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Roles & Responsibilities

Length: 1 hour as a team

Most teams are pretty clear about the principal roles and responsibilities of each member. But there are often responsibilities that span two or three people’s areas where things can get blurred.

A non-clinical example: the director of the television programme has the final say artistically, but the production accountant has the day-to-day responsibility for the budget. When the director asks the set designer to improve the set, the designer assumes (conveniently) that the director has found the necessary extra money from somewhere else in the programme budget. Only after the money has been spent, and the programme made, is there a discussion about who is responsible for the programme overspend.

This scenario translates to many different settings. Often it is handled on a “muddling through” basis between people, but sometimes the confusions become so frequent that it is best for all concerned to clarify exactly where responsibility lies.

The responsibility matrix (RASCI)

The responsibility matrix helps you do this in a team by distinguishing five separate roles:

  1. The person ACCOUNTABLE for the final result or outcome. This is the person with the ultimate decision-making power. The buck stops here. This should be just one person so that accountability for the final result is clear. This person may delegate particular pieces of work but they will still be held accountable for the final result.(Marked A on the sample responsibility matrix)

  2. The person or people RESPONSIBLE for managing the work (or streams of work) that are necessary to deliver the final result, and making sure that everything gets done effectively and on time. (Marked R)

  3. The person(s) who must SUPPORT or make some defined contribution to getting the work done - assisting, offering expertise, people, equipment and so on. (Marked S for support).

  4. Any people who need to be CONSULTED before final decisions or changes are made. This needs two-way communication. (Marked C)

  5. People who need to be kept up-to-date on progress or INFORMED when a task is completed(Marked I)


NOTE: if the team member ultimately accountable for results is also the person responsible for overseeing the work streams, then this person gets an A+R in the matrix.

The point of these rather formal definitions is to help the team really clarify who is in which role in a particular situation. It has the twin benefit of clarifying who does not need to be involved in particular pieces of work.

The exercise

The exercise is straightforward, but needs to be handled sensitively:

Download the RASCI responsibility matrix template for each team member to make notes on, and set up a matrix that will summarise the team agreements. Putting it up on a screen can be useful for this exercise so that everyone can see exactly what is being decided as it is typed into the team matrix.

  1. List any decisions or responsibilities that would benefit from a clarification of who is responsible for what.

  2. Complete the responsibility matrix for each decision / responsibility – either after discussion and agreement in the team, or by decision by the team leader.

  3. Final responsibility for which letters go where on the matrix belongs to the team leader.


The result of this process should be to smooth out those day-to-day "who's responsible for what?" wrinkles that can get in the way of delivering great results.

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