As I introduced in my last blog, the customer will hold a key position in the role of the project board in PRINCE2 projects. Also known as the executive, the customer is supported on the project board by the senior user and the senior supplier. I’ll look at the role of the latter two people in my next two blogs. In this blog, you’ll learn more about the customer’s role on the project board, and its direct responsibilities.
What is the customer’s role in the context of a PRINCE2 project?
The project is for the benefit of the customer, so it follows that the ultimate success of the project falls squarely on its shoulders. Therefore, the customer must remain focused on the project throughout its life. Without this focus, the project is more likely to miss its objectives and fail to deliver the product that will achieve the expected benefits.
In a nutshell, the customer must ensure that the project:
- Provides value for money
- Meets the demand of the business
- Is pertinent to the user
- Is within the remit of the supplier
The customer is responsible for the project business case, and holds the only vote with the project board. In making its decisions, the customer is supported by the senior user and senior supplier, but cannot be voted down by either or both.
The customer’s individual responsibilities
As we saw in my last blog, the project board holds a wide range of collective responsibilities. When considering the responsibilities of the customer, we find that it has these additional responsibilities:
- Appoint the project manager and the project team. This is important because the customer will need the project manager to be a good fit on a personal level as well as an experience level
- Develop the business case and project brief in line with corporate strategy
- Secure project funding
- Approve additional supplier contracts
- Monitor and control project progress in line with the business case
- Ensure that risks to the business case are identified, assessed, and managed
- Discuss and escalate risks where tolerances are expected to be exceeded
- Organise project board reviews
- Transfer the responsibility for post-project benefits to the corporate board
The customer will always chair project board review meetings, holding the senior supplier responsible for quality and integrity of approach and products used. It will also hold the senior user to account for realising the forecast benefits as defined in the business case.
With so much extra responsibility and the final say on all project-related issues, some customers mistakenly believe that there is no need for the involvement of the senior user or the senior supplier. However, as we’ll see in the next two posts, their roles are key to PRINCE2 project success.
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