A Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM),is an outline that describes the input of various given roles in implementation deliverables or tasks for business or a project. It is particularly vital and very useful in clarifying duties and roles in cross functional processes. Thus, Responsibility Assignment Matrix identifies all the team members directly responsible for each given task as well as a list of supporting organizational members.
Responsibility Assignment Matrix(RAM) is also known as a RACI matrix or a Linear Responsibility Chart(LRC).The acronym RACI is derivative from the four key in tasks that are most characteristically used in any project or process.
These are accountable, liable, Consulted and the well-versed. The Responsible represents those who are charged with the role of achieving the task. Typically, there is one role that has a chipping in type of Responsible.However,others can be delegated to help in the required work.Accountable represents the one solely charged with the role of making sure that there is correct and meticulous conclusion of the duty or deliverable. In other terms, the Accountable approves the work done by theResponsible.
There should only be a single responsible precise for a certain given task. The Consulted represents those whose views are sought as well as whom there exists a two-way channel communiqué. The consulted are the experts on that given field or area. Finally, the Informed represents the ones who are up-dated with the progress of the project and with whom there only exists one-channel communication.
Often, the Accountable role for a duty may also be liable for its completion. A good example of this case is where the project manager is both accountable and responsible for publishing the timelines of the project. Apart from this exemption, it is suggested that each task in a process receive, at most, a single of the types of participation for proper and optimal execution of tasks.
A Responsibility Assignment Matrix(RAM) Is useful in the modern world of business and projects. Its importance is mainly seen when a business organization or project has a lot of people working and there is too much work to be done as well. There are many benefits that accrue to an organization that uses this tool. According to Jeffrey. K. Pinto in his book –( Project Management: Achieving Competitive Advantage and MS Projecting),one of the benefits of using a Responsibility Assignment Matrix is that it can act as a tool of communication. The matrix shows the chain of command to be followed and that way acting as an instrumental communication tool. It also provides the stakeholders of the project with a mental picture of the deliverables and the people who are accountable and responsible for the accomplishment of given tasks within a business organization or project. It also does the work of defining engagement rules for interactions between cross functional groups, teams/departments as well asteam members.
It also acts as a tool for managing conflicts within an organization between various teams, groups and individuals. Since a responsibility assignment matrix defines rules of interaction between various aspects of the organization, it can be used to avoid potential conflicts that may arise from ownership and accountability issues.Moreover,it provides a chain of command and thus an approach towards solving interdepartmental conflicts as well as interpersonal conflicts.
Responsibility Assignment Matrix addresses overlaps. It can bring out any overlap of roles as well as responsibilities that may exist in a project. A responsibility assignment matrix dictates who is in charge of what and when. In this sense, it can form a good basis of solving disputes emerging from overlap of roles between various departments, teams or individuals within the project. Overlap of roles leads to time wastage and conflicts between the parties involved. Therefore, for optimal and timely execution of tasks, a good responsibility matrix should be adopted.
The matrix can be used as a basis of assessing the status of the project. Ultimately, this is not a direct benefit accruing to a responsibility assignment matrix, the project manager can use it to expose hidden risks that may arise as a result of a multifaceted deliverable represented in the matrix. In addition to this, by knowing the person in charge of what, members can inform the relevant people that is, stake-holders and top management of the project’s progress and the general status of the project.
This tool is also beneficial to a project manager. It is the role of the project manager to identify the qualifications,abilities,strengths and weaknesses of the team members. This information can be used in future during assignment of tasks so as to achieve the highest level of competence. It is true that a Responsibility Assignment Matrix can only be beneficial if only the right person is allocated the right task.Therefore,for a project manager to come up with a good and useful responsibility matrix, he or she should know who to put in charge of what and when.This can be possible if the project manager has proper knowledge of his or her team members.
With the modern form of complex business world characterized by cut-throat completion,deadlines,large labour forces and a lot of tasks to be executed, having an elaborate responsibility assignment matrix is not an option if at all you want to get an upper hand in competition.
Jeffrey K Pinto (2010) Project Management: Achieving Competitive Advantage and MS Project