  • Determine the definition of quality on the project and how it will be met
  • Create the work breakdown structure
  • Decompose work packages they are responsible for into schedule activities
  • Identify dependencies and create the network diagram
  • Provide time and cost estimates
  • Identify risks
  • Perform qualitative and quantitative risk analysis and risk response planning
  • Determine time and cost reserves for the project
  • Produce project performance reports
  • Measure project performance
  • Determine the need for corrective action
  • Close out phases of the project
  • Select appropriate processes

The role of the functional manager

The Role of the Functional Manager The individual who manages and “owns” the resources in a specific department such as IT, engineering, public relations, or marketing and generally directs the technical work of individuals from the functional area working on the project.

The amount of involvement of the functional manager depends on the form of organizational structure. In a matrix organization, the responsibility to direct the work of individuals is shared with the project manager.

In a projectized organization, the project manager does all of the directing. The project manager does little directing in a functional organization. To avoid conflict, the project manager and functional manager must coordinate their respective needs regarding the use of resources to complete project work. It is generally the responsibility of the project manager to manage this relationship.

The specific activities performed by the functional manager vary greatly based on the type of organizational structure as well as the type of project.

They MAY include:

  • Assign specific individuals to the team and negotiate with the project manager regarding resources
  • Let the project manager know of other projects that may impact the project
  • Participate in the initial planning until work packages or activities are assigned
  • Approve the final project management plan during project management plan development
  • Approve the final schedule during schedule development
  • Recommend corrective actions
  • Assist with problems related to team member performance
  • Improve staff utilization

The role of the project manager

The Role of the Project Manager The project manager is responsible for managing the project to meet project objectives.

Some project management activities could be completed by team members. Whenever this is the case, the PMBOK® Guide refers to these people as the project management team. In order to assume this role, team members must have project management training. To avoid confusion, this course refers only to project manager or team.

People have failed the exam due to a lack of understanding of what is the project manager’s role! Ask yourself whether you are able to do the things listed throughout this course. Do you have the knowledge, ability and authority? Do you really plan and control your projects? Are you the one person really in charge of the project?

In today’s project environment, most people managing projects do not realize they are lacking knowledge of what good project management involves. Many companies also do not understand what project management is and why it is so important. Many people with the title of project manager are not really project managers at all, but some form of project coordinator (see the Framework lesson). It is important that you not only understand the project manager’s role but also all the other roles on projects!

The project manager’s role is described throughout this course. The project manager’s level of authority can vary depending on the form of organization.

On this exam, such authority generally means the project manager:

  • Is assigned to the project no later than project initiating
  • Is in charge of the project, but not necessarily the resources
  • Does not have to be a technical expert
  • Leads and directs the project planning efforts
  • Must realize that an unrealistic schedule is his fault and know how to handle those situations
  • Understands and enforces professional and social responsibility
  • Determines and delivers required levels of quality
  • Assists the team and other stakeholders during project executing
  • Creates a change control system
  • Maintains control over the project by measuring performance, determining if corrective action is needed,
    recommending corrective actions, preventive actions and defect repair
  • Must have the authority and accountability necessary to accomplish the project management work
  • Must say “no” when necessary
  • Is the only one who can integrate the project components into a cohesive whole that meets the customer’s
  • Spends more time being proactive than in dealing with problems (reacting)
  • Is accountable for project failure
  • Performs or delegates most of the activities outlined in this course

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