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PRINCE2 - Organisation part 2

The customer / supplier environment

The type of customer relationship with the supplier may affect the way the project is organised and controlled.

  • A customer may have an in-house supplier. In this case, it is still possible that separate budgets may exist which will require separate Business Cases.
  • Projects may be sponsored by a single or multiple customers.
  • Projects may be run with one or multiple suppliers
  • There are situations where a consortium of equal customers and / or suppliers versus those that involve a ‘legal’ hierarchy of either:
  1. Projects supplied by an in-house source (part of the parent organisation)
  2. Those with a mixture of in-house and external suppliers

The direction of a project, as set by the Project Board, must reflect the interests of the Business, User and Supplier.

If it is not possible to consider having the supplier on the Project Board the interests of the supplier can be represented by the Senior Supplier position.
This will help create a common platform for decision making that will affect all three parties. The Senior Supplier role must have the authority to deploy the necessary resources.

Private meetings outside of the Project Board might be held when certain aspects of confidentiality or conflicts of interest are present.
The results of these meetings can be brought before the Project Board.

The project management team

The Project Board

They are responsible for committing people, cash and equipment to the project and hence must have authority to do so.
PRINCE2® encourages management by exception which will minimise the use of time of senior managers who may be on the Project Board.
They will make decisions, as necessary at key intervals in the project.

There are 3 major roles on the Project Board.

  • Executive
  • Senior User
  • Senior Supplier

Ideally, these roles should be filled by persons who are able to stay with the project for its full life.

The Project Board is appointed by corporate or programme management.
The Project Board will be responsible for the project with the boundaries of instructions set out in the Project Mandate set by corporate or programme management.

The Project Board will approve all major plans and any deviations from agreed Stage Plan.
It will sign-off on the completion of each stage as well as the start of the next one.

It will approve the appointment and responsibilities of the Project Manager.
The Project Board will arbitrate on any conflicts that cannot be resolved within the project and negotiate solutions as necessary.

The Project Board ensures that the project remains on course to deliver the right quality of product that will meet the Business Case as defined in the Project Initiation Document.

Project Assurance will be the responsibility of the Project Board unless the size and complexity of the project warrants appointment of specific additional resources.

The Project Board also takes on the communication role to the outside world as the voice of the project.

The Executive is responsible to the business as the key decision maker who is supported by the Senior User and Senior Supplier.


This position is ultimately accountable for the project.

The key responsibilities are:

Development and continuation of the project Business Case

Any planned change as a result of carrying out the project should be aligned with the business.
This should be reflected in a viable Business Case.
The Executive is responsible for raising the necessary investment for the project.
This position must ensure that the business benefits will be realised.

Project organisation structure and plans

The Executive must ensure the existence of a coherent organisation and logical plan(s) and will get involved with project initiation

Monitoring and control of progress

This is carried out at a strategic level and the Project Manager will do this at an operational level.
The Executive will provide advice, decision making and communication with senior stakeholders for any Project Issues raised.
The Project Manager will raise regular reports, for example, Highlight Reports and present them to the Executive and other Project Board members.

Problem Referral

The Executive is responsible for making sure that communication lines are in place with stakeholders and project sponsors.
This will be important for referring serious issues upward in a timely manner.

Formal closure

The Executive is responsible for signing off projects and making sure that all lessons are learned and documented. He or she will make sure that the aims and objectives of the project have been met. Whilst some business benefits may have been realised they will not be fully know until the post-project review has taken place.

Post-project review

The Executive makes sure that this meeting will take place to see if the benefits as indicated by the Business Case have been realised.
The Executive will chair the meeting and make sure that the relevant personnel are either present or have been consulted.
The result of the meeting is presented to the stakeholders.

Senior User

This person is represents the interests of users of the final product(s) of the project:

  • Those who will use it to reach an objective
  • Those who will use the product to achieve a benefit
  • Those who will be affected by the product

The role ensures that any product supplied by the User is satisfactory.

This would include:

  1. The product has been adequately defined in a clear and accurate manner.
  2. What is produced is ‘fit for purpose’.
  3. Monitoring that the solution will meet the user needs.

The Senior User is responsible for:

  • Providing user resources
  • Ensuring that the project produces products that meet user requirements
  • Ensuring that the products provide the expected user benefits

The role may need more than one person to help deliver the above requirements.
If this is the case the number of people should be kept to a minimum.

Senior Supplier

The Senior Supplier must ensure that all the requirements of the Senior User are met and is accountable for the quality of all products Created by the supplier(s). This is carried out by ensuring:

  • Proposals for the designing and development are realistic
  • The satisfaction of the Senior User will be accomplished within cost and time constraints for which the Executive is accountable

The role represents the interests of those designing, facilitating, procuring and implementing.
The role must have the authority to commit or acquire the necessary supplier resources.

The role has responsibility for the supplier’s Business Case.
This role may require more than one person to cover all interests as for the Senior User.
Similarly, the number of people should be kept to a minimum.


The Project Assurance roles are very important and if no individuals are appointed this will become the responsibility of the Project Board. How this will be carried out within the Project Board will need a lot of consideration.

Roles may be combined but not eliminated.

The roles of Senior User and Senior Supplier will tend to have a conflict of interests and should not be combined.

The Project Board is the key decision maker and as such should represent the interests of the business, user and supplier.

Other specialists may also be included, for example, a customer as part of a programme as their as their input at the start may be invaluable.

Project Assurance roles might be influenced by the customer or the supplier depending on the needs of the particular project.

The supplier may wish to appoint a business assurance role to monitor their own Business Case.

In order to improve the decision making process of the Project Board try to keep the participants down to a minimum.
If necessary, a separate meeting could occur, representing users for example. The chairperson of this meeting could liaise with the Project Board. The same principle could apply where there are multiple supplier interests.

No one party should be able to overwhelm another group the Project Board should be balanced.

On occasion it is advisable to invite other individuals for their specialist input on an ad hoc basis.

All Project Board members must have training as to their responsibilities and the procedures.

In some cases the project will be part of a series of projects. In this case it is important to establish who is the end user.
Is it the nest project in the chain or not?

All Project Board members should be aware of their responsibilities before taking on the role and their level of authority should reflect the size of the project.

When a project a part of a programme the latter will appoint the Project Board Executive and may appoint the other members.
If not, and this is left up to the Executive, the advice and approval of the programme should be sought.

It may be necessary to a have a programme representative on the Project Board (or invited to observe).
This will give the programme assurance that their needs are being met and decision making affecting the programme may be more rapid.

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.