The Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM) in Project Management
Posted on by Ansh Lucky Sri Jay in Project Management
The Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM)
The responsibility assignment matrix (RAM) defines ‘Who’ is responsible for the work, and it is an excellent way to clearly assign all of the WBS work packages to a person or another team. A Project Manager needs to delegate ownership of the packages of work by assigning work package owners through the RAM and that is one way to drive this ownership and responsibility.
Many organizations use a RACI model in which the resources are assigned primary or secondary support. Only one resource may be aligned as the primary resource for each designated work item.
RACI stands for:
• R = Responsible – ‘Does the work.’
• A = Accountable – The person who must ensure the work is completed (often the project manager).
• C = Consulted – This person often has information required to complete the work package.
• I = Informed – This group is often the largest group and typically includes all of the key stakeholders.
Responsibility can be shared, but accountability should be very clear.
Network diagrams and resource Utilization
When it comes to building a project schedule, we use the tool called a network diagram. There are several ways to build a network diagram; the most popular method is ‘Activity in Box (AIB)’ method.
Building a network diagram
With the concept of a network diagram, we will be able to determine:
1) A project’s scheduled completion time
2) The slack or float of project activities
3) The critical path of your project
Depending on the size of the project, the network may be built in pieces or as a large group. Either way, the step-by-step process to build a project network is;
1. Brainstorm tasks that are required to complete the work packages, recording those tasks on notes.
2. Sequence those activities. Determine:
* The order of activities
* Which activities can occur at the same time
* Which activities need dependencies
- a. Mandatory – requires the completion of another task.
- b. Discretionary – a best practice or convenience. However, the subsequent task can begin if the discretionary dependency is not completed.
- c. External – from another project or process.
3. Put the notes together to build a network.
Activities should be assigned to the people who will be doing the work and build duration estimates for the activities. Then, the activities can be loaded into an automated scheduling tool like Microsoft Project. At that point, we will be able to determine the project’s scheduled completion time, the slack or float of project activities, and the critical path of the project.
Difference between a Project Manager And A Line Manager
In most of the companies there are multiple functions or departments, even in IT industry, the technical department is further segregated into Applications, Support, Infrastructure, software division, hardware/network division and so on. Every project involves both internal and external stakeholders. In case of internal project, it impacts and affects one or more functions directly. A Project Manager is the manager assigned to manage a single project whereas the Line Manager manages the work taken up by a line of projects. A Project manager may or may not be the line manager. This entirely depends on the organization’s structure and its type. Generally projects in organizations are aligned based on the line of business, so, they have a Line Manager who manages all those projects.
The Line manager interacts with the Project Managers who manage the projects that fall in their Line of Business (LOB). A line manager, also called the reporting manager, is a person responsible for administrative part of the resources.
As per PMBOK the organization structure can be of 3 types.
Functional organizations are domain centric, like human resources department, finance department, marketing department, and so on. The work in these departments is specialized and requires people with a specific skill set and experiences in these specialized areas to perform specific duties for that function. In this type of organization
• Project Manager has very little role or no authority
• Line Manager or functional manager has full management role and authority
In Functional organizations the projects are typically undertaken in a divided approach. For example, the marketing department will work on its portion of the project and then hand it off to the development team or any other department to complete its part, and so on.
In projectized organization the resources are dedicated to projects and reports only to the project manager. Project managers has the complete authority over the project and project team. They are fully authorized to take decisions regarding the project and acquiring and assigning resources. They are entitled to select and allocate resources from other areas in the organization or to hire them from outside if required.
In a matrix management structure, the project manager assign project tasks to the team members, irrespective of their Line of Business or the department they belong to. The people who run those departments and manage the team and team members in them, are the line managers. In this type of structure, team members or resources report to one functional manager and to at least one project manager. Resources can report to multiple project managers if they are working on multiple projects at one time. Functional manager is primarily responsible for the administrative part and allocate resources to projects and project manager is responsible for the end to end execution part of the project. Both the managers share the responsibility of performance reviews for the employees reporting to them. In case of resource requirement, the project manager need to negotiate with the line managers of the respective functions.
It is important for both the line manager and the project manager to understand their boundaries very clearly to avoid any resource related conflicts, in accordance with the organizational structure. In a real world, their tuning is essential to work together to manage projects, people, customers, and vendors. If the interface between them is not clearly defined, the probability of conflict is very high resulting in unnecessary arguments and delays in work.