Thursday, October 16, 2008

Assigning Roles and Responsibilities

Do you cringe at the thought of responsibility? Many people do. Having something fall on your shoulders may seem daunting. However, it is also through responsibility that a certain amount of freedom is gained.

Freedom through responsibility? It's true. Responsibility gives you the freedom to use your skills, talents, and intellect. Most people thrive on responsibility and blossom when they believe they have handled their responsibilities well.

Successful projects have clearly defined project roles (who does what) and responsibilities (who decides what). Most roles and responsibilities are assigned to stakeholders who are actively involved in the work of the project. These can include the project manager, other members of the project management team, and the individual contributors. Roles and responsibilities may vary over time.

Project managers bear the majority of the responsibility for the success of the project. It is their job to ensure that a project comes in on time and on budget. To succeed in this capacity, project managers must delegate roles and responsibilities to their team members. And the tool they use to do this is called a Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM).

A RAM links project roles and responsibilities to the project scope definition. A RAM can be developed at various levels. Generally, they fall into two categories: low-level RAM and high-level RAM.

A low-level RAM delegates roles and responsibilities for specific activities to particular individuals within your team.

The more phases you have for your project, the more complex your matrix is going to be. A high-level RAM is very complex and shows many phases of a project. It may define which group or unit is responsible for each element of the work breakdown structure.

Responsibility is an essential component of project success. A Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM) shows where you and your team members' responsibilities lie.

Assigning responsibilities reaps huge benefits. Your team feels it has control and authority for specific tasks. Progress happens when team members focus on their own responsibilities.

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