Appoint the Executive and the Project Manager 

 February 27, 2016

By  Dave Litten

Executive and the Project Manager

This activity should be fairly obvious, but it is important to understand the reasons why it should happen first.


The project board Executive role will be the main decision maker within the project and should have the necessary authority to carry this out. It is important to understand that PRINCE2 uses the principle of roles not people (the individuals who fill each role). The executive also represents the interests of the business stakeholders; indeed, the executive owns the project Business Case and as such, will want to ensure that it represents value for money.

Project Manager responsibilities

The project must be managed on a day-by-day basis, and therefore a project manager is required. Put simply, the executive gives the orders, and the project manager does the running about!

The project manager is normally the individual who creates the Project Brief and of course, create the Initiation Stage Plan.

One of the first activities should be to review the project mandate and check that there is a clear understanding of the purpose and reasons for the project. This may entail talking with corporate or programme management to ensure that this is clear.

Executive responsibilities

The project mandate will normally name the project board executive, and it is usually the commissioning organization that will appoint the individual to this role. As part of this appointment it is important to understand the responsibilities of the executive and to prepare their role description.

As with any member of the project management team, each individual selected should be done on the basis of their suitability in terms of knowledge, skills, experience, authority, and commitment and availability to the project.

Therefore it is important to estimate the time and effort required for each role to ensure that the correct individual(s) have been selected. The executive will be selected from the project’s stakeholders, first ensuring their availability for the role. Ultimately the selected person needs to be assigned.

It is normally the executive who will now appoint the project manager including establishing their responsibilities. Again, a role description for the project manager needs to be created and agreement sought from corporate or programme management. Again, in a similar manner, the time and effort required for the project manager role will need to be estimated, and a suitable person confirmed along with their availability and acceptance of the role.

Once the selected person has been assigned then the appointment should be confirmed with corporate or programme management. The final important action is to create the Daily Log which is used as the project manager’s diary and would hold information that is not being captured elsewhere.

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Dave Litten

David spent 25 years as a senior project manager for USA multinationals, and has deep experience in project management. He now develops a wide range of Project Management Masterclasses, under the Projex Academy brand name. In addition, David runs project management training seminars across the world, and is a prolific writer on the many topics of project management.

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