Cooperation - or – The Tools We Have and May Not Use

“A responsibility assignment matrix (RAM), also known as RACI matrix /ˈreɪsiː/ or linear responsibility chart (LRC), describes the participation by various roles in completing tasks or deliverables for a project or business process. It is especially useful in clarifying roles and responsibilities in cross-functional/departmental projects and processes.”

Wikipedia 2016

If you have read our article on » How To Buy and Sell Together cross-dependently, you may have wondered How to interact if a client complains and Business Development needs a quick solution, whereas Operations does want to avoid a temporary solution.

Actually, neither group can effectively solve the issues without the other group. Nevertheless, this close meshing of operations often turns into a trouble spot.

So Why Does That Happen ?

The digital connectivity increases the real-time situational awareness dramatically, whereas the operational capacity and capability of managers to respond to the amount of data-driven information does not.

By the amount and speed of data we are working with, the balancing act between two deeply divisive principles is tricky: On one hand we strive for greater agility and on the other hand it is important to involve all stakeholders in the processes, which is inherently contradictive when it comes to the time we need for alignment.

Moreover, especially the world of sciences and technology was used to be a haven for loners but increasingly requires exceptional people skills. Therefore, if specialists shall convince a group of people to follow them, and accept their point of view within the shortest time possible, the top management needs to create a positive environment first.

What does that mean ?

Decision rights are your management tool for the empowerment of employees. The more decision rights your teams have, the more they can participate in the activities, and also take responsibility.

In order to prevent nasty escalations, specialists of any area need to get aligned as early as possible. That being said, the company

  • must clarify who is empowered to make decisions and take responsibilities,
  • needs to establish a governance model to implement corporate decisions.

According to Michael Jensen is a reasonable allocation of decision rights for a company as important as the definition of jobs, functions or areas of responsibility.

What Are You Going To Do ?

A relatively easy starting point is a project- and / or program based responsibility assignment matrix and its variations.

And here is How it Works :

  • Create a “matrix [...] with a vertical axis (left-hand column) of tasks or deliverables, and a horizontal axis (top row) of roles” [1]
  • Allocate the key responsibilities and enter them.
    Most typically used are (R)esponsible, (A)ccountable, (C)onsulted, and (I)nformed
  • Specify the meanings, for example
    • Responsibility: Who carries out the task?
    • Accountability: Who makes decisions with regard to the task ?
    • Consulting: Who needs to be consulted about decisions and tasks ?
    • Information: Who needs to be informed about decisions and actions ?
  • Based on the outcome, connect people, though responsibility-networks digitally, auditable.



Roles II

Roles III

Roles IV


(i.e. a descriptor of an associated set of tasks or)

(…an individual…)

(e.g., from an organizational chart or)

(… a function or)

(… a person)

(e.g. from a work breakdown structure WBS)






(e.g. from a product breakdown structure PBS)




C applicable







As things go on

  • maintain, update, adjust … as needed and
  • document changes (especially if you are working in a highly regulated environment).

Considering the changes we pursue, the chart will be a living document, requiring frequent revision, affecting different people depending on the tasks.

All in all

Be careful what you put in writing and whom you inform at 1st instance, because you may rather force others to jump on issues and recap the past, instead of » thinking ahead.

It isn’t just about people, it is all about people. Encourage your people to collaborate and give them the freedom to do so.

Happy Collaboration !

[1] Wikipedia 2016

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