Roles and Responsibilities

I have read many post implementation review (PIR) reports on rocky projects that have shown a lack of clear roles and responsibilities. It is essential that every team member has a clear role and knows what their responsibilities are. They also need to be accountable and understand what goals they have and how their role contributes to fulfilling the team mission.

If team members fail to clearly understand what his or her roles are, it eventually leads to team conflict. Everyone ends up running around trying to do everything, but nothing actually gets done.

If a team works well together, they are highly productive and their performance borders on excellence. On the other hand, if there is conflict and team members are dissatisfied, their work suffers and the outcome of the project will suffer. For this reason it is essential that everyone
understands what their role is and that everyone involved in the project is aware of their

For every project complete the following:

1. Define the key activities and outcomes for the type and size of project. This will help you understand what skills you require.

2. Define what the types of skills/roles are required.

3. Complete a Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed (RACI) matrix for key tasks and deliverables.

4. Complete brief role descriptions for each role. These are brief overview paragraphs. This can be used to communicate to various groups involved on the project what key functions each person has.

5. Communicate to the project team and stakeholders the roles and responsibilities and who holds the role. Share the RACI with those in it.

The project managers’ coordination of team members’ activities must also align to the defined roles and responsibilities. If the project manager asks team members to do tasks that are normally allocated to another, as per the agreed Roles and Responsibilities, they will just create confusion; distrust and conflict within the team. Therefore it’s important you lead by example.

A large or a long running project may change form and team composition numerous times throughout its life, so you will need to perform this process numerous times throughout the project. It is not a set and forget task.


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