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Project Management Roles Explained

No project can get off the ground without a state-of-the-art team of people, each fulfilling a role towards completing the project. If you’re new to the project management game, it can be hard to see exactly what these roles are. Today we’re talking about the key project management roles, what they do and why they are needed. Let’s get into it.

7 Key Roles in Project Management

Here are the most essential roles that make up a project management team.

1) Project Manager

The Project Manager is – you guessed it – the one who manages the project, and takes responsibility for the completion of the project. Their job is to manage communications between all parties, ensure the Project Team is able to complete the necessary work, along with managing the smooth flow of resources and reporting of data back to the Stakeholders. 

They also take the lead on managing the project’s stakeholder engagement, wherein the project Stakeholders are kept in the loop about the project’s progress. Agreeing upon a schedule, a timeline and deliverables is all part of this.

It is then the Project Manager’s job to translate this into actionable tasks for their team, and sit at the centre of the spider web, pulling the strings to ensure the project gets done.

2) Project Management Office (PMO)

The Project Management Office (also called a PMO) are a small team of people who help to create a set of best practices and governance methods that the project will be run by. Their job is to ensure the Project Team adheres to these standards, using the predefined processes and tools to maintain quality.

Larger projects tend to make more use of a PMO, such as large scalable programmes which require uniformity of process. Essentially, while the Project Manager decides what needs to be done, the Project Management Office decides how it will be done, in cooperation with the Stakeholders. 

3) Stakeholders

The Stakeholders are the group of individuals who everything is answerable to. Their role is often the founders of the project’s concept, and (as the name suggests) the people who will most likely benefit from its completion.

Stakeholders may be funding the project themselves, or they may be representatives of a larger organisation. If the President or Prime Minister is the Project Manager of their government, their party’s funders are the Stakeholders. 

One of the most important aspects of project management in the modern world is stakeholder engagement. This is a process that entails keeping Stakeholders in the loop and engaged with the project, and therefore when their support is needed, it can be counted on.

As individual stakeholders may well be working on many other things at the same time, keeping them focused when you need them is important.

4) Project Team

This is where roles differ from project to project. The Team are the ones who are on the ground, doing the work, meeting the deadlines and delivering the project.

The Project Team are the front-liners, and the whole project relies on them being successful in their work. The Team may be in-house or outsourced freelancers or consultants who move from project to project, and may work on a full time or part time basis.

The Project Team is treated differently depending on the management style of the project lead. Sometimes they are managed in a standard way, being answerable to the Project Manager.

Other times, they act more as autonomous units, with the PM being responsible for clearing away any obstacles that the Team might face, such as in the Scrum methodology

5) Resource Manager

Many projects employ a Resource Manager to take charge of internal company resources. Working closely with the Project Manager, they will manage the Project Team to ensure the right individuals are working on the right tasks, to the timescale laid out by the PM and the Stakeholders.

The Resource Manager may also handle the management of documents or data, and may act as a quartermaster or gatekeeper to these things. 

Another responsibility of the Resource Manager is to continually assess the skills requirements of the project, and compare this to the skills found in the Team.

They may determine that additional Team members are to be brought in, or that some team members require training to fill a certain skills gap. 

6) Project Sponsor

The role of Project Sponsor is often as the key advocate for a project, the one who makes it happen in the first place. Typically, they exist within senior management, and will likely sit on the board of Stakeholders as perhaps the most vital person there.

It is their job to work with the other Stakeholders and Project Managers to define the core goals of the project and manage the expectations of all involved. Alongside this, the Project Sponsor often acts as a support to the Project Manager, assessing their needs and providing them with the resources they need to deliver the project. This could include budgeting or additional staff hires.

The Project Sponsor are often the key decision makers of the project, and it may be that the ultimate responsibility lies with them.

7) Client / Client Manager

The Client is the organisation, business, department or individual for whom the project is for. Every project has a desired customer, whether it be the public, an external organisation or an internal department. Even if they are not directly involved with the project, it is their input and needs that the project is being catered for. 

Some projects employ a dedicated Client Manager to handle market research, or to gauge the specific needs of the Client. These needs are then communicated to the Stakeholders, Sponsors and Project Manager to ensure that the project meets them.

Their role is also to approve all plans and timelines to ensure the Client’s needs are met. Essentially, the Client Manager acts as a representative of the Project Team to the Client, and vice versa.

Final Notes

While each project will differ based on its size, personnel and industry, you’ll find that most of these roles appear in the vast majority of projects. What roles does your project require? If you are a Project Manager, it’s your job to decide. 

With Verto 365 you can manage a complete project team from wherever you are. If you use MS Teams in your organisation, Verto 365 is fully functional within Teams, drastically expanding what you can do within the platform. 

Verto 365 comes with a range of project management tools and aids remote team management, along with management of shared documents and tasks for a more collaborative workforce. Try Verto 365 for free today, or get in touch with our team for more information.

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About the author – Laura Watts

Laura is the Marketing Manager at TMI Systems Ltd., working predominantly on Verto 365 and closely on the Microsoft partnership enabling the platform to be used in its entirety from Microsoft Teams. Laura and her family moved from London in 2021 and now live and work in Gloucestershire.