PRINCE2 Roles and Responsibilities 

 October 7, 2021

By  Dave Litten

PRINCE2 roles and responsibilities

The structure and responsibilities within a PRINCE2 project organisation. PRINCE2 does not define management jobs – but roles that can be allocated one-to-one, or shared/combined

The project organization is set up, initially in the Starting Up a Project process, and then refined/added in the Initiating a Project Process in the Initiation Stage.

Corporate, Programme Management or the Customer are at the highest level. They trigger the start of the project by issuing the Project Mandate and appoint the Project Board Executive.

The Executive will appoint the Project Manager, and together they assign the remaining roles – the Executive for project board level, and the Project Manager at Team level.

Be clear, PRINCE2 roles and responsibilities for the Project Management Team only consist of the Project Board, the Project Manager, and Team Manager roles – NOT the specialist team themselves.

Prince2 Roles And Responsibilities

The Project Board is responsible for the Directing level with a PRINCE2 Project.

It is responsible for the overall direction and management of the project, is accountable for the success of the project within constraints set out by corporate, programme, or the customer

They are the owners/ultimate authority – accountable for project success, the project’s ‘voice’ to the outside world, and responsible for effective delegation, decision-making, and communication.

PRINCE2 who is on the project board?

The Project Board has three Roles – Executive, Senior User, and the Senior Supplier.

They agree on Stage completion, authorizes the Next Stage Plan and its resources, approves major Plans, and sets Stage Tolerance. They also provide the project resources and allocate the funds.

A good Project Board should display appropriate authority, sufficient credibility, the ability to delegate, and adequate availability (the right knowledge, skills, and experience too!)

Beware of large boards – communication and attendance can cause problems, and the Project Board may be filled with one or more people

The Project Board

  • Approves major plans and resources
  • Approves the authorized start and completion of management stages
  • Authorize any deviation beyond stage level tolerance
  • Communicates with other stakeholders
  • Ensures full stakeholder involvement and representation
  • Provides unified direction to the Project Manager

What are the trade-offs of project board size? – communication, attendance, decision-making

How do you deal with lots of folks filling the user & supplier roles? Have off-line group meetings with a rep to the project board

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Project Assurance

Within PRINCE2 roles and responsibilities, Provides Asssurance literally assures the project’s stakeholders that the project is being conducted properly, and is independent of the Project Manager, Project Support, Team Managers, and project teams

Prince2 Roles And Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the Project Board – undertaken from within the project

The Project Board could use Quality Assurance to provide Project Assurance

Quality Assurance

Provides assurance to corporate or programme management that the project is being conducted properly, and is performed independently from the project management team

It is the responsibility of corporate or programme management – therefore external to the project. Quality Assurance would require effective Project Assurance to indicate that the project is being run properly

  • The Senior Supplier Project Board member represents the specialist teams
  • The Senior User Project Board role is there to protect the expected benefits
  • Supplier Assurance checks specialist skills and experience
  • Business Assurance verifies the project will deliver value for money

The Executive is ultimately in charge of the project

PRINCE2 who writes the business case, and who is responsible for business case

The Business Case. Provides the costs, benefits, expected dis-benefits, risks, and timescales against which viability is justified and continuing viability is designed

The Benefits Management Approach. Defines management actions taken to ensure that the project outcomes are achieved and confirmation the project benefits are realized

The Project Board Executive owns the Business Case; however, the Project Manager may develop it or update it on behalf of the Executive.

The Business Case is used during a management stage whenever looking at the impact of issues and risks.

Prince2 Roles And Responsibilities - Prince2 Business Case

The Change Authority

This is often misunderstood.

By default, it is the responsibility of the Project Board, however, they may delegate some, or all of it to a separate entity – here called the Change Authority.

If they do choose to delegate, then the ‘rules of engagement’ need to be defined, since the change authority has full authority to decide on changes, and the Project Board may want to retain ‘important’ changes themselves and delegate the rest to the change authority.

Examples here might be the cost of the change/off-specification or the need for technical knowledge.

A Change authority can be the Project Board members themselves but may delegate it.

When would you want a separate change authority from the Project Board? When there are likely to be lots of changes, the requirements are unclear, or a change of scope is likely

The Project manager

The Project Manager is responsible for the day-to-day management of the project within the project board constraints, and ensures the project produces the required products within time, cost, quality, scope, benefits, and risk performance goals

The specialist team and team manager are responsible for delivering the project’s products to appropriate quality within a specified timescale and cost.

Depending on project size and complexity, the authority and responsibility for planning and managing the specialist team to produce the products, may be delegated to a Team Manager

The Project Manager is responsible for the project management team structure during the project
The Team Manage

Another source of confusion.

The Team Manager roles is NOT optional. It is either undertaken by the Project Manager or delegated. The same is true of Project Support, by default the Project Manager does it.

PRINCE2 which roles can be combined?

At Project Board level you need to be aware of conflict of interest, so combining the Senior Supplier and Senior User roles would not be recommended!

Since the Executive owns the business case (the customers business case, NOT the suppliers), then combining the Executive with the Senior User would be fine.

Care needs to be taken with Project Assurance, because they perform “audits”, they must be independent from the Project Manager, Team Manager, and Project Support (you can’t have someone supporting you and auditing you are the same time!)

The Project Manager and Team Manager roles can be carried out by the Project Manager, and the Project Manager can do their own support (admin, etc.)

When combining or sharing roles, what is NOT allowed?

  • The Project Board Executive and Project Manager cannot be combined
  • The Project Board Executive accountability can’t be delegated
  • Project assurance can’t be given to the Project Manager, Team Manager, or Project Support due to a conflict of interest.
  • REMEMBER: roles can be combined – but not eliminated

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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