Project Roles

In order to ensure successful project completion, many vital roles are involved during a project lifecycle. These key roles often overlap depending on the phase of the project. The most common roles related to projects are as follows:

IT Council Steering Committee

infrastructurelearningtechnologyenterprisesystemsresearchuserexperiencecouncilsteeringcommitteeadvisorycommitteeactionitemsThe IT governance process provides the vision, priorities, and pace for the work to be undertaken by UMD information technology organizations.  An IT Council Steering Committee, five work groups, and an IT Security Advisory Committee, composed of faculty, staff, and students, will define priorities and resources for DIT projects.

Project Sponsor/Executive Sponsor

The Sponsor is the individual who makes the business case for the project. This person may be an individual within the University of Maryland leadership ranks. This individual has the authority to define project goals, secure resources, and resolve organizational and priority conflicts. The Sponsor oversees the project and provides guidance, direction, oversight, and political support to the Project Manager and the Project Team. He or she approves the project proposal and project charter, and provides the formal sign-off for accepting the final work product from the project.



Stakeholders can be individuals and organizations (e.g., customers, sponsors, project team, etc.) actively involved in the project, or whose interests may be affected positively or negatively by execution or completion of the project. Typical stakeholders for most projects include academic departments, administrative units, the greater university community, as well as the customer who provided the original need for the project. Stakeholders will vary by project. The Project Sponsor and Manager must identify stakeholders at the beginning of the project.

Business Analyst (BA)

The Business Analyst undertakes the business analysis process in relation to an organization, system, or application, and documents the process, workflows, and system requirements.

The Business Analyst's role in the project involves the following responsibilities:

  • Understand what the business does and how it works
  • Determine or analyze how to improve existing business process(es)
  • Gather the high-level requirements from clients and prepare a Project Proposal Summary (PPS)
  • Prepare a technical and functional requirements document for the project team
  • Verify the requirements during the application or product release to ensure all the requirements are met according to stakeholders’ expectations

Business Owner

For projects that closely involve University of Maryland units outside of the Division of IT, the Business Owner is the individual responsible for people and process of his/her unit.

Project Manager

The Project Manager is responsible for managing and completing the project on behalf of the sponsor. Approval of the project charter grants authority to the project manager to staff the project team, procure resources, and utilize the systems necessary to complete the project objectives.



In the context of a project, Users comprise a special group of stakeholders who will be the end-users of the system or service that the project is developing. During the project, they may be involved via testing groups. Given the nature of the academic calendar and certain groups' limited availability, there are many challenges that will affect scheduling, communication, and receiving input. Therefore, when working on projects that affect the entire university community, those leading the project should consider how to appropriately engage various user groups throughout the project life cycle.

Business Lead

For projects that closely involve University of Maryland units outside the Division of IT, the Business Lead is the individual who will work most closely with the IT Lead and the Project Manager to monitor and control the project.

IT Lead

The IT Lead is the individual who will work most closely with the Project Manager and Business Lead to monitor and control the project, for projects that involve University of Maryland units outside of the Division of IT. For some projects, the IT Owner and Lead may be the same person.

IT Owner

The IT Owner will most typically be at the level of Division of IT Director. This individual is responsible for tools and data of his/her group.

The Project Team

The Project Team is composed of those individuals that report either part time or full time to the Project Manager and are responsible for performing project tasks. Within a project team there are specific roles including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Project Team Leaders
    Project Teams may be divided into various functional or logistical sub-teams. Project Team Leaders are the staff members responsible for leading the sub-teams and coordinating activities with the Project Manager. For larger projects, the Project Manager may have a Project Leadership Team or Project Coordination Team. This team is composed of Project Team Leaders and the Project Manager for the purpose of coordinating activities.
  • Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
    Subject Matter Experts are individuals retained on a project due to their high level of knowledge, experience or specialized training. A SME can be either internal or external to the organization and serves on a project team as the expert on a particular system, application, or in a specific functional area.
  • Operations Staff
    Representative(s) of an Operations Staff serve as members of a Project Team to help ensure that the deliverable(s) of the project can be integrated into ongoing operations.
  • Customer Representative
    Customer Representatives may serve as members of a Project Team to provide clarification on project requirements.
  • Vendors
    Project Team Leaders, with the approval of the sponsor, may bring in vendors to provide specialized skill sets to a project team.