PRINCE2-Organization theme

The purpose of the organization theme is to define and establish the project's structure of accountability and responsibilities (the who?).

Every project needs effective direction, management, control and communication. Establishing an effective project management team structure and approach for communication at the beginning of a project, and maintaining these throughout the project's life, are essential elements of a project's success. For this reason, one of PRINCE2's principles is that projects must have defined and agreed roles and responsibilities within an organization structure that engages the business, user and supplier stakeholder interests.

PRINCE2 identifies three principal categories of project stakeholders (business, user and supplier) although there may be a wide range of other stakeholders with an interest in the project (e.g. government, regulator or unions). Each of the three principal categories of stakeholders has a specific interest in, or viewpoint on, the project, and each category of stakeholders also has specific roles on the project in order to ensure that their interests are met, as detailed below:

Business - The products of the project should meet a business need that justifies the investment in the project. The project should also provide value for money. The business viewpoint therefore should be represented to ensure that these two prerequisites exist before a project commences and remain in existence throughout the project.

PRINCE2 defines an executive role to represent business interests on the project.

User - PRINCE2 makes a distinction between the business interests and the requirements of those who will use the project's outputs. The user viewpoint represents those individuals or groups for whom some or all of the following will apply:

  • they will use the outputs of the project to realize the benefits
  • they will operate, maintain or support the project's outputs
  • the outputs of the project will impact them.

The user presence is needed to specify the desired outputs and ensure that the project delivers them through the supplier.

PRINCE2 defines a senior user(s) role to represent user interests on the project.

Supplier The creation of the project's outputs will need resources with certain skills. The supplier viewpoint should represent those who will provide the necessary skills and produce the project product. The supplier needs to have an understanding of all the relevant standards with which the output (product) needs to comply, and the project may need to use both in-house and external supplier teams to constructthe project product.

PRINCE2 defines a senior supplier(s) role to represent supplier interest on the project.

In PRINCE2, the business, user and supplier interests are brought together on the project board, which is accountable for the success of the project 

successful project management team should:

  •  have business, user and supplier stakeholder representation
  • ensure appropriate governance by defining responsibilities for directing, managing and delivering the project and clearly defining accountability at each level
  • review the project roles throughout the project to ensure that they continue to be effective have an effective approach to manage communication flows to and from stakeholders.

The four levels of management are:

  • Corporate, programme management or the customer This level sits above the project management team but will be responsible for commissioning the project, including identifying the executive and defining the project-level tolerances within which the project board will work. This information should, if possible, be recorded in the project mandate.
  • Directing The project board is responsible for the overall direction and management of the project within the constraints set out by corporate, programme management or the customer. The project board is accountable for the success of the project. As part of directing the project, the project board will:
  • approve all major plans and resources
  • authorize any deviation that exceeds or is forecast to exceed stage tolerances
  • approve the completion of each management stage and authorize the start of the next management stage
  • communicate with other stakeholders.
  • Managing The project manager is responsible for the day-to-day management of the project within the constraints set out by the project board. The project manager's prime responsibility is to ensure that the project produces the required products in accordance with the time, cost, quality, scope, benefits and risk performance goals.
  • Delivering Although the project manager is responsible for the day-to-day management of the project, team members are responsible for delivering the project's products to an appropriate quality within a specified timescale and cost. Depending on the size and complexity of the project, the authority and responsibility for planning the creation of certain products and managing a team of specialists to produce those products may be delegated to a team manager.

There will be a wider range of stakeholders which may affect, or be affected by, the project. These stakeholders may be internal or external to the corporate, programme management or customer organization and may:

  • support or oppose the project
  • gain or lose as a result of project delivery
  • see the project as a threat or enhancement to their position
  • become active supporters or blockers of the project and its progress.

It is important to analyse who these stakeholders are and to engage with them appropriately. Effective engagement with these stakeholders is key to a project's success