Prince2 header
products page

PRINCE2 - Starting up a Project (SU) part 3

Designing a Project Management Team (SU1)

Fundamental principles

  • The project must have the correct people in place with the authority, responsibility and knowledge to make decisions
  • The project management team should reflect all interested parties, for example, business, user and suppliers
  • The project management needs a range of skills that must be present in the project management team
  • All the roles as given in the component on Organisation should be filled.


Once the Executive and Project Manager are in place the project can be reviewed for size, complexity and areas impacted by the final outcome.
Then the project management team can be considered to represent all interests.
There will be considerable overlap with the next sub-process Appointing a Project Management Team (SU3).

Process description

The objectives are:

  • The project management team structure is designed according to the size and nature of the project and the groups involved
  • Identify candidates for each of the roles on the project management team
  • Determine the responsibilities and requisite skills for the roles
  • If the project is part of a programme they may have already established the Project Board and much of this process will be irrelevant.
  • However, they may leave it to the Executive.

The project management team structure is described in the component Organisation and should be used for this sub-process.

These steps are compulsory:

  • Identify candidates for the Project Board roles and create the job descriptions
  • Assess whether any members of the Project Board will delegate any of their assurance responsibilities. This will allow the Project Manager to consider others for these roles. This will need to be reviewed after the Project Board appointments.
  • Will the project need Team Managers or will the Project Manager carry out these roles?
  • Check the Project Manager role definition for the need for an Project Support roles required. This is shown in file ‘Project manager.doc’ in the product package
  • Will roles be for individuals, shared or combined? Assign names for all roles. What time and effort will be required for each role?
  • Identify who will need to approve these appointments in the next sub-process

Information from the Project Brief and Project Approach may be needed to complete this sub-process.


The Executive will take specific responsibility for the Project Board design.
The Executive and the Project Manager are both responsible for the design of the Project Management Team.

Information needs
Management informationUsageExplanation
Management informationInputSpecifies the existing agreed responsibilities to avoid gaps / overlaps
Agreed Executive and Project Manager job descriptionsInputIndicates the likely user and customer interests
Project management team structureOutputThe forms the basis of discussion with the appointees and with the senior management
Draft job descriptions for the remaining members of the project management teamOutputReady for discussion and approval in sub-process SU3

These are given in tabular form in the file ‘designing a project management team.doc’ in the product package.

Key criteria

  • Has the customer and supplier resident quality assurance and internal audit functions been catered for?
  • Does the project design balance with the overall projected cost, criticality and importance of the project?
  • Can the proposed Project Board members make the commitments required of them?
  • Have all the roles and responsibilities been allocated? If not, are the exclusions justified?
  • Does the design allocate roles and responsibilities to individuals with the requisite knowledge, time and authority to carry them out?
  • Are all relevant stakeholders represented in the project management team?
  • How can PRINCE2® adapt the need for supplier or customers wishing to use their own specific control models?
  • Does the project management team structure fit in with, and support, any programme management structure?
  • If the project is part of a programme, is there to be programme representation on the Project Board or as some part of the project management team?
  • Do any assurance and support roles fit into any overall programme or strategy assurance and support functions?

The user and operational interests that will be impacted by the projects product(s) should be considered for Project Board presentation.

The Project Board should not be too large to improve decision making. Try to keep it to 3 to 6 people maximum.
If this is not possible set up a user group with a spokesperson who can attend the Project Board on behalf of the group, for example as a Senior User.

Some appointments may need to be made during initiation or at the beginning of a stage.

The Senior User is responsible for the quality testing on behalf of the user and / or customer. This should be considered if any delegation of assurance responsibilities is being considered by the Senior User.

The project should not be adversely affected by delays in customer or supplier management chains. Consider this when making appointments for the Project Board.

When a third part is involved in funding the project they should have representation on the Project Board.

If the project is part of a programme it may be appropriate to have a programme representative on the Project Board.
This should be established in establishing the communication process.

It may be that the supplier role cannot be identified in the early stages. This may arise if the project is being put out to tender or the Project Approach dictates this. In this situation consider using a member of the purchasing department to act as the Senior Supplier in the interim.

You made need to use a supplier forum if there are a number of them on a major project.
A representative from this group can them be Senior Supplier on the Project Board.

This product contains EVERYTHING in the publications:

Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2 - 2005 edition
Managing successful Projects with PRINCE2 – 2009 edition
Directing Projects with PRINCE2.
The Complete Project Management package.

And much more besides - at a fantastic price.