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Let's say you have two suppliers, one for software development and one for graphics design. It seems odd to have the Senior Supplier role filled by any one supplier.

When you have multiple suppliers from different organisations, who should be in the Senior Supplier role on the Project Board? I would say someone from MY organisation, but such a structure seems like it's overhead.

What is the best approach to structuring a Project Board with multiple suppliers?

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You have some options:

  • Use someone from your organization. I don't see this as overhead, rather there is an advantage that you have a single person/unit representing the interests of all suppliers. It also helps you avoid potential confidentiality issues (maybe you have suppliers A and B that are competitors, precluding some discussions at Project Board meetings.
  • Change ownership of the role as needed. PRINCE2 refers to "Senior Supplier(s)", so you could have more than one. If you engage different suppliers over different time frames you can have one sit on the Project Board for their piece and when that is done switch the role to the other.
  • Have more than one Senior Supplier at a time. Assuming that there are no conflicts and the two suppliers are OK with it this shouldn't be an issue.

The key is to do what makes sense for your project. PRINCE2 stresses that you shouldn't get too fussed with details of how to implement the methodology, you should be more concerned with taking the guiding principles (tailoring, learn from experience, etc) to heart.

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I say have both. Do realize that it is the Executive who makes the final call when there is a conflict. So both of them can be the Senior Suppliers. As a PM, you can always enjoy the arguments!

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