Roles and Responsibilities – Lessons Learned

Below is a list of lessons learned relating to Roles and Responsibilities, taken from a selection of recently completed programmes and projects across the NICS.

Issue 1 - Scopes of project team and roles were not clearly identified by project manager at the initial stage.

Recommendation 1 - Scope and roles should be clearly delineated early in the project.

Issue 2 - Some Service Owners were unclear about their role and responsibilities when reviewing Change Requests.

Recommendation 2 - Roles and responsibilities should be clearly set out at the start of the project.  A job description should be developed for each role, and this should be discussed/explained with job holders. In addition, as roles evolve during the lifetime of the project, roles and responsibilities should be updated to ensure there is clarity and agreement on any new or amended responsibilities.

Issue 3 - Product owners were unable to devote the required time to the project to be fully effective in their role.

Recommendation 3 - It is important that the product owners are able to fully commit and resourcing in this regard is better planned.

Issue 4 - A key supplier establishing a single technical point of contact was hugely positive. After engaging with several technical experts, the supplier assigned a digital architect as a single point of contact.

Recommendation 4 - There needs to be a single point of contact within each supplier to progress matters at an appropriate level.

Issue 5 - A Service Owner considered that there was a lack of up-front clarity by the Contractor on roles and responsibilities in respect of a solution. This led to the Contractor changing the expected responsibilities for the new service provider during knowledge transfer sessions.

Recommendation 5 - Roles and responsibilities for all parties should be clearly documented and should include the proposed service design.

Industry guidance/ further reading

PRINCE2, Managing successful projects with PRINCE2, 6th edition (2017), pp. 338-348.

NICSHR, Art of Delegation (e-Learning), via LInKS.

Commercial Delivery Group’s Programme and Project Management hub: Roles & Responsibilities in Programme/Project Management | Department of Finance (

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