Charles Callies de Salies
By Charles Nov 15, 2022

Project Management Fundamentals (Part 2) – Managing Roles and Responsibilities

Managing roles and responsibilities is a fundamental task in project management.

It consists of defining the role of each project participant, their scope of action, and their objectives. It’s therefore crucial to the project’s success.

Imagine you’re a coach in charge of a sports team. What do you think would happen if you didn’t assign roles to each of your players? Safe to say, you probably wouldn’t be winning a whole lotta games (and forget about the playoffs!)

It’s the same for project management! 😊

Thankfully, there are multiple tools and methods that can be used throughout the project to ensure skill leverage while providing the team with clear objectives and optimal structure. We’ll tell you more here! ⬇️

Methodology and key stages: starting your project off right

While it sounds redundant, one of the foundations of Agile is the notion of roles.

As project managers, we’re responsible for assigning roles properly to ensure that everyone has a framework from which to start the design process. We also need to make sure that everyone knows who’s the go-to person in charge of clearing up ambiguities! As you can see, this all takes place at the beginning of the project!

1 – Getting ready for kick off!

It goes without saying that a kick-off meeting involving the entire project team is one of the best times to discuss the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved.

The meeting is a must because it allows you to:

  • Bring together all project participants, create a rapport between team members, and initiate collaboration methods
  • Review the project background and objectives
  • Clarify roles and identify the initial risks

Messing up your kick-off can lead to misunderstandings and other issues, such as HR problems, budgetary overruns, or the inability to stay on course.

2 – Creating an RACI matrix (or how to channel your inner Neo)

Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it sounds. The RACI is a matrix that assigns roles and responsibilities to team members based on the work that needs to be accomplished.

Depending on the nature of your project and the structure you choose to implement, the RACI can be developed more or less at a macro level. It’s up to you to determine the level of detail with which you want to organize each responsibility.

Take, for example, a small project led by a team that’s already used to working together: the RACI matrix can be rather basic since the risk of misunderstanding is low!

An RACI is only effective if everyone sticks to it. It’s therefore a good idea to involve the team in its development. Together, you’ll identify the organizational, functional and technical tasks that’ll shape the project. You and your team will therefore decide:

  • Who is responsible for the task (Responsible): This person designs or oversees the design and is responsible for ensuring that the task is completed on time and according to the wishes of the stakeholders.
  • Who arbitrates on or determines the key elements related to a task (Accountable).
  • Who needs to be consulted before, during, and after the design stage (Consulted): These team members are usually key resources with extensive expertise.
  • Who needs to be informed of project decisions and the status of deliverables (Informed).

Here’s what an RACI matrix looks like:

Blog Managing Roles and Responsabilities - RACI

Failure to comply with RACI assignments can lead to disorganization, interference, and deviations from the scope, budget, or schedule, all of which can result in major issues and, in most extreme cases, project failure.

The RACI is a cross-functional document that accompanies the team throughout the project.

It’s a living document that evolves according to various project phases and therefore needs to be reread and probably revised from week to week.

3 – Achieving optimal results (CIP for the win!)

At Uzinakod, Agility is part of our DNA, and Agility requires a scalable approach. When a situation evolves, the team must follow suit!

This is where your CIP (Continuous Improvement Plan) comes into play.

While most of its resulting actions come from sprint retrospective meetings, it can be modified at any time.

Your CIP reflects changes deemed necessary by the team in order to improve the organization or performance of the project through the optimization or modification of existing processes and procedures.

The CIP’s main objectives are always the same:

  • Optimize communication
  • Improve team relations and efficiency
  • Deliver the best possible value to the client

What’s the best format for efficient follow-ups? Good ‘ol Excel will get the job done!

Blog Managing Roles and Responsabilities - Follow-ups

It could be a planner, a board, or any other tool that floats your boat. Once again, the goal is to be able to assign responsibility to individual team members for each action and to follow up on the CIP so that each task is completed on schedule!

By not assigning tasks or not following your CIP, you run the risk of accumulating unaddressed issues that will have a lasting impact on the project, negatively affecting the project’s quadruple constraint (if you need to brush up on certain notions, click here to read the article on the role of project manager).

Conclusion

Given how complex projects can be and the need to coordinate multiple stakeholders, ensuring that all players are on the same page is essential to mitigate human and organizational risks.

Implementing the right tools to manage roles and responsibilities provides the team with the right framework and a positive environment while helping to ensure proper project execution. This benefits everyone.

Before you leave, we’d like to go over the main benefits:

  • Better understanding of how the project is evolving for all parties involved
  • Improved resource management, which leads to cost optimization
  • Risk mitigation
  • Accountability and improved communication

As you can see, a project manager must prepare each member of his team to ensure successful results.

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