7 Main Roles in Waterfall Projects

Project management roles have evolved, and there are now a variety of distinct roles available in the field. When project management began, a large majority of the workforce consisted mostly of engineers and scientists, and their jobs were centred on the project’s technical requirements.

The job’s duties have grown as more experts from diverse backgrounds have entered the field of project management.

Product owner, portfolio manager, program manager, operations manager, agile coach, change manager, Scrum master, and project manager are just a few of the numerous positions available. Each of these positions has its own responsibilities specific to the skills required for that role.

In a waterfall environment, we deal with various jobs that oversee the project’s workflow, contribute to its funding, and specify duties and responsibilities, among other things.

In this article, we will discuss the Key 7 Roles in a Waterfall Project Environment definitions, roles, and responsibilities starting with the project sponsor.

Project Sponsor

Every project must have a sponsor. The sponsor is the one who provides the financial resources; this person promotes the project from a business standpoint and works to remove obstacles that might affect its overall success. project sponsors can be a group of people working together.

  • Roles:
    • gathers the appropriate support for the project and provides funding.
    • the project sponsor sets requirements that must be met and contributes to the definition of the measurable project goals.
    • provide details on the project’s original scope and assist with risk identification.
    • ensure that all relevant stakeholders are informed of the project’s milestones, key dates, and completion dates.
    • provides data to assist in the creation of the project charter and approves the final project management plan.
    • provides expert judgment and sets priorities between projects.
    • shields the project from outside influences and changes and supports the efforts of the project manager and team.
    • enforces quality standards and decides which reports management will demand to measure project performance.
    • resolves conflicts that extend beyond the project manager’s control.
    • offers official approval of the deliverables (if they are the customers).

Portfolio Manager

A portfolio is a collection of projects, programs, and subsidiary portfolios that must be overseen at the executive level by a portfolio manager in order to achieve strategic objectives.

A portfolio manager is an experienced manager (or managers) who oversees the management of mutual funds and other financial investments. He has extensive industry knowledge and essential skills.

  • Roles:
    • establishing and managing the processes required for the overall portfolio.
    • managing various programs and projects, which may not be related to each other, as well as managing their financial resources.
    • ensuring that selected projects offer value to the organization.
    • putting in place comprehensive strategies to achieve business objectives.
    • collaborating with senior executives to establish priorities and gain support for projects.
    • maximizing the return on investment of resources and monitoring real-time statistics.
    • track strategic changes, overall resource allocation, performance outcomes, and portfolio risk.

Program Manager

The program manager is in charge of a group of linked projects, subsidiary programs, and program activities that are all interconnected to improve the organization.

To ensure that the overall objectives, schedules, budgets, and benefits of the program will be realized, program managers keep an eye on the development of each program component and work to meet project and program goals.

  • Roles:
    • coordinating numerous related projects to achieve objectives that could not be realized by handling them separately.
    • because the program manager is constantly concentrating on long-term company goals, it is crucial to make sure the projects chosen support the organization’s strategic goals.
    • adjusting the projects to make sure that they will benefit the program
    • directing and assisting each project manager’s efforts

Project Manager

The project manager oversees the project’s execution to ensure that project goals are met, and the organization receives value and benefits; delivering project benefits is the project manager’s responsibility.

The project manager’s level of authority may change depending on the organizational structure and whether they are hired full- or part-time.

The PM should be selected early on in the project’s lifecycle. This person is responsible for overseeing the project’s completion in accordance with the project’s budget and schedule.

  • Key Roles:
    • assist with project charter writing.
    • oversees and coordinates the project planning processes to get the needed approval for the project plan.
    • chooses the best practices for the project.
    • determine the different project activities and their interdependence.
    • develops project-specific time and financial reserves.
    • avoid scope creep and use the word “no” when necessary.
    • focuses more on taking preventive actions than on resolving issues.
    • recognizes how potential cultural differences may affect the project.
    • ensures respectful relationships between the project team and other stakeholders.
    • focuses on team development and uses rewards and recognition.
    • evaluates the need for change requests, decides with relevant stakeholders whether to accept or deny these requests, and frequently participates on the change control board.
    • identifies the necessary quality standards.
    • oversee the proposed corrective and preventative measures, as well as defect repairs.
    • identifies stakeholders and supports stakeholder engagement.
    • takes decisions, manages resources, and resolves issues.
    • addresses any deviations from the project baseline in collaboration with the team members.
    • maintains the team’s emphasis on risk management and potential responses to it.
    • performs project closing for the entire project and for each phase.

Project Team

The team that will execute the project’s work is made up of several individuals, including the project manager; throughout the project, the team members may change.

The team will carry out all project-related tasks throughout the project’s lifecycle. They develop the deliverables represented by work packages and assist in identifying any deviations from the project schedule.

  • Roles:
    • identify requirements, constraints, and assumptions.
    • produce the WBS and focus on providing a schedule and cost estimates.

      Functional  or Resource Managers

    • implement the project management plan to carry out the tasks outlined in the project scope statement.
    • take an active role in risk management, and mostly they are the risk owners.
    • maintain quality and communication plans while sharing knowledge.
    • implement the project management plan to carry out the tasks outlined in the project scope statement.
    • recommend changes to the project, including corrective actions, and implement change requests as well.
    • Participate in building the database of lessons learned.

Functional  or Resource Managers

They collaborated with the project manager to meet the project’s requirements.

In order to avoid conflict, the project manager and functional managers must find a balance between their respective demands for the use of resources to complete the project and functional work.

The tasks assigned to functional or resource managers on a project might vary greatly depending on the type of organizational structure.

Departments like IT, engineering, public relations, marketing, etc. are managed by functional or resource managers; the project manager is typically in charge of managing this connection through effective interpersonal and team skills, such as conflict resolution and emotional intelligence, as well as clear communication.

  • Roles:
    • assigning specific team members to the team and discussing the team and physical resource allocation with the project manager
    • informing the project manager of any new projects or workload demands that may have an impact on the project.
    • providing subject matter expertise and improving resource utilization
    • providing subject matter knowledge and enhancing resource productivity
    • being a part of the early planning process and approving the final project schedule.
    • taking part in risk assessment and assisting with concerns impacting the team or the physical resources under their control.
    • they are involved in team members’ awards and recognition
    • participating in quality management
    • working as a member of the change control board and suggesting changes to the project, including corrective or preventive actions.


A stakeholder is anyone who has impacted or can have a significant impact on the project, either positively or negatively. The project manager and the stakeholders themselves determine each stakeholder’s role in a project.

  • Includes:
    • The customer or end user.
    • The project manager and team.
    • The project’s sponsor, program, and portfolio managers.
    • The project management office (PMO).
    • Functional or operational manager.
    • many divisions or teams inside the corporation.
    • external vendors who supply the project with goods or services.
  • Roles:
    • creating the project scope statement and the project charter
    • developing the project management plan
    • being a member of the change control board and approving project changes
    • identifying constraints and assumptions.
    • provide expert judgment.
    • attend reviews and accept the deliverables presented.
    • be a risk owner.

To conclude this article, we have discussed the main roles in a waterfall management environment.

You can find also our articles regarding agile core values and agile principles.

Sources: PMI