Published here September, 2006. 

PRINCE2 Concepts: Project Management Team Roles and Responsibilities
PRINCE2 Concepts: Document Description Outlines
Downside: Product and Project Life Spans | Downside: Project Manager's Responsibilities
Control | Downside: Project Management Product Description Documents

In Part 1 of our two-part paper we introduced the PRINCE2 project management methodology, the book's structure and what we liked. In this Part 2 we'll cover some special concepts specific to the methodology, some of the downsides we see from our perspective, and we'll finish with our summary conclusions.

PRINCE2 Concepts: Project Management Team Roles and Responsibilities

PRINCE2 defines ten project "roles" rather than "positions" on the project team. These roles may be allocated, shared, divided or combined according to the project's needs.[1] In addition to the expected roles of Executive, Project Board, Project Manager, Team Manager mentioned earlier, PRINCE2 introduces a number of distinctive roles to facilitate its methodology. For example:

Project Support Office (PSO) represents a central pool of skilled resources such as those described in the manual, including clerical support, Configuration Librarians and even PRINCE2 consultants to ensure the proper use of the methodology. These roles may support either a single large project or a number of projects in a program.[2] A number of responsibilities are suggested in the role descriptions such as planning and scheduling, estimating, forecasting and project accounting.

The Executive chairs the Project Board and is the single individual with ultimate responsibility for ensuring that a project meets its objectives and delivers the projected benefits. The Senior User and the Senior Supplier support him or her on the Project Board.[3]

The Senior User is responsible for the specification of the needs of all those who will use the product(s), commitment of any required user resources, for user liaison with the project team and for monitoring that the solution will meet those needs within the constraints of the Business Case in terms of quality, functionality and ease of use.[4]

The Senior Supplier represents the interests of those designing, developing, facilitating, procuring, implementing and possibly operating and maintaining the project products.[5] The senior supplier is accountable for the quality of products delivered by the supplier(s) and must have the authority to commit or acquire the supplier resources required.

Note that more than one person may represent both the Senior User and the Senior Supplier roles and both roles liaise directly with the team members who are responsible for producing the project's products. Therefore, great care must obviously be taken to ensure that the project manager's authority on the project is not circumvented and that his or her ability to manage the project is not thereby undermined.

Project Assurance covers all interests of a project, including the business, user and supplier assurance responsibilities of the Project Board. According to the size and complexity of the project, the Project Board members may carry out these responsibilities themselves or delegate some or all of the assurance work.[6] PRINCE2 requires that this responsibility is independent of the project manager and therefore cannot be delegated there.

The Configuration Librarian role is the "custodian and guardian" responsible for all master copies of the project's products including the project's issue log.[7] It is a part of Project Support. Although this role refers primarily to management documents and product documentation, rather than physical objects, nonetheless it is not a trivial task on most projects. It includes controlling the receipt, identification, storage and retrieval of all such documents, providing information on the status of all projects, as well as numbering, recording, distributing and maintaining the project's issues records.

PRINCE2 does not provide guidance on people management, the ever-popular subject in North America. It does not do so on the grounds that this topic is adequately covered in other texts.[8]


1. Ibid, p395
2. Ibid, p407
3. Ibid, p397
4. Ibid, p399
5. Ibid, p400
6. Ibid, p403
7. Ibid, p406
8. Ibid, p8
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