Assign responsibilities. The RAM matrix

RAM matrix

The RAM matrix is used by project managers to assign responsibilities or to identify the role of the various members of a project team.

This matrix is a structural diagram in which it is visually clear what should be done by whom and what are the tasks and responsibilities of each of the team members.

The acronym RAM derives from Responsibility Assignment Matrix.

The RAM matrix

This RAM matrix is sometimes also called RACI matrix or VERI matrix or linear responsibility chart (LCR). Specifically, RACI stands for:

  • Responsible: the person who carries out and assigns the activities
  • Accountable: the person responsible for the correct completion of the task. In other words, an “accountable” must approve the work the “manager” provides.
  • Consulted: those who are asked for help in carrying out the activities.
  • Informed: those who are kept up to date on progress and with whom there is only one-way communication. In other words, the stakeholders.

A RAM matrix is used to designate roles, responsibilities, and levels of authority within a project team for each component of the work structure, also called Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).

The matrix format allows you to show all the activities associated with a person and all the people associated with a single activity.

the RAM matrix

This ensures that there is only one person responsible for each activity and this allows to avoid confusion.

Despite the simple nature of all the information in the matrix, it can be very time-consuming to assign each member the right tasks and responsibilities.

Moreover, the appropriate roles must be defined in advance before being included in the assignment matrix.

7 steps to complete the RAM matrix

In order not to make mistakes, here is a 7 steps guide thanks to which the matrix can be written in a correct way:

  • Step 1: Identify all the project participants.
  • Step 2: Identify all the final results for the project.
  • Step 3: Discuss with all team members which kind of support is required for the best performance and the best results. It is important to define the responsibilities of each participant so that there are no misunderstandings.
  • Step 4: Create the initial draft of the assignment matrix, with the activities in the left column and the project team members in the first column on the right. Enter the roles that each person will have in the cells.
  • Step 5: Ask the participants to approve the assignment matrix. Once again, to avoid misunderstanding, it is best to receive written approval.
  • Step 6: Any comments on changes in the assignment matrix can be submitted by the participants. Finally, the responsibility assignment matrix will be reviewed and, once approved, the project can begin.
  • Step 7: It is important to remember to carry out continous analyzes and assessments during the project life cycle. When it seems that it is better to change the assignment matrix, it will be necessary to return to step 3, where the changes must be discussed with all team members.

 Responsibility assignment matrix and complex projects

The responsibility assignment matrix is also suitable for complex projects.

When activities are neglected and the matrix contains incomplete and / or inaccurate information, efforts and work will duplicate without any sense.

It is therefore advisable to ensure that all information is included in the matrix and that all information is and remains accurate and up-to-dated.

The following suggestions contribute to a greater chance of success of a RAM matrix in the case of a complex project:

RAM Matrix: Graph Hierarchy

Divide the assignment matrix into separate graphs, so you can make a distinction based on priorities.

The responsibility assignment matrix with the highest levels identifies high priority activities within the project.

From here, it is possible to develop matrix charts of assignment of responsibilities derived from this higher level.

RAM Matrix: Involvement and feedback

By involving all members ft he project team in developing the responsibility assignment matrix, everyone will know exactly what is expected ft hem and will be more engaged during the entire project.

Moreover, by involving the entire team in the development of the matrix, it will be easier and more immediate to receive feedback from people who should be specialized in the single activities.

RAM Matrix: Written representation

By writing the assignment matrix, you can identify any errors or problems. Moreover, all the participants will have a better understanding of their role and responsibility within the project.

Finally, the RAM matrix is a project management tool that improves team communication and increases the efficiency and speed of project completion.

If used effectively, it helps in keeping everyone informed and, therefore, increases individual and group productivity.

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