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Project manager – part 2 - Choosing the project team

Choosing the project team

This is described under PRINCE2® 2005 [see ‘The Complete Project Management plus PRINCE2’] within the process 'Starting up a Project (SU)' and under the sub-processes:

  • Appointing an Executive and Project Manager (SU1)
  • Designing a Project Management Team (SU1)
  • Appointing a Project Management Team (SU3)

Under PRINCE2 2009 these activities are combined in the process ‘Design and appoint the project management team’.
[see Starting up a project – Activities - Design and appoint the project management team].

The Project Manager has to be aware of many aspects when bringing together his team.

For example:

Is the resource for the project going to be dedicated or will the Project Manager have to share it?
Remember that the Project Manager doesn’t have any real authority over the project management team members, who consist of personnel drawn from many departments, or other personnel.

Leadership and good communication skills are essential.

Team size

The size of the team should reflect the size and breadth of the project but should not be so large that it becomes cumbersome to manage and makes project control arduous.
It may well be that separate action teams are desirable that can report back at project management team meetings.
For very large projects there may well be a need for other levels of Project Managers together with appropriate project team reporting.
It is not unusual, in large projects, for the result of one to feed into another.

If the projects are part of a programme each one will have its own Project Manager.

Existing management structure (hierarchy, flat or matrix)

What sort of reporting structure exists currently within the organization? Is it hierarchical, flat or a matrix system? Depending on the management philosophy it may be more difficult to obtain the necessary commitment to release personnel.

Good communication skills and building a rapport with other managers is very useful.

Organizational chart

An organizational chart, indicating roles and responsibilities, will help to convince potential team members of the Project Manager’s support and commitment to the project.

A document detailing the roles and responsibilities of project team members should be produced to reduce ambiguity.
These are likely to exist as job descriptions.

Is the project so large that the documentation and administration side needs separate management via a Project Office?


Clearly, the team will need to consist of the appropriate skill set.
Will individuals wish to join the team?
All candidates for positions should be available for the entire project but this is not always the case.
The ability of the Project Manager to ‘sell’ the project and to show enthusiasm and belief is vital.

Change over time

It is very likely that the project management team will change over a period of time according to the needs of the project.
This will require forward planning to appoint new personnel and arrange for their release.

Succession planning

Apart from modifying the project management team as necessary as above it is possible that that other key people may require replacement.
This could be due to movement to another project, changing jobs or long term sickness.
For the smooth running of the project the Project Manager should consider succession planning.
Who might be able to take over if key personnel left?
What is their likely availability?
Would they want the position?

Some of these aspects are described in more detail in the following sections.