Project Manager Roles and Responsibilities

It is a long-standing joke in the project management community that if anyone ever asks you who is responsible for anything in the project, the answer will always be the project manager. Truly it is easier to specify what the project manager does not do than to discuss what he or she actually does and is responsible for.

The nature and scope of the project should dictate the individual roles and responsibilities of the project team. When all of the team assignments and responsibilities have been decided, all of the functions and responsibilities of the project will have been assigned. The responsibility-accountability matrix is useful for determining and tracking the relationship between a given responsibility and who is responsible for it.

Responsibility-Accountability Matrix

As can be seen in Figure 5-1, the responsibility-accountability matrix is a short notational form that allows us to easily see the relationship between the individuals on a project

Figure 5-1. Responsibility-accountability matrix.

Joe

Mary

Frank

Louie

Requirements definition

S

R

A

P

Functional design

S

A

P

Detail design

S

R

A

Development

R

S

A

Testing

S

P—Participates A—Accountable R—Reviews I—Input required S—Sign off team and their responsibilities. Various levels of the responsibility-accountability matrix may be developed for various parts and levels of the project. These are quite simple. The persons involved are listed in the first column on the left and the responsibilities are listed in a row across the top. For each person-responsibility combination there is an intersecting space. The intersection shows the person and their involvement in the responsibility. A third dimension can be shown with a legend listing the different ways that a person can be involved and using symbols at the intersection to show the involvement.

Project Schedule

The project manager, in order to determine when activities are supposed to take place in the project, uses the project schedule (Figure 5-2). It constitutes the schedule for the work that has to be done. Of course, people are involved with the work that has to be done. The project manager in a matrix organization draws the people from the functional organization.

Staffing Plan

Referring to Figure 5-3, the functional manager must have a staffing plan that allows him or her to know where the people in the functional organization are committed. If these commitments are not organized, the utilization of the human resources will be poor. A staffing plan for the functional manager is similar to the project schedule, except that instead of showing the schedule for each task in the project, it shows the schedule for each resource in the functional manager's responsibility.

It is important that the project manager and the functional manager have a clear understanding as to who is being moved to the project to perform work for the project and when they are scheduled to do it. The staffing plan communicates this information very well, and the employees and both managers as well as other project managers seeking resources can easily see what is going on.

Training Plan

Sometimes the project work requires skills that are not available. In these situations it may be necessary for a project to accept a resource who lacks the proper training for the work. A training plan is necessary to support the training for this type of individual.

Figure 5-2. Project schedule.

Task 1 Richard Cordes

Task 2 Jeanette Williams

Task 3

Nancy Brown

Figure 5-3. Staffing plans.

Mary Jane

Frank

Time

Project A mzssssssssà Project B

Project C '■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■'

Organization Chart

Hierarchical organization charts are the traditional ''Org. Charts'' that we are all used to. They show the reporting hierarchy from the bottom of the project organization to the project manager. It is important that these charts be circulated widely so that any misunderstandings about who reports to whom can be avoided. The Organizational Breakdown Structure (OBS) is the hierarchical organization chart of the existing departments and their responsibilities, while the Resource Breakdown Structure (RBS) is the arrangement of the project by the types of resources employed by the project.

For example, if we had a project to build a ship to transport people to Mars, in the OBS we might have departments responsible for the structure, propulsion, electronics, navigation, and many more. Each of these units may be located in different places or even different cities, and all of them may employ one or more skills that are used in other departments. In the case of the RBS, the resources are organized according to similar skills organized into categories.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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