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I would be interested in understanding the scenarios where a Project Manager can handle a project with no other roles involved apart from the Executive.

What's the minimum number of roles required on any project? I would be interested specially in small projects (low budget)

  • Could you clarify your question? Do you mean minimum number of people on a project before dedicated PM is desirable or minimum number of types of role (e.g. Devs, QA, BA, PM etc)? – Ben Jun 27 '11 at 15:53
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    PS: If the latter, I believe one person is the minimum number, provided that person has all the skills to get the job done. Any additional people are just there to accelerate the speed at which you can deliver and you should always ensure that their cost is worth the value you gain from delivering quicker. – Ben Jun 27 '11 at 15:56
  • With no more information than given here, any project requires two roles: the producer and the consumer. A project with less is no project at all, and yet they happen frequently enough. – Tim Ottinger Jul 5 '11 at 23:59
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Project roles are defined in project management frameworks, like RUP, MSF, Scrum, PRINCE2, etc. Since your question is not related to software development, it's impossible to suggest "the best framework". However, two roles are certainly present in any project: project manager (money spender) and project sponsor (money giver).

  • Thanks yegor256, I'd be referring to the PRINCE2 framework. I think you're right in your statement, as a minimum intervention these two roles are required for every project. – M0N4K0 Jul 5 '11 at 10:19
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All projects have a minimum of 14 roles:

  1. Sponsor/Governing Body/Steering Committee
  2. PM
  3. Scope Manager (Change Mgr/Config. Mgr)
  4. Project Controls (Financials, Invoicing, EV, etc.)
  5. HR Manager
  6. Quality Manager
  7. Communications Manager
  8. Procurement Manager
  9. Risk Manager
  10. Developer/Worker (I know IT stole the word, I am taking it back :))
  11. Subject Matter Expert
  12. Project Admin
  13. Estimator
  14. Stakeholder (in most cases)

The size of the project is irrelevant. Even if the project requires only two human beings staffed full-time, each of these roles will need to be filled by one of these two people who will spend some of their 40 to 50 hour work week devoted to fulfilling the tasks within these roles.

Response to comments: I like the additional role of stakeholder but I am not sure they are a required role for every project. For example, a small home project would not necessarily have stakeholders that must remain in some way informed. I added anyway because I think in majority of the cases it is true.

  • 13. Estimator.... – David Espina Jun 27 '11 at 19:12
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    Back to 12 - Developer doesn't apply to all project types. ;) – Trevor K. Nelson Jun 28 '11 at 0:44
  • By develepor, I meant any skilled labor that develops the deliverable. Was trying to think of the most general word. – David Espina Jun 28 '11 at 1:41
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    M0N4K0: I think on small projects a single individual can assume all of the roles. If you use a small home project as an example, you can assume all of those roles. In business, where you have more complexities, a single individual may not have the degree of competency to assume each role; others may have to play but not at a FTE. – David Espina Jun 28 '11 at 9:56
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    Chris: we are talking about roles, not individuals. On a small project, you can fill all of those roles with two people, even one person. – David Espina Jun 28 '11 at 9:58
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I agree with David. It's not the people involved, it's the roles that need to be fulfilled. That said. If it's only a PM and a sponsor, I question whether it's a project. Who is the PM managing?

  • Or maybe even "what" is the PM managing (as opposed to doing)? – Iain9688 Jun 27 '11 at 19:22
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The number of people involved in a project doesn’t really matter. The minimum required number (just as Ben points out) is one. This person needs to shoulder all the roles in the project such as Sponsor, PM, Developer etc.

Regarding the roles for a project, I would say that at least 3 roles are needed.

  • Sponsor
  • PM
  • Developer

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