Use the Responsibility Matrix to Clarify Who Does What

Thursday, September 5, 2013

In a large project, there may be many people that have some role in the creation and approval of project deliverables. Sometimes this is pretty straightforward, such as one person writing a document and one person approving it. In other cases, there may be many people who have a hand in the creation and others that need to have varying levels of approval. For complicated scenarios involving many people, it can be helpful to have a Deliverable Responsibility Matrix. This helps set expectations and ensures people know what is expected from them.
On the matrix, the different people (or roles) appear as columns, with the specific deliverables in question listed as rows. Then, use the intersecting points to describe each person's responsibility for each deliverable. A simple matrix is shown, followed by suggested responsibility categories.

Project Sponsor
Project Director
Project Manager
Project Team
Steering Committee
Project Charter
A
A
C
R
A
Communication Management Plan
A
R
C
R
A
Business Requirements
A
R
R
C
A
Status Reports
R
R
C
R
R
  • A - Approves the deliverable
  • R - Reviews the deliverable (and provides feedback)
  • C - Creates the deliverable (could be C (1) for primary, C (2) for backup)
  • I - Provides input
  • N - notified when a deliverable is complete
  • M - Manages the deliverable (such as a librarian or person responsible for the document repository)
In the table above, the Project Charter is created by the project manager; approved by the project sponsor, project director and the steering committee; and reviewed by the project team.
The matrix is used to clarify and gain agreement on who does what, so you can define the columns with as much detail as makes sense. For instance, in the above example, the 'project team' could have been broken into specific people or the person responsible for creating the Business Requirements.
Source:TenStep

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