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Project Roles—Which is the Best?

Project roles each come with their own risks and rewards. I’ve done them all and at any given point in a project, some roles are just more enjoyable than others.


The Stakeholder:


On the surface it looks like our stakeholder, Jane, has all the power and all the decisions. This should be easy for her as she controls the whole process. That contributes to our frustration when she can’t make up her mind or to stick to a plan. How hard can it be? She’s not doing the real work anyway! Now look at it from a different vantage point: Jane is accountable to the entire organization for delivering this program. She needs to provide the results promised using the designated funds that took her so long to obtain. Jane’s job could be on the line if this fails or at least she won’t get the next promotion. “The buck stops here.”


The Program Manager:


Fun! Julie is the conductor of the orchestra. She gets to control what we do, how fast we do it, and who does what. She has the ability to see all the pieces and parts and how they fit together. That also means that Julie needs to know what music they’re playing and which instruments are present, ready, capable, and talented. Julie has to have a solid knowledge of the resources available to her. That includes people, funds, tools, etc. She has to determine how to balance out her weaker components with the stronger parts. Sure it’s fun to manage the bigger picture but it also means Julie needs to keep an eye on every part and be ready to jump in with reinforcements as necessary.


The Project Manager:


A smaller scale than the Program Manager but just as important (if not more so). The Project Manager has a defined scope for the project he’s doing. Dave knows how he fits into the bigger picture and which pieces are dependent upon him and his team. This work seems more manageable and often times can be less political (or at least further removed from dealing directly with organizational issues). Often times there is a nice sense of camaraderie in projects and the team creates their own cadence for getting the work done. The challenge is this is where the rubber meets the road. Dave is responsible for delivering real work, getting things done, making forward progress…. It’s the various projects that create the substance of a program. Without this group rolling up their sleeves, led by the project manager, there is no result. Talk about pressure!


The Project Team:


The Project Team can be few or many, with complex or simple tasks. They follow the instructions outlined in the project plan to complete their tasks, meeting deadlines and ensuring they meet the specific deliverables. They stay busy and are kept on task to ensure the overall project meets it goals. Tough and durable – that’s the project team!


Project roles are critical in a program. All have benefits and challenges but none can succeed without each other. Understanding who is in the various roles and how they best operate is critical to success. CoreTech Revolution is working with Taylor Protocols to provide tools that clarify everyone’s values. Come talk to us about how we can work with you.