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Roles & Responsibilities + Activity = Success

Rachel Rieck Rachel Rieck  |  
Jan 30, 2014
If you don't know where you're going any road will take you there, does this sound familiar?  Do you ever get into a car and not know who's driving?  In the car situation, you always knows who's driving, so why is this any different when on a software development project?
It is widely underestimated that roles be defined upfront on a project.  It seems that everyone should know their role without talking about it.  For example you have a project manager: timeline/budget, you might have a business analyst: requirements, and of course developers: coding.  However, do you really know that your customer understands the roles?  Conversely, Do you know that you understand the customer's role on the project?
Going through roles and responsibilities might seem tedious and assumed, however the value brought to the project will set the stage for how the team interacts moving forward.
At the beginning of each project I do an activity to bring the team together on each of our roles & responsibilities.  It includes all roles from the project team and the roles of the business members.  Each member is given a stack of sticky notes and are instructed to write their role and a sticky note for each responsibility their role owns for the project.  This is their perception of the role.
Secondly, I have each member post their role on a nearby wall.  We then have each person  stand up and talk about what they believe their role to be on this project.  This is the point where it gets real interesting.  The other members are then asked, is there anything else we think that role should be doing for this project, after all not all projects are the same (some probing might be necessary to get this rolling).  It is encouraged that others add and or agree to remove responsibilities that make sense for that role.
After going through all the roles something magical happens, everyone understands what each other's role is and what is expected of them.  It also really assists the customer/business partner know how they fit in the project and how the team works together.
To tie off the activity I put a simple RACI together for future team members who are added to the project and for reference.
Sometimes we can over assume that we are all on the same page…a simple activity will get us on the right road with a driver we all agree on including some team bonding to go along with it!
Project Management


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