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Responsibility Grid

Responsibility Grid – A useful tool to help the project team sort out “who will do what” in terms of decision making. Based on the theory that not all constituents have the same vested interest in the decisions the team will make, it can help the team identify the areas where they need to be “politically” sensitive to the needs and desires of various groups and individuals as they relate to activities (execution), decisions and milestones of the project.


Project teams who have used this tool have found it very useful in sorting out who will do what with respect to overall action plan for the project, rather than in the more traditional way of identifying who needs to be “in the loop” with regard to decision making.


1. Team members decide how they want to use the grid (eg: including key stakeholders or just the team members).

2. They then work as a team to complete the grid, remembering to do the first draft “in pencil” so as to minimize win/loss conflicts.

3. A communication plan is then produced to ensure that all affected parties are informed of the team’s view of the project plan as represented in this grid.

OPTION: Some teams may wish to employ a more traditional project planning process (PERT, Critical Path, Program Management, etc.) for the overall project plan and use this grid to only address key areas of potential conflict and confusion regarding decision-making authority.


Probably most useful when the team has done enough work on need, vision and mobilizing commitment to yield a detailed action plan. Also, obviously useful useful when the team has arrived at a major decision point.


– Don’t be afraid to modify this grid to suit the needs of the team. It could help sort out who will do what with regard to and action plan (names along the horizontal, actions along the vertical) or who will play what role (names along the horizontal, tasks or activities along the vertical) with each task charted:

P = Perform, A = Approve, R = Review, etc…

– When the team’s work on this involves other key stakeholders, it probably makes sense to involve them in the development of the grid rather than simply informing them of the team’s work after the fact.

– Used in its traditional format (In decision making), this can be a useful tool for helping the team identify ways they need to be more or less responsible for key decisions along the way. For example, it might reveal that the team does not currently have the decision making authority it needs to move the project along swiftly or, conversely, does not have sufficient involvement from others in decisions that will ultimately affect the team.


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