5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Chapter 2: Project Teams

There are three concepts that are discussed with relationship to project teams: 1) what the various roles on the project team are, 2) dedicated vs. part-time members of the project team, and 3) virtual project teams.

1. Project Team Roles

There are those that have expertise in some aspect of developing or executing the project management plan, and then there are those that serve as a liaison with some external entity that the project must be coordinated with. Let’s take a look at the roles in these two groups:

General Role Specific Role

Role Description

Expertise 1. Project Management Staff Perform project management activities such as scheduling, budgeting, reporting and control, risk management. PMO supports this role.
2. Project Staff Perform the executing of the project to create project deliverables.
3. Supporting experts (SMEs) Perform activities to either plan or execute the project that are of a technical nature (legal, quality control, safety, logistics, etc.).
Liaison 4. User/Customer Liaison with user/customer to ensure proper delivery and validation of deliverables.
5. Seller/Supplier Liaison with seller/supplier to ensure timely receipt and acceptance of deliverables.
6. Business partner Liaison with business partners who provide specialized expertise or role in project (installation, training, customer support) .

The role of “project management staff”, sometimes referred to as “project management team”, may be confusing to some who think that “management” and “staff” cannot overlap. However, the person who is the project manager does project management, and those that assist in carrying these activities out are the “project management staff.” The “project staff” or “project team” are the ones doing the executing of the project.

2. Dedicated vs. part-time

Some members of the project team devote 100% of their time to that project, and these are referred to as “dedicated” members. “Part-time” members, on the other hand, may work on multiple projects. Microsoft Project, and other project management software, have options to deal with both levels of involvement with the project.

3. Virtual teams

More and more teams, especially those in an international setting, are virtual teams, that is those that have contact only online. A project manager’s normal challenges when it comes to communication on a project are magnified in the situation where there is a virtual team involved.

For some discussion of how a project manager should manage virtual teams, check out this related post on an Economist Intelligence Unit webinar dealing with this very topic:


The next post will discuss a very important concept in the PMBOK® Guide, that of the project life cycle.

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