18 Key Project Roles & Their Responsibilities


Managing a project is a team effort that involves several key project roles and each has its own responsibilities so everything can progress as smoothly as possible. Before you begin that project, take a moment to understand the project management roles and their responsibilities so you can assemble an effective project team.

Now let’s review 18 critical project roles and their responsibilities in the project life cycle. Some of these project management roles are individual roles and others involve multiple participants.

1. Project Sponsor

While there might be a superior position, like executive sponsor, for most projects there’s a project sponsor sitting on top of the project roles pyramid. This is the person who’s deeply invested in the project and its success.

The project sponsor is in direct communication with the stakeholders which is the reason the project has been initiated. They tend to monitor the budget and hold the purse strings of the project. They also have the final say in making any project decisions, which include resources.

The project manager reports to the project sponsor and helps with the project charter, which is a statement of scope, objectives and people involved in the project.

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Project Charter Template

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2. Project Manager

The project manager is the one who’s responsible for the project. They plan it, develop a schedule, assemble a project team and manage their workload throughout the project’s life cycle. Project managers are also responsible for managing risk and the budget.

The project manager is the one who drives the project forward, but they’re not working independently. They collaborate with multiple project roles and are also responsible for reporting on progress to the project sponsor and any stakeholders who also have a vested interest in the project.

The project manager is the point person for vendors and independent contractors, creating contracts and managing their services. You can think of the project manager as a bridge that connects the executives or clients to the project team working on the project deliverables.

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3. Senior Project Manager

A senior project manager is an experienced professional in the project management field. Senior project managers are usually employed by large organizations that have an extense project portfolio. Senior project managers oversee the planning and execution of programs and large-scale initiatives that require the cross-functional collaboration of several departments of an organization.

Senior project managers may work in many different industries such as construction, manufacturing, retail or technology-related fields. It’s important that they demonstrate specific knowledge of their industry and years of experience proving their capability to deliver successful projects of that kind.

4. Project Coordinator

Often there’s a go-between that helps facilitate the project manager’s job in terms of project operations. They’ll work with the project team and are especially helpful when there are remote teams working in different time zones on the same project. The project coordinator helps to keep the operations running smoothly for the project manager and the project team.

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5. Project Administrator

Project administrators support project managers, project coordinators and project analysts, so they’re usually employed by large organizations that have multiple project roles and a large project portfolio. Project administrators, as their name implies, are in charge of administrative tasks such as making reports, planning meetings and facilitating team collaboration activities.

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6. Project Analyst

Project analysts act as support to project managers, program managers and PMOs. They’re responsible for gathering and analyzing data for project management decision-making. Project analysts facilitate the work of other project management roles by creating reports and project documentation, analyzing databases, doing quantitative and qualitative research, among other similar activities.

7. Project Director

Project directors lead project management teams and external parties such as contractors, sub-contractors and other individuals who participate in the execution of a project. In addition to this, they are the liaison between projects and key stakeholders in companies. Their scope is wider than project managers, as they can oversee multiple projects and are in charge of resource management decision-making. Project directors also oversee project managers and other project roles when it comes to areas such as quality management, performance reporting and budgeting.

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8. Project Management Consultant

A project management consultant is a project management professional that offers services to external organizations and works for finite time periods that are defined by a contractual agreement. Project management consultants might be part of project management consulting firms or might work as a freelancer.

If you need to hire a project management consultant to manage a project or establish project management best practices in your organization, gather as many consulting proposals as possible so you can compare their approaches and determine who’s the best fit for your team.

9. Project Officer

This project management role is similar to that of a project coordinator, project administrator or project assistant. Project officers are in charge of administrative tasks and organizational aspects of running a project, such as creating and managing project documentation, scheduling project meetings, managing relationships with vendors and contractors, supporting project team members, among other duties.

10. Project Executive

Similar to a senior project manager, a project executive is an experienced project management professional who leads the project management efforts of an organization. They usually work for project-based organizations that have a project management office (PMO). They make high-level decisions related to staffing, purchasing and strategic planning and are responsible for the success of projects, programs and other large-scale initiatives.

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11. Creative Project Manager

A creative project manager is a project manager who’s in charge of the planning, scheduling and tracking or creative projects in marketing and advertising. A creative project manager might be employed as an in-house project management expert to lead creative projects or can be part of a creative agency. Besides the traditional functions of a project manager, a creative project manager acts as the liaison between the creative team and the project stakeholders to deliver successful projects.

12. Change Control Board

A change control board or change review board is a group of project management team members who are in charge of approving changes to the project plan. This board is critical for filtering change requests because otherwise team members or stakeholders could make changes to the project plan, which if left unnoticed, could greatly affect the project schedule or budget. The project roles that can be part of this change control board can vary from one project to another, depending on the size of the organization.

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13. Steering Committee

A steering committee is an advisory board that has governance over an organization or project. Steering committees are formed by a cross-functional team of executives. Steering committees oversee project management teams and ensure projects are aligned with their organization’s strategic goals and business objectives.

14. Project Management Office (PMO)

Sometimes an organization will have a segment devoted to developing a set of standards and policies to govern their project management and to make sure those standards and policies are being followed. This tends to occur only in larger organizations, which might not always apply.

However, if it does exist the project management office will decide on the processes used in a project and how to follow them. The PMO will also archive the project for historical data, collecting and analyzing its results. Project managers are supported by the PMO.

15. Project Owner

A project owner is a person within an organization who advocates for the initiation of a project and is held responsible for its success or failure. Project owners typically come up with the project vision, business case and help secure funding for the project from sponsors. Then, once the project gets approved, they work with project managers to make sure their vision guides the project planning and execution phases.

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16. Project Leader

A project leader is a project management professional who excels at managing teams. The main responsibility of a project leader is to guide and support project team members to make sure they’re all working towards the same goal as they execute their tasks and produce deliverables.

This role is especially important in larger organizations where there are many employees from different departments working on projects and programs. While most of those employees have expertise in their respective fields, they’re typically not so well-versed in project management, which is where project leaders come into play.

17. PMO Director

A PMO director is an experienced project management professional who leads the efforts of a PMO office. The responsibilities of a PMO director include defining the project management best practices that will be followed by an organization, choosing project management methodologies and deciding how resources will be allocated across projects and programs.

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18. Project Team Members

These are the people who execute the tasks assigned to them by the project manager. There can be a team lead, who manages the team, who the team reports to and who in turn reports their progress to the project manager. In general, all team members are on equal footing.

The project team members have skills relevant to the project and can work with varying degrees of autonomy depending on the project management methodology that’s used in the project. They’re responsible for executing their tasks and updating their statuses to the project manager to track the overall project progress.

More Project Management Templates

ProjectManager isn’t only one of the best project management software in the market, it’s a hub of project management templates, blogs, videos and guides. Here are a few free templates for anyone on the project management team.

Project Plan Template

While some members of the project management team are not involved in the process of creating a project plan, they’re all informed about it to some degree. This free project plan template is a great place to start creating a simple project plan anyone can understand.

Project Budget

The project budget is a key project management document that sets the limits for spending on a project. This free project budget template helps project managers create a project budget that can easily be shared with stakeholders and other project management roles.

Gantt Chart Template

Gantt chart templates are versatile tools that can be used by project managers, program managers, PMOs and team members. This free Gantt chart template for Excel is ideal for any of these project roles.

How ProjectManager Helps Everyone on Your Project Team

The project team needs project tools to help them work more effectively and track progress. ProjectManager is award-winning project management software that’s packed with features that help everyone working on the project.

Live Project Tracking Updates

Let’s start with the project sponsor. They’re interested in how the project is progressing against where it should be in the project plan. When team members update their statuses on ProjectManager, that data instantly reflects throughout the software. Project sponsors aren’t interested in the nitty-gritty, so a real-time dashboard gives them a bird’s-eye view of the project’s progress as it’s happening.

ProjectManager’s dashboard view, which shows metrics for all project roles

Gantt Charts for Project Planning & Scheduling

When it comes to planning and scheduling the project, project managers will find the online Gantt chart tool especially helpful. Task lists on spreadsheets are easy to upload and can open up in ProjectManager as a new project. Then just add the task duration and it populates a timeline. From here, the project manager can make milestones, assign team members tasks and even attach relevant documents and images for direction.

Gantt chart maker in ProjectManager, software for project management roles

Resource Management Calendars

Of course, project managers need more than just tools to monitor the project. They need to reallocate resources to keep things moving smoothly. ProjectManager has tools to manage tasks and resources to see if team members have enough work. Reallocate their workload from the workload page.

Related Content

ProjectManager offers a wealth of resources for all roles in project management. We have hundreds of tutorial videos and blog posts that cover all aspects of project management.

ProjectManager has tools for every project role. Online software means ProjectManager is reflecting the actual project as it’s happening, so better decisions can be made. No matter what your project role is, there are features that can help you do your job better. See for yourself by taking this free 30-day trial today.