Sunday, December 14, 2014

Balance the PRINCE2 Project Board

Categories of PRINCE2 StakeholdersResearch has shown that the most important factor to a project’s success is an engaged Executive with the authority to get things done. The PRINCE2 Project Board is not a democracy controlled by vote. The Executive, who is ultimately responsible, chairs the Project Board, but the Project Board needs to be balanced with all three stakeholder categories:
  • Business – The Executive representing the business needs
  • User – The Senior User representing the users of the project output.
  • Supplier – The Senior Supplier representing those who will create the project’s output. 
The Project Board is responsible for the overall direction and management of the Project. Some PRINCE2 projects struggle because the Project Board is not functioning well. Here are some of the pitfalls:
  • Imbalance. Ideally, you want the Project Board members to have close to the same level of authority in the organization. If any, the Executive should be the higher-ranking member of the project board. If the Senior Supplier is weak and the Senior User is strong, you might end up with unrealistically high ambitions on what the project can achieve. If the Senior Supplier is strong and the Senior User is weak, you might end up building something no one wants to use. 
  • Combined roles. It is possible to combine the Executive and Senior Supplier role, but usually not ideal. Do not try other combinations. 
  • Too narrow. If the scope is wide, you should consider having more than one Senior User. If you are implementing an EPR system, you will likely have several Senior Users. It is also common to have more than one Senior Supplier. If you have multiple Senior Users/Suppliers, it is OK to not have them all on the project board at once, but rather phase them in and out as project board members throughout the project phases when they have a contribution.
Have a look at the PRINCE2 Organization page if you want to read more about the roles in the PRINE2 project organization. Below you find a very short definition of the key PRINCE2 roles.
Project Board
The Project Board is responsible for the overall direction and management of the Project.

The Executive is ultimately responsible for the PRINCE2 project and for decisions in directing the work, supported by Senior User and Senior Supplier.

Senior User
The Senior User is responsible for specifying the needs of those who will use the PRINCE2 project’s products, commits user resources and monitors products against such requirements.

Senior Supplier
The Senior Supplier represents the interests of those designing, developing, facilitating, procuring and implementing the PRINCE2 project’s products.

Project Manager
The Project Manager has the authority to run the PRINCE2 project on a day-to-day basis within the given constraints.

Team Manager
The Team Manager ensures production of those products defined by the Project Manager to an appropriate quality, in a timescale and at a cost acceptable to the PRINCE2 Project Board.

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