The Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM or RACI) enables the project management team to properly identify each person’s responsibilities. This is especially important as project teams grow larger and accountabilities need to be more greatly formalised. Using the RAM, any human resource confusion is removed and projects move at a faster pace.
Preventing duplication of efforts
A major drag on project timelines is the unnecessary duplication of tasks and responsibilities. A better definition of responsibilities is the first step to more effective human resource management in the project management context. This is initially conducted in the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), with the RAM then used to ensure elimination of overlap.
There are four main functions of a RAM (remember it is also known by the acronym RACI):
Responsibility – confirming who is responsible for the task, and assigning it to them.
Accountability – defining those with authority to take decisions, and delegating that accountability.
Consultation – discuss with all who can tell more about the task, including stakeholders that have already been identified.
Information – Ensure that all people whose work depends upon the task are considered, and updated as to progress.
Optimising team numbers and structure
Using the RAM, a project manager is able to:
- immediately identify if people are either assigned with too many or too few tasks;
- ensure everyone knows lines of responsibility, accountability, and reporting;
- avoid miscommunication and ensure all people remain ‘in the loop’;
- more effectively manage the information and communication process, reducing unnecessary meetings and interaction.
Making the RAM efficient
Project management tools and techniques themselves have to be managed. A project manager can increase the efficiency of the RAM by ensuring at least one person is assigned to each role of responsibility and accountability (this could be the same person). However, only one person should be assigned as accountable for any single task. Finally, keep both the consultation and information loops as tight as possible.
The RAM is a project management tool that improves team communication, and increases efficiency and speed of project completion. When used effectively, it helps the project manager keep everybody informed at the optimum time and therefore increases individual and team productivity.