There are four foundation project roles that are essential to ensure your project has in place to start well, keep momentum and finish strong.
Like the four wheels on a car, they need to be pumped to the right level and all aligned in the same direction to work at their best.
Four Foundation Project Roles
- Vision Makers/Sponsors are people who want to see the project succeed.
They take on financial decisions and have the authority to approve expenses, assist with procuring any additional funds, if needed, and keep Executive focus.
- Technical experts, or Subject Matter experts with technical skills, are people who know how the software works.
They have the right technical skills and ability to advise on the configuration (or development) of the software, and guide, based on expertise, on the match of software to the business process.
- Business expert or those who will be stuck using the software. These people have insight into how the business process works right now.
They will know what needs to be done day-to-day.
These are people who’ve got the right knowledge to be able to contribute to the project in the form of business process and improvements, i.e. Stakeholders, Business Analysts and those who are impacted by the project.
- Project Managers are people who can co-ordinate, document, articulate decisions, monitor the timeline and stay focused on the goals of the project and keep everyone heading in (generally) the same direction.
When we start preparing project teams and selecting (or negotiating for) people to contribute to the effort of a project, choosing the right combination of people from across the business and project partners makes all the difference.
Just because someone is available to be on the project team doesn’t mean they should be.
Although we don’t always get to choose; and we often inherit project participants.
In this situation, a skills gap analysis is helpful so that we can build out an inherited team with additional skills.
Each project has the need for a different blend of skills and balancing that blend is the job of the Project Manager and Sponsor. When you’re coming into a team that’s already formed, being able to get a sense of how the team is operating allows you to figure out where the problems are.
Good Working Behaviours
We’ve put together some thoughts on what good working behaviours look like and some woeful ones so that if you see them, you can develop a plan to get it back on track:
Most of the time we find ourselves helping businesses that don’t ‘do’ projects all the time. So the people who have been handed a project role may have no idea what’s expected of them.
This is where clarity of what’s expected of each role is helpful.
It’s important to define what each person is responsible for at the outset.
Getting clarity about what’s expected and who is required makes it easier for people to plan their own work and contribute when they are most needed.
If you are embarking on a new project, we have experience in building project teams that get the job done. We invite you to connect here.