Design of Project Organisation

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The main objective of this task is to design the appropriate Project Organisation structure (roles and responsibilities). This structure is temporary, specifically designed to manage the project to its successful conclusion and to meet the requirements defined in the Project Fiche. This structure depends:

mainly on the size and complexity of the project
on whether the project includes procurement or not

In this perspective, the organization chart will be specific to each project. However, for the purposes of this Guide, an organization structure is being presented, which is quite generic, compatible with PRINCE2 methodology12 [ PRINCE, which stands for Projects in Controlled Environments, is a project management method covering the organisation, management and control of projects. PRINCE was first developed by the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) now part of the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) in 1989 as a UK Government standard for IT project management. Since its introduction, PRINCE has become widely used in both the public and private sectors and is now the UK's de facto standard for project management. Although PRINCE was originally developed for the needs of IT projects, the method has also been used on many non-IT projects. The latest version of the method, PRINCE2, is designed to incorporate the requirements of existing users and to enhance the method towards a generic, best practice approach for the management of all types of projects. ] and sufficiently flexible to be mapped to any environment. 

A fundamental principle is that the project organization structure has four layers which undertake:

Direction of the project
Day to day management
Team management and
Execution of the project

The Project Management Team performs the first three layers while the Project Team performs the last layer either by performing ”production” work or by cooperating with the team members of the Contractor in case that the implementation of the project is outsourced.

The roles indicated in the following figure and described below, explain the normal responsibilities and tasks of each member of the Project Management Team. It is noted that these roles can be shared, divided or combined according to the projects needs. Thus, some responsibilities for a role can be moved to another role or delegated but they should not be dropped. The Project Management Role can not be shared, neither can the Project Manager or Project Steering Committee decision making roles be delegated. The Project Steering Committee may however delegate some or all of its Quality Assurance responsibilities to another role, usually called Quality Assurance Manager.

Figure 1-10: Project Organisation Structure


Project Steering Committee

The Project Steering Committee should represent at managerial level the business, user and supplier interests. The products of the project should meet the business need and give value for money. Therefore, there should be representation of the business to ensure that these prerequisites are fulfilled throughout the project. In addition representation is needed from those who will use the final products, as well as from the supplier who provides all the necessary resources and skills for the creation of the end products.

In certain business environment it is difficult to consider and discuss issues having the supplier represented on the Project Steering Committee, because there might be questions of confidentiality or conflicts of interest. Besides the customer representatives may not wish to discuss everything in front of the supplier. However, and since the participation of the Suppliers Representative in the Project Steering Committee seems necessary if the Project Steering Committee is to enable full decision making (the main objectives are full communication and agreed decisions by all parties), it is usual that the Suppliers representative participates only to Project Steering Committee meetings during which decisions on the contract will be taken.  

The Project Steering Committee consists of three roles, which should be assigned to individuals:

Senior User
Senior Supplier

The Project Steering Committee should always be chaired by the Executive.

The general responsibilities of the Project Steering Committee include:

To approve project, stage and contingency plans
To authorise any major deviation from agreed plans
To approve changes
To authorise the start of each stage
To sign off the completion of each stage
To ensure that necessary resources are committed to the project
To provide overall guidance and direction to the project, ensuring it remains within any specified constraints
To resolve any possible disputes within the project
To negotiate a solution to any problems between the project and the contractor
To approve the appointment of the Project Manager
To authorise the implementation of any contingency plans and funds
To judge whether constraints of time, budget and resources are reasonable
To assure that all products have been delivered satisfactorily and that they meet all acceptance criteria
To disseminate information about the project to the stakeholders and the public.

The decision making process of the Steering Committee is based on the majority rule13 [ This is the practice followed in Cyprus and in other European countries as well. However, according to some project management methodologies like PRINCE2 the Executive is the key decision maker with advice and commitments from the other members of the Project Board/Steering Committee. ].  Depending on the nature of the project, experts opinion may be sought to provide input to decisions made by the Project Steering Committee. For example the views of technical specialists, experts from other Departments of a Ministry or other external advisor may be required.

The Project Steering Committee is responsible for assuring that the project remains on course to deliver products of the required and defined quality (Quality Plan Refer to Chapter 7). Although the Project Steering Committee Members receive regular reports from the Project Manager, there is a need in the project organisation for monitoring all aspects of the projects performance and products produced, independently of the Project Manager. According to the size, complexity and risk of the project, the Project Steering Committee may decide to introduce specific additional resources to address some of its Assurance activities.

The members of the Project Steering Committee are not working full time in the project; they execute their responsibilities in addition to their permanent work. They are regularly informed about the progress of the project but they are asked for joint decision making at key points in the project. Therefore, the frequency of their meetings is not definite, it should be appropriate to the scale and complexity of the project.


The Executives role is to ensure that the project meets its objectives and delivers the projected benefits. He/ She must be senior and must ensure for the successful delivery of the project. The specific responsibilities of the Executive throughout the project are listed below:

Chairing the Project Steering Committee
Participating in the decision making process as chairman of the Project Steering Committee
Ensuring that there is a consistent organisational structure and plans for resources, budget, time, quality and risks
Authorising expenditure and set stage tolerances
Monitoring and controlling the progress of the project at strategic level
Ensuring that any proposed changes of scope, cost or timescale are checked against their possible effects on the project
Ensuring that all risks are being tracked and mitigated effectively
Organising consultation between the owner and other stakeholders of the project
Participating in a dialogue process with the suppliers representatives to minimise customer supplier problems by timely resolution
Closing the project formally (sign off that the aims and objectives of the project have been met)
Ensuring that the expected benefits have been realised and informing the stakeholders

The Executive is also responsible for overall business assurance of the project. Business assurance covers:

Keeping the project in line with customer strategies
Monitoring project finance on behalf of the customer
Monitoring the business risks to ensure that these are under control
Monitoring any supplier and contract payments
Monitoring changes to Project Plan
Assessing the impact of potential changes to the Project Plan (refer to Chapter 7).

It is noted that the Business Assurance Responsibilities can be delegated to a third party.

Senior User

The Senior User represents the interests of all those who will use the products of the project and receive the anticipated benefits. The Senior User role is responsible for:

Providing user resources
Ensuring that the project produces outcomes that meet user requirements
Ensuring that the products provide the expected user benefits

More analytically, the responsibilities of Senior User are:

Ensuring that analytical specifications of the desired outcome of the project have been given
Making sure that progress towards the outcome required by the users remains consistent from the user perspective
Promoting focus on the desired project outcome
Approving the descriptions (specifications) of the project products (interim or final) that will affect the users directly
Prioritising and transferring user opinions to Project Steering Committee meetings, in order to help the Committee take decisions on whether to implement recommendations on proposed changes
Participating in the decision making process as member of the Project Steering Committee
Resolving user requirements and priority conflicts
Ensuring that the products are signed off once completed
Representing fully all the interests of the different user groups that they represent.

The assurance responsibilities of the Senior User are:

Monitoring the development of the project products to ensure  that they will meet the users needs
Evaluating the potential or recommended changes from the user point of view
Quality checking of the deliverables at all stages.

It is noted that the Business Assurance Responsibilities can be delegated to a third party.

This role may require more than one person to cover all the user interests.


Senior Supplier

The Senior Supplier is accountable for achieving the results required by the Senior User within the time and cost set by the Project Fiche. The Senior Supplier is also responsible for assuring the quality of the deliverables produced.

The responsibilities of the Senior Supplier are:

To agree the objectives for supplier activities
To make sure that progress towards the outcome remains consistent from the supplier perspective
To ensure that the supplier resources required for the project are made available
To transfer the suppliers opinion in the Project Steering Committee meetings
Participating in the decision making process as member of the Project Steering Committee
To resolve priority conflicts regarding the suppliers work
To promote and maintain focus on the desired project outcome from the suppliers point of view. 

The assurance responsibilities of the Senior Supplier are:

Advising on the selection of development strategy, design and methods
Monitoring potential changes and their impact on the correctness, completeness and integrity of products against their product description from a supplier perspective
Monitoring any risks in the production aspects of the project
Ensuring that quality control procedures are used correctly, so that products adhere to requirements.

It is noted that the Business Assurance Responsibilities can be delegated to a third party.

This role may require more than one person to cover all the user interests.

Project Manager

The Project Manager leads and manages the project team, with the authority and responsibility to run the project on a day to day basis. His/ Her prime responsibility is to ensure that the project produces the required deliverables, to the required standard of quality and within the specified constraints of time and cost.

The Project Manager is responsible for:

Recruiting, directing and motivating suitable skilled and qualified project team members
Establishing standards and guidelines for the project
Planning and monitoring the project (resource, time, scope, financial, quality and risk planning)
Establishing a clear communications plan for the project
Documenting the customer acceptance criteria for each project deliverable 
Producing the Project Plan, the Progress Reports as well as the End Project Report
Taking responsibility of the overall progress and corrective actions if necessary
Controlling expenditure to ensure delivery within the approved project budget
Managing the approval of all project change requests
Raising project risks and recommended mitigation plans for approval
Resolving all project issues currently affecting the project
Identifying and obtaining any support and advice required for the management, planning and control of the project
Gaining customer acceptance of each deliverable produced by the project
Being responsible for project administration
Undertaking all actions necessary to close the project.

In cases that the project includes procurement and the outcomes of the project are being produced by a supplier, the Project Manager does not compile the Inception Report, either the Progress and the End Project Report.

The Project Managers role is to manage the work, not to do it. Besides, the Project Manager must avoid becoming involved in low level detail since he/she has to know what is going on in every part of the project at any time.

Team Manager

The use of a separate person in the role of Team Manager is optional. Normally, the Project Manager decides to employ a different person in this role, when the project is large and complex, when the planning for the production of certain products as well as the monitoring process needs special knowledge and skills or when the project is being executed in more than one geographical locations and the team members are working in different places.

The Team Managers main responsibility is to ensure that the products defined by the Project Manager are being produced according to the time and cost schedule and meet the appropriate quality standards. The Team Manager takes direction from the Project Manager and reports to him.

The specific responsibilities of the Team Manager are:

To prepare plans for the teams work and control their implementation 
To  direct, motivate, manage and monitor the teams work
To inform the Project Manager about deviations from the plans and recommend corrective actions
To make effective use of the available human resources
To ensure that quality controls of the teams work are planned and performed
To identify any risks related to the actions of the work packages of his/her responsibility
To attend stages assessment sessions
To manage specific risks or other project issues after their communication to the Project Manager.

Project Office

In cases of large projects where the volume of Project Managers work is large, administrative help can be useful. The same happens when certain support tools and software applications are used in the project management processes and the Project Manager has insufficient expertise in their use.

The exact responsibilities of the Project Office could be:

Operating a central filing system for the project
Providing expertise in the planning, monitoring and control software used
Updating plans with actual data
Producing management reports
Organising communication events


© 2007 Republic of Cyprus, Treasury of the Republic, Public Procurement Directorate
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