Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Combining PRINCE2 Roles? Watch Out!!

One of the PRINCE2 strengths is the clarity of the roles. One of the seven PRINCE2 principles is to make sure you have defined and agreed roles and responsibilities.

In some PRINCE2 projects, it is tempting to have one single person covering more than one role. This can make sense if the project is of limited size or a certain individual has a unique combination of skills you want to get the most out of. But be aware, there are some traps:

Let us first start at the PRINCE2 Project Board level. Can any of the project board roles successfully be combined? The biggest trap of them all is combining the Senior Supplier with one of the other two PRINCE2 Project Board roles. The Senior Supplier secures the necessary resources and is accountable for the quality of products delivered. Combining this responsibility with owning the Business Case (Executive) or specifying the needs (Senior User) is a bad idea as you lose «checks and balances» in directing the project. Combining the Executive and Senior User roles is easier to combine and can in some cases make sense.

Some project managers might have specialist background relevant for the project. Maybe the project manager has a previous career in engineering, marketing or design. Should the project manager contribute and help with the deliverables if competent to do so? If it is the right priority for the company overall – yes, maybe. In a small organization running minor projects, it is more likely to make sense to combine roles, but in larger organizations with larger projects, it should be avoided. Regardless, your alarm bells should be ringing and you should make sure you get appropriate assurance mechanisms in place.   

If the project manager role is combined with a team manager role, it is important to make sure there is clarity on how the Senior Supplier intend to secure the quality delivered and which discipline in the company the project manager is representing in the team manager role.

General PRINCE2 HOW2 recommendation: Let project managers be project managers and team managers be team manager.

Roles reminder:

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

PRINCE2 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 Project Board

Read more about PRINCE2 roles on the PRINCE2 Organization page
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1 comment:

  1. Good points. I've managed a project where the Executive and Senior Supplier roles were combined, and I agree that it is not a good idea.