Process 1: Organize the Core Team

Published: April 25, 2008


The first process in envisioning is for management to organize the core project team and produce the project structure document.

Figure 4. Organize the core team

Activities: Organize the Core Team

During this process, management assigns core members to the project team. Typically, management does not assemble the full team yet. The initial team often plays multiple roles until all members are in place.

After assigning the core team, management creates a project structure document that describes the team’s organization and the roles and specific responsibilities assigned to each team member. The project structure document also clarifies the chain of accountability to the customer and specifies the designated points of contact that the project team has with the customer. These can vary depending on the circumstances of the project.

Table 4. Activities and Considerations for Organizing the Core Team



Assign core members to the project team

  • What is the project’s scale—small, medium, or large?
  • Will members be dedicated to the team or will they work on other projects as well?
  • Will members have multiple roles or will each member have a unique role?
  • Does the organization have an existing team model for IT projects?
  • Are team members experienced in their assigned roles? Is training required?


  • Project proposal


  • Project structure document, which includes:
    • Project goals, objectives, assumptions, and constraints.
    • Project scope.
    • Roles and responsibilities.
    • Project protocols.
    • Risk and issue assessment.
    • Project glossary.
  • Core members assigned to the project team

Best practices:

  • Although team members can fulfill multiple roles in most cases, the team members who are assigned Development and Test roles should not take on other roles.
  • Team members in the Product Management and Program Management roles should be fully dedicated to the project during envisioning.
  • In the project structure document, describe milestones early on so the customer understands when things are supposed to occur and that project the team can use during its planning activities. This document also identifies the checkpoints where milestone reviews to assess the project’s quality and its results will occur.
  • Document the project’s organizational structure, ensuring that all team members understand their roles in making the project a success, clarifying lines of reporting and decision making, and providing key stakeholders the opportunity to ensure that the project’s organizational structure (the project’s form) will facilitate the work (the project’s function).



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