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The Responsibility Matrix is a project management tool for correlating project work assignments with project team members.
When to use
This technique is normally used with large teams and teams that are not co-located. Small co-located project team, assignment are normally managed in the day-to-day team interactions. When the team is large or members are not co-located, the assignment of responsibilities needs to be more formal to avoid confusion leading to duplication or omission of work.
The Responsibility Matrix is an excellent communication and risk identification tool. It provides a visual communication of the contribution of each team member. It also will highlight if a team member is overloaded or who may not have the requisite skills to do the work assigned.
- List the project Team Members across the top of the matrix.
- List the project tasks (summary or detail) down the side of the matrix.
- For each task assign one person as the individual leading the task. This is often a Core Team member.
- Assign the roles of other project team members assisting on each task. This includes both Core Team and extended team members.
Assigning roles in the matrix
There are many techniques in use for assigning roles in the matrix. It is strongly recommended that you use one that assigns support roles in addition to lead roles for each task so that team members who must participate on a task are aware of that portion of their job.
The most common technique is based upon the CMMI methodology and uses the acronym RACI.
- Responsible – someone who must do a portion of the work on the task but is not the task leader.
- Accountable – the person who plans the task and ensures it is done correctly. Often they are the primary individual doing work on the task.
- Consult – a team member who may be asked to provide information for the task, but is not expected to do any significant work on the task
- Inform – a team member who needs to be informed about the work on the task because of its impact on their responsibilities
Another technique that I like to use is CALM.
- Contribute – a team member who provides supporting effort for a task.
- Approve – a team member who must review and approve the work of the task.
- Lead – the team member who is responsible for planning and leading the task. They often do most of the work.
- Monitor – a team member who tracks the progress on the task because of its impact on their responsibilities.
Responsibility Assignment Matrix: “A grid that shows the project resources assigned to each work package.” PMBOK® Guide
This definition is taken from the Glossary of the Project Management Institute, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMBOK® Guide) – Sixth Edition, Project Management Institute, Inc., 2017.
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