Project Organisation Structure Summary
The Project Board & its Members
These notes provide an overview of the roles that exist within a project. Good project management practice requires the fulfilment of a number of generic, well-defined roles. For the project to be successful it is important to define these roles at the outset.
A project management structure is a temporary structure specifically designed to manage the project to its successful conclusion to meet the requirements defined in the Project Brief. The structure allows for channels of communication to decision-making forums and should be backed up by job definitions which specify the responsibilities, goals, limits of authority, relationships, skills, knowledge and experience required for all roles in the project organisation.
Some roles can be shared but a number cannot if they are to be undertaken effectively. The Project Executive, Senior User, Senior Supplier (i.e. the Project Board) and Project Manager roles cannot be shared or delegated.
The Project Board
The Project Board is the forum where senior management representatives of the Customer and Supplier come together to make decisions and commitments to the project. It consists of 3 roles:-
It is therefore a very small manageable group of senior managers that have the similar feature of being able to make decisions on behalf of their organisations / interests without reference back to those organisations whilst working within the tolerances of the Project Plan.
The Executive role must represent the customer interest of the project.
The Executive is ultimately responsible for the project and has to ensure that the project represents good value for money and balancing the needs of the business, user and supplier.
? Ensure that the project remains on target to deliver the products / outcomes described in the
? Ensure that project tolerance limits are defined in the project brief and refined in the Project
Initiation Document (PID)
? Approve the Business Case
? Authorise project expenditure
? Set stage tolerances (stages are partitions of the project with decision points, ideally with items
delivered. Progress from on stage to another requires Project Board authorisation, particularly
in taking stock of the project and deciding whether or not the business case is still viable). ? Brief corporate and programme management about project progress (NB – this is not the job of
the project manager who provides the information for the Executive to report). ? Recommend future actions to programme management if the project tolerances are likely to be
? Organise and Chair Project Board meetings
? Approve the End Project Report and Lessons Learnt Report
? Approve the sending of notification of project closure to corporate and programme
Project Board Roles (Summary) – Page 1 of 2 thChris Greening, ICT Programme Manager - 27 Feb 2005
The Senior User represents the people who will use the final product – those who must specify the
requirements of the end product.
The senior User is not a ‘passive checking’ role – the Senior User is responsible for committing
user resources and therefore must have the authority, in liaison with the user organisation, to identify and commit those resources in a timely manner.
The Senior User commonly represents a number of peers and it is therefore useful to have a User Group to consider all the customers issues on behalf of the Project Board and from which the Senior User is drawn.
? Ensure the desired outcome of the project is correctly and completely defined – and therefore
approve product descriptions
? Promote and maintain focus on the desired project outcome from the point of view of the end
? Ensure that any user resources are required for the project are made available ? Sign off the products once they are offered for consideration
? Prioritise any proposed changes potentially for recommendation to programme management. ? Resolve any conflicts in user requirements and priorities
? Provide the user view on follow up actions at project closure
The Senior Supplier represents the developer interests of the project. In NHS system projects where external systems are being purchased this is commonly represented by a senior NHS ICT manager with a close working relationship to the supplier senior manager. It is the NHS manager who sits on the Project Board, although the supplier will commonly be invited to parts of the Project Board meetings to ensure agreements for actions can be made quickly.
? Agree objectives for supplier
? Recommend the technical approach to the project.
? Ensure that the supplier resources required for the project to deliver the above are made
? Approve product descriptions on behalf of the supplier.
? Contribute supplier opinions on proposed changes.
? Brief non technical management on supplier aspects of the project.
Project Manager (included briefly here merely for completeness)
NOTE – The Project Manager is NOT a member of the Project Board, but will commonly attend
project meetings to provide updates on progress and assist the Project Board in making decisions in a timely manner.
NOTE – The Project Manager represents the Customer organisation and therefore must be
appointed from the customer organisation.
The project manager is given authority to run the project on a day to day basis within the tolerances set by the Project Board.
The prime responsibility of the Project Manager is to produce a final product which is capable of achieving the benefits defined in the Business Case.
Project Board Roles (Summary) – Page 2 of 2 thChris Greening, ICT Programme Manager - 27 Feb 2005