Define ownership roles and responsibilities

It may be a very simple task to define the roles and responsibilities for the project ownership. Ownership can consist of just one or a few persons.  It may also be a complex task where project ownership is divided among multiple roles including delegation of ownership.  Key areas include:

  • Project sponsorship (representative from the owner who wants the project executed)
  • Project funding (who has the money)
  • Ability to engage and power to prioritize that an organization shall spend time on a project
  • Scope and sign-off on deliveries (who determines what to do and when to approve deliveries)
  • Ownership of resources (who provides resources for the project)
  • Steering committee (who is included and what are the responsibilities)
  • User representatives
  • Domain owners (e.g. technical, legal, compliance or operational organization)


Persons that are part of the project ownership are all stakeholders of incredible importance to the project. If they are truly committed to the project, they will create the vision for the project, ensure funding and resources, make key decisions when needed, remove obstacles, promote the project and be dedicated change agents.

Formal responsibilities

  • Ownership of the business case (content, financial case, budget, timeline, risk profile
  • Work authorization
  • Signing contracts
  • Funding the project
  • Deciding to go or not go to the next phase


Other responsibilities and capabilities

  • Seller (sell the project to other stakeholders and passionately sell benefits)
  • Coach and mentor (especially for the project manager)
  • Filter and protector (protects the project from unnecessary interference, conflicts and problems)
  • Business judge (sound business judgment in key decisions)
  • Motivator (defines vision, keeps focus on project importance and helps solve problems)
  • Negotiator (e.g., with managers and parties who are not supportive and resolve resource assignment problems)
  • Upper management link (keeps upper management informed and aligned with the project)