Defining a Project Team: What are Different Team Roles in a Typical Work Project?

Samantha Pratt Lile
February 8, 2022
 min read
Defining a Project Team: What are Different Team Roles in a Typical Work Project?Defining a Project Team: What are Different Team Roles in a Typical Work Project?
Table of Contents

All successful companies set goals, but how do those goals get accomplished? Who is responsible for improving processes or finding solutions to new problems? Organizations create project teams to focus on these and other objectives. Like any other team, project team members work together to accomplish their goals, a process made more efficient when everyone serves a specific role.

By defining project roles, managers are more likely to delegate tasks, creating accountability for team members. By identifying project roles, teams gain an understanding of who is responsible for what tasks, knowledge that empowers them to make decisions and master their duties.

Project teams benefit from defined project roles in a variety of ways, including:

  • Assigning specific project roles allows managers to more easily delegate responsibilities.
  • Specific project roles give team members ownership over their portion of a larger project, which boosts accountability and responsibility.
  • Defined project roles give a project structure, which allows for better collaboration and problem-solving.
  • By defining project roles, managers are empowered to plan more effective budgets for their projects since each team member can account for the costs of their specific responsibilities.
  • When project roles are defined, managers are better able to assess the performance of their team members.
  • Teams with assigned roles more readily meet deadlines since each team member holds a thorough understanding of their assigned tasks.

Once a project team’s roles are defined, they can be communicated with an organizational chart like the one created using’s Smart Slide template. It’s easy to present a project team’s organization with the PowerPoint-alternative software. Just start adding names and watch as artificial intelligence creates a perfectly designed infographic.

Unsure what roles to assign in your project team to achieve the best results? While every company, project and team is different, the following project team roles are typical to many organizations:

Project manager

An essential component of any project team, the project manager leads the other team members and organizes the overall mission. Project managers typically create and organize the team, assigning the other project roles. Other responsibilities of the project manager include creating schedules and deadlines, organizing and managing a budget for the project, delegating tasks and providing updates to company stakeholders.

Project sponsor

In larger organizations, a project sponsor represents a more senior member of the company, often a representative of upper management, who oversees the project from a high level. While this person will not be involved with the day-to-day management of a project, they will help create goals, address obstacles and sign off on major project components.

Business analyst

Also known as a resource manager, a business analyst ensures project teams have the technology, tools and resources needed to work efficiently. When a project team encounters a problem, a business analyst provides the resources needed to find a solution. Resource managers and business analysts ensure team members have the necessary tools to fulfill their roles, and they analyze a teams’ resources to ensure they are meeting defined objectives.

Team leaders

Large projects often will include multiple team leaders who report directly to the project manager. A project team will be divided into committees assigned to various functions, and each committee will report to a team leader. Team leaders head their committees by initiating action and modeling positive performance, while they take charge in decision-making collaborations. While they don’t typically manage team members, team leaders often act as coaches, helping their teams maximize their potential.


In the modern workplace, technology is essential to success, but who will oversee the nuts and bolts of the operation? Every project team needs team members assigned to support the technical aspects of the project, although those exact roles can vary. These include IT personnel, software developers, database managers and engineers, depending on the specific project and business sector. These important project support members can hold a variety of technical roles, which can be assigned by the project manager.

Subject matter experts

To promote project efficiency, project managers might assign specific topics to team members, who become subject matter experts in the area. While SME is not the team member’s primary role, they are available to offer specialist input as needed and might be called upon to aid in making decisions related to their area of expertise.

Project team members

Every project team is composed of members who are assigned duties within the sphere of the project. A project member might be assigned a single duty, or they could be awarded multiple assignments and committees. Project team member roles include contributing to overall project objectives, serving on committees, offering expertise when requested and collaborating with the overall team to meet business needs.

Steering committee

Larger projects might utilize a steering committee that represents various project stakeholders and offers input for strategic decisions. Often comprised of executive leadership and senior-level stakeholders, a steering committee might be assigned to a specific project, or it might be formed to confer on a broader strategy that encompasses the project.

Samantha Pratt Lile

Samantha Pratt Lile

Samantha is an independent journalist, editor, blogger and content manager. Examples of her published work can be found at sites including the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, and Buzzfeed.

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