Successful projects are usually the result of careful planning and the talent and collaboration of a project’s team members. Projects can’t move forward without each of its key team members, but it’s not always clear who those members are, or what roles they play. Here, we’ll describe five roles – project manager, project team member, project sponsor, executive sponsor and business analyst – and describe their associated duties.
The project manager plays a primary role in the project, and is responsible for its successful completion. The manager’s job is to ensure that the project proceeds within the specified time frame and under the established budget, while achieving its objectives. Project managers make sure that projects are given sufficient resources, while managing relationships with contributors and stakeholders.
Project manager duties:
Develop a project plan
Manage deliverables according to the plan
Recruit project staff
Lead and manage the project team
Determine the methodology used on the project
Establish a project schedule and determine each phase
Assign tasks to project team members
Provide regular updates to upper management
Project Team Member
Project team members are the individuals who actively work on one or more phases of the project. They may be in-house staff or external consultants, working on the project on a full-time or part-time basis. Team member roles can vary according to each project.
Project team member duties may include:
Contributing to overall project objectives
Completing individual deliverables
Working with users to establish and meet business needs
Documenting the process
The project sponsor is the driver and in-house champion of the project. They are typically members of senior management – those with a stake in the project’s outcome. Project sponsors work closely with the project manager. They legitimize the project’s objectives and participate in high-level project planning. In addition, they often help resolve conflicts and remove obstacles that occur throughout the project, and they sign off on approvals needed to advance each phase.
Project sponsor duties:
Make key business decisions for the project
Approve the project budget
Ensure availability of resources
Communicate the project’s goals througout the organization
The executive sponsor is ideally a high-ranking member of management. He or she is the visible champion of the project with the management team and is the ultimate decision-maker, with final approval on all phases, deliverables and scope changes.
Executive sponsor duties typically include:
Carry ultimate responsibility for the project
Approve all changes to the project scope
Provide additional funds for scope changes
Approve project deliverables
The business analyst defines needs and recommends solutions to make an organization better. When part of a project team, they ensure that the project’s objectives solve existing problems or enhance performance, and add value to the organization. They can also help maximize the value of the project deliverables.
Business analyst duties:
Assist in defining the project
Gather requirements from business units or users
Document technical and business requirements
Verify that project deliverables meet the requirements
Test solutions to validate objectives
Boost Project Management Skills and Expand Career Options
Just as a successful project usually takes careful planning and preparation, so does a successful project management career. Today’s competitive business environment means that employers may look for project managers with proven skills – and they may seek out candidates with credentials such as the industry-respected Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification from the Project Management Institute.
Villanova University offers a Certificate in Applied Project Management online, so project management professionals can gain in-demand skills and prepare for the PMP® certification. When you’re planning your project management education, consider Villanova’s convenient and highly regarded certificate program, available 100% online.
Project Management Professional (PMP) and PMP are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.