Responsibility Matrix

Purpose

The responsibility matrix highlights the individuals responsible for certain deliverables or activities within a project. It is used to convey to team members, management, and (in some cases) the customer information about who will be responsible for which deliverables and activities.

Application

The responsibility matrix is often posted visibly to ensure that all concerned stakeholders can readily determine who has responsibility for particular activities or deliverables. It can provide information on both overall responsibility as well as levels of support or secondary responsibility among other project participants.

Content

The responsibility matrix normally consists of a matrix of project team members (or stakeholders) juxtaposed against project deliverables, activities or objectives, as shown in Figure 4.16. The content does not normally include extensive information

Responsibility matrix

Task 1/ Deliverable 1

Task 2/ Deliverable 2

Task 3/ Deliverable 3

Task 4/ Deliverable 4

Task 5/ Deliverable 5

Task 6/ Deliverable 6

Task 7/ Deliverable 7

Ramone

S

R

R

Miguel

R

Marianne

S

S

Juanita

S

R

R

Joao

S

S

Angel

R

R = Responsible S = Secondary

R = Responsible S = Secondary

Figure 4.16 Responsibility matrix.

about the nature or types of responsibility; it merely identifies the individual(s) who will ultimately be held accountable for project task performance.

Approaches

As Figure 4.16 illustrates, the types of information provided in the responsibility matrix can vary. For some tasks or deliverables, there may be no need to identify secondary or supporting responsibility (as is the case with Task 4 in Figure 4.16). For others, there may be cause to have multiple individuals in the secondary or supporting role.

The one case that is never appropriate in a responsibility matrix is one in which a task has no one with responsibility (as in Task 1 of Figure 4.16). Ultimately, if a task or deliverable is truly important to the organization and its success, then someone must have responsibility for performance.

Considerations

The responsibility matrix is among the simplest display tools of project management. There is very little additional instruction or information that need be shared to ensure that its message is clearly understood. As such, managers may be tempted to supplement it with other information or to blend it with other project management tools. The advantage of using the responsibility matrix is that it is so simple. Because of that simplicity, there is very little need to communicate verbally to define the information is provides. It is comprehensive in its coverage.

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