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Key Stakeholder Responsibility Allocation Matrix (RAM)
By Michael D. Taylor

Projects are done with groups of people. Groups lacking clearly defined leadership, however, typically fail to complete assigned activities because responsibility is ambiguous at best. Project teams as a whole generally do not feel responsible for their actions. Individuals, on the other hand do. Hence, to complete projects, responsibility for tasks must be specifically delegated to individuals. This is the purpose of the Responsibility Allocation Matrix. It establishes individual project responsibility on a task-by-task basis among the team members.

The Responsibility Allocation Matrix is a project management tool, a simple tool with only one purpose–It identifies who is to do what.
The Responsibility Allocation Matrix does not show when or how much – this information is provided in other tools. Instead, the Responsibility Allocation Matrix answers the question: “Who needs to do what to deliver the end-of-phase or end-of-project results?”

A simplified RAM is shown below:

Responsibility Project Manager Sponsor Functional Managers Customer Project Team Leaders
Meet project goals 1 2,4 2,4 2 2,4
Issue project charter 2 1 2 2 4
Provide skilled personnel 4 1 2
Define product requirements 2 3 2 1
Develop the project plan 1 3 2 3 2,4
Provide funding to project 1
Control changes to project plan 1 3 3,4 3 2,4

Legend: 1=Primary responsibility 2= Provides inputs 3=Approval authority 4= Overall support

Two other RAMs will be developed later; one between the project managers and the team leaders, and the other will be at the team level. Every effort should be made to maintain continuity between the three levels of RAMs.

MICHAEL D. TAYLOR, M.S. in systems management, B.S. in electrical engineering, has more than 30 years of project, outsourcing, and engineering experience. He is principal of Systems Management Services, and has conducted project management training at the University of California, Santa Cruz Extension in their PPM Certificate program for over 13 years, and at companies such as Sun Microsystems, GTE, Siemens, TRW, Loral, Santa Clara Valley Water District, and Inprise. He also taught courses in the UCSC Extension Leadership and Management Program (LAMP), and was a guest speaker at the 2001 Santa Cruz Technology Symposium. His website is www.projectmgt.com.

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