The Roles of a Project Team

by Rick Suttle; Updated September 26, 2017

Managers and groups of people serve different roles on project teams. Some of these roles are more leadership-oriented, while others are work-intensive. There also are project team members who do not actually work on projects but, instead, keep the project moving along. Outside companies may also play a major roll in bringing a project to fruition. Whatever the case, projects are usually broken into various tasks and managed closely to completion.

Project Manager

One important role on a project team is the project manager. The project manager is the person who is responsible for facilitating the project. She breaks the project down into different functions or tasks, then assigns tasks according to peoples' abilities or key areas of interest. For example, a project manager may assign a finance manager the task of tracking sales and expenses for a new product introduction. Project managers can hold many titles. Marketing research managers may assume the role of project manager on a project that involved customer satisfaction feedback. Similarly, a product manager may spearhead a project that entails introducing 10 new products at a trade show. The project manager is the one ultimately responsible for ensuring that the project gets completed on time and under budget.

Team Members

Team members are all employees who work on the project besides the project manager. Team members are assigned specific portions of projects or tasks. Some team members may even handle extensive or multiple tasks, depending on the length of the project. For example, a copywriter, advertising manager, marketing research analyst, logistics manager and product manager may be involved in a project to expand distribution to new markets. The product manager may serve the role of project manager. A team member like the copywriter may be responsible for creating brochures and visuals for the sales force. The research manager may conduct surveys in the market to determine consumer acceptance of the products. The logistics manager may study which warehouse and distribution outlets would best meet the company's need, while the advertising manager creates test ads for the project. Team members must complete their tasks on the dates assigned by the project manager.

Executive Sponsor

The executive sponsor usually does not perform any tasks or functions. She may be available to offer suggestions, including resources or information that can be used for the project. However, the executive sponsor's key role is to oversee the project, then take the completed information and develop strategies from it. She makes key decisions for the project group when they need advice. For example, the executive sponsor may use a major product satisfaction survey among customers to develop new pricing strategies or to recommend new product features for the product line.

Performing Organizations

Performing organizations are agencies or consultants that assist employees on projects. They are chosen because of their expertise on a particular project. For example, a management consultant may help the project manager evaluate a company's plant operations, determining the necessary changes to increase efficiency. Similarly, a marketing research manager will often ask research agencies to help them develop questionnaires and conduct surveys. Performing organizations often do much of the work during the project. Subsequently, managers and employees evaluate the results before presenting the information to executives.