PROJECT MANAGEMENT: Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM)

This article explains Responsibility Assignment Matrix in a practical way. After reading you will understand the basics of this powerful project management tool.

What is the Responsibility Assignment Matrix or RAM?

Project managers like using a Responsibility Assignment Matrix to identify the role of the various members of a project team. This matrix is a structural chart in which is visually made clear what should be done by whom. In the matrix it is clear what the tasks and responsibilities are of each of the team members. It is also referred to as the RACI matrixVERI matrix or Linear Responsibility Chart (LCR).

Responsibility Assignment Matrix example

Despite the simple nature of all information in the matrix memory, it can be very time-consuming to assign each member of the project team with the right tasks and responsibilities. In addition the appropriate roles must be defined in advance before they are included in the responsibility assignment matrix.

To do this well and accurately, the matrix can be completed using the following steps:

  • Step 1: Identify all the participants and (facilities) supporters of the project.
  • Step 2: Identify all the deliverables for the project.
  • Step 3: Discuss with all team members how they can support each other to achieve the best performance. It is important to define each participant’s responsibilities so that there will be no misunderstandings.
  • Step 4: The initial draft of the responsibility assignment matrix is created, with the activities in the left-hand column and the team members in the project in the first right-hand column. Enter the roles that each person will have in the cells that have been formed. An example of this can be seen in the form of a RACI matrix) Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed) above.
  • Step 5: Have the participants in the project approve the responsibility assignment matrix (in writing). Again to prevent misunderstandings.
  • Step 6: Any remarks on changes in the responsibility assignment matrix can be filed by the participants in writing. Finally, the responsibility assignment matrix will be reviewed and after approval has been obtained, the project can start.
  • Step 7: Interim assessment is important. When it appears that it is better to adjust the responsibility assignment matrix, you will have to go back to step 3 and the adjustments must be discussed with all team members.

Responsibility Assignment Matrix and complex projects

The Responsibility Assignment Matrix is also suitable for complex projects. When activities are overlooked and the matrix contains incomplete and/or inaccurate information, this will lead to duplicated efforts. It is therefore advisable to ensure that all information is included in the matrix and that all information is and remains accurate. The following suggestions contribute to a larger chance of success of a matrix in a complex project:

1. Hierarchy of charts

Divide the Responsibility Assignment Matrix into separate graphs so that a distinction can be made according to priorities. The Responsibility Assignment Matrix with the highest levels identifies the high-priority activities within the project. From this point Responsibility Assignment Matrix graphs can be developed that have been derived from this higher level.

2. Involvement

By involving all the members of the project team in the development of the Responsibility Assignment Matrix, they will know exactly what is expected of them and they will participate and be (more) committed to using their own specializations.

3. Written representation

By putting the Responsibility Assignment Matrix in writing, any mistakes or problems can be identified. Moreover, the participants in the project will have a better understanding of what their joint participation in the project is.

Role identification

In a Responsibility Assignment Matrix the role of the individual and the role of the group are not separated. The role describes the participation with accompanying tasks of the individual in the project. Such a role can be performed by several people in a group. Vice versa, one person may have several roles in the project. This is why several employees can have the role of project manager and one individual may have the role of manager and task performer.



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