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For a project to be successful there must be a clear definition of the roles in the project and the specific responsibilities and accountabilities for those roles. Before roles can be assigned there must be a clear understanding of the context of the project environment with respect to the strategic aim of the project.

As a rule, projects managed using the PM4SD approach model take on a customer/supplier environment where it is clear who will specify the expected results and provide the investment and who will provide the resource commitment to develop the project’s products. Once established, the context is used to identify any people with possible conflicts of interest in order to avoid using them in the choice of people on the Project Team.

A PM4SD project should always clearly be able to distinguish the four interests that drive it, the Strategic (or business) interest, the Client (or User) interest, the Resourcing (or supplier) interest and the Sustainability interest.

These four interests must always be adequately represented within the Project Management team and specifically by the roles covering the decision making process (Project Board) as the decisions are made to protect and satisfy each individual interest. As a general definition of the Organisation component we could say that for each project to be successful it needs a representative Project Management team which must:

  1. Represent the Business, User, Supplier and Sustainability interest
  2. Have clearly defined, understood and accepted roles and responsibilities
  3. Undergo periodic reviews to ascertain its effectiveness or any need for changes to take place
  4. Have a clearly defined and followed communication plan with a clear communication hierarchy between the members of the team.

As mentioned in chapter two a project could be part of a larger strategic endeavour and as such its Organisation might be heavily dependent (if not part itself) of a larger Programme, Corporate or Multi-Organisational entity. However, the PM4ESD model proposes a clearly defined Organisation structure for its projects, based on the PRINCE2® Project Management Team Structure and Roles.

A project team must reflect the various levels of Organisational responsibility taking part in a project and will have a minimum (four) of recognisable Organisation levels covering the internal stakeholders involvement in the project:

  1. Strategy and Policy making level (covered by Corporate or Programme Management)
  2. Directing level (covered by the Project Board)
  3. Managing level (covered by the PM and Project Support)
  4. Delivering level (covered by the Team Manager)

Outside the four levels presented those parties which may have an active interest (whether positive or negative) in the project are all considered as external stakeholders and although they are not part of the project management team they must be appropriately identified and assessed in terms of their interest and their needs. To help the PM to link the various level of Organisation PM4ESD proposes a clearly defined Communication Plan to be tailored to the needs of the project and its stakeholders.


Of the four levels of Organisation identified, levels 2, 3 and 4 constitute the Project Management Team. The structure of the PM4SD project team is a strictly hierarchical one with clearly identified dependencies and communication/reporting lines and with detailed roles and responsibilities to cover any eventuality that may arise during a project.

It is important to stress that the project management team is composed of roles rather than people, a factor that helps with creating a team as roles can be easily shared or combined to suit different needs in different projects (the same person can wear at the same time a PM hat as well as a Team Managers one).

However in order to avoid conflicts of interest, some of the roles must be kept separate (Insurance roles should at all times be kept independent fro the PM and TM roles to ensure unbiased assessment and guidance during the project).


The Project Executive is the role ultimately responsible for the project. This is the role covering the strategic interests of the project and the role which owns the business case for the project. The executive is responsible for the decision making process as he has the highest authority on the board when decisions need to be taken in a conflicting environment. The Executive is also responsible for securing the Funding for the project and for ensuring that the project is in line with the strategic objectives to be met and with the delivery of the expected benefits throughout the project’s life-cycle.

Senior User

The Senior User is responsible for representing the needs of the wider user community and as such this role may be also responsible for the Sustainability of the project solution to be implemented. Among main responsibilities the Senior user must provide a clear definition of the quality expectations and acceptance criteria for the project’s products. This role is also responsible for making user resources available when needed and for providing consultation whenever a new product is identified and its description might be required.

Senior Supplier

This role represents those in charge of making the project resources available. As such the Senior supplier is held accountable for the quality of material and resources and is expected to provide support to the PM during the planning activities to ascertain approach and plan viability.

Project Assurance

This is an optionally delegable role as project assurance lies within the Project Board. However the Project Board members may decide to delegate this specific responsibility to a third party. The Assurance role will make sure all relevant standards to be applied to the project are adhered to and will provide guidance to both the PM and the project board throughout the project by auditing the performance of the tasks and keeping the project in line with the strategic, user, supplier and sustainability objectives.

Project Manager

The PM is responsible for the day-to-day management of the project. The role is specifically responsible for the planning, monitoring and control of all the project activities in order to guarantee an efficient, manageable and structured delivery of the products. The PM is also responsible for all Risk and Issue management activities and in general for the work performed by the team managers. The role is ultimately responsible for the delivery of the project outputs and outcomes within the constraints defined for Time, Cost, Scope, Quality, Risk, Benefits, and Sustainability.

Team Managers

The role of the team manager is an optional role as the PM might cover this role should he/she possess the relevant development skills required. The Team manager is responsible for managing the development team and ultimately for producing the project’s products.

Both the PM and the team manager work by applying the Management by exception principle through which they are delegated limited levels of authority within which they might take decisions regarding risk management and issue resolutions.

Project Support

This optional role provides Administrative and Technical support and is normally responsible for all Configuration Management activities such as product control, versioning, status reporting and document management.

Apart from the management responsibilities outlined above each individual project will have some specific bespoke technical responsibilities which will also be assigned to the individuals covering the various roles. To make sure there is a clear understanding of what is required the PM4ESD model provides for the creation of specific role descriptions outlining what is expected of role and to which each person assigned to a specific position must subscribe to.