Monday 7 February 2022

How project managers do a good job of task assignment

This article is compiled by the project management system: Have you encountered such a situation at work?

Manager, I have compiled the milestone plan, who do you see needs to send to? Who's going to make sure?

Manager, the work of buying gifts for the year-end celebration, are we responsible for buying or the company's purchasing department is responsible for buying ah? Or should I go to the Administration Department?

The manager, the quality department people said, the quality system of the project they are not responsible for writing, only responsible for supervising the audit, what to do? Our people write unprofessional!

If these problems occur more often in the project, it means that the distribution of rights and responsibilities for our specific work is somewhat unclear.

In this case, a tool, the responsibility allocation matrix, can be used to clarify the responsibilities of each individual in the project.

1, what is the responsibility allocation matrix

The responsibility allocation matrix is actually very simple, it is a method and tool to implement the decomposed work tasks to the relevant departments or individuals of the project, and clearly express their relationship, responsibility and status in the work of the organization. In other words, the responsibility allocation matrix is the work that is disassembled from the WBS and distributed within the organization. Therefore, you can only develop a responsibility allocation matrix after your project plan has two basic conditions:

  • Condition 1: The WBS of the project has been prepared
  • Condition 2: The personnel/departments involved have been clearly defined, and these two conditions are indispensable.

It should be emphasized that the core of this tool is to configure permissions, that is, the responsibility allocation matrix does not explicitly indicate the specific work of each person in the project, it only clearly indicates how much authority the individual has in each work package.

For example, in the case above, in the third line of the "Modify Outsourced Package" work, the programmer is the person in charge ▲ the project engineer is responsible for approving the work, deciding whether the work is passed, and the project manager only needs to be notified of the □ to understand the progress of the work.

The responsibility allocation matrix has different forms, the above figure is represented by symbols, in addition, there is the RACI responsibility allocation matrix that we are familiar with.

  • RACI expresses four responsibilities in different letters, namely: who is responsible (R=Responsible), that is, the role responsible for performing the task, and ta is specifically responsible for controlling the project and solving the problem. The project is approved by who (A= Accountable), that is, the role of full responsibility for the task, and the project can only be carried out after the consent or signature of the project.
  • Who to consult (C= Consulted), who has the information or ability to complete the project, who belongs to the auxiliary personnel notification (I = Informed), the person who should be notified in a timely manner.

The form is different, but the meaning is the same. The symbols in the responsibility allocation matrix, there is no fixed standard, can be decided according to the actual needs of the enterprise, as long as there is no misunderstanding in the communication process.

2, 3 points of attention to project management

It is not difficult to make this chart, but how to make the chart play its due value is more important to consider. After summarizing the experience of previous generations, we found that the following three points can make the responsibility allocation matrix play a greater role. With team members involved in the development, the project manager is mostly less powerful, and if the task is assigned in a rigid "dispatch" way, it may not achieve good results. It's a good idea to involve team members when developing a responsibility allocation matrix so that they can be clear about what they're up to. Ideally, the job is claimed voluntarily, which also gives the individual a commitment to the work for which they are responsible.

If you encounter some difficult tasks that are unclaimed, the project manager can use his identity as the project leader to make a hard assignment, but also use communication skills and personal charm to reduce the sense of oppression, you can say some encouraging words. For example: this task is a bit challenging, but your ability is the most prominent in our group, I believe you can be responsible, and we will discuss it in time when we encounter problems. Through this fair and open approach, project managers are more likely to have the division of responsibilities approved by team members and more able to do their part when executing.

The "principal" of each activity is unique. It is also very important that there is only one person in charge of each job in the responsibility allocation matrix. We all know that the three monks have no water to drink, and if you entrust the same task to Zhang San, Li Si, and Wang Wu, then the result is that no one will be responsible. In order to avoid the prevarication of management responsibilities, the responsible person in each activity should be unique. The allocation of responsibilities needs to be reasonable.

From the initial case, we can see that although the project manager and project engineer have high positions, the person responsible for the most work packages is the programmer.

Is this bullying programmers? No Leaving the work of development and testing to programmers is the best of their ability, remember our previous paragraphs? Leave professional work to professionals, and the intermediate process should give sufficient trust. 

Of course, project managers and technical leaders can do most of the work, but a person's energy is always limited, and they will lose the other, so the distribution of responsibilities should be reasonable. The Responsibility Allocation Matrix is a versatile tool that not only makes the distribution of project work within the team clear, but also indicates the allocation of responsibilities between the project team and the company management, and even clearly expresses the division of responsibilities between the project team and external stakeholders.

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