Role clarity on a project or a major bid is a critical element to success. Along with understanding the big picture and ensuring communication is flowing through the team, it ranks up there as a key priority you should look to establish as you form and develop a high performing team.
In terms of how you achieve role clarity, you will usually bring the key people in to a room for each area of the project or bid and work through the development of a role clarity matrix. The role clarity matrix is a visual representation of all the activities or tasks that are required to be delivered with the appropriate people assigned to support the delivery of these activities. From here, you then look to challenge the draft role clarity matrix around gaps, duplication and whether or not you have each person playing to their strengths. This step is often overlooked despite its importance in ensuring that people and sections of a project or bid are not working in silos or working in a vacuum unclear on how others can assist them in delivering on their role linked to the bigger picture outcomes we are looking to achieve.
The benefits of a role clarity matrix are significant, particularly in the early stages of a project or major bid. These include:
- The building of a self-managed and empowered team through documenting who is doing and responsible for what;
- Better allocation of resources playing to people’s strengths;
- Faster team around decision making and authority due to minimised grey areas of role clarity across the team;
- Better accountability culture within the team through no grey areas in the delivery of responsibilities;
- Greater personal confidence for each individual knowing not only their roles and responsibilities but other team members;
- Greater communication across the team as people are encouraged to go to those responsible for activities rather than adopting an up and down check in approach through management; and
- A one team approach to delivery by working together collaboratively.
The benefits as you can see are significant. However, if you wish to take role clarity to the next level, you need to break down role activities between silos and teams where there are many people involved in delivering a responsibility, activity or where teamwork is required around collaboration and communicating what needs to occur. The last thing you want to do is set up a role clarity matrix where people are in conflict with each other to undertake a task. It is also challenging to address situations where no responsibility is taken for tasks or activities that require consultation or involvement from others to be successfully delivered. For this to be achieved, you need utilise tools like the RACI model which sets very clear expectations of the people involved in your bid or project from the start.
The RACI model allows you to break the role clarity matrix down to the sub-elements of each role around who is:
- Responsible – The person doing the work to deliver an outcome. They take responsibility for delivering the activity and is usually one individual;
- Accountable – The person who needs to ensure that the task is delivered even if they have delegated it. Again, one individual and usually at a senior level is often the manager who the person responsible reports to in the project or bid;
- Consulted – This is typically individuals who need to be involved in delivering the activity and usually have some technical, client or product knowledge that is important for the person responsible to work with to ensure the outcome reflects these inputs. They need to be worked with collaboratively and in a manner that reflects their important input; and
- Informed – This is usually individuals who need to be kept informed around the progress and delivery of an activity and has some buy-in or involvement that is important to reflect in the RACI.
Your RACI needs to be functional and effective. Some key tips you can use when developing the RACI include:
- Use the role clarity matrix tasks and activities as the base for the RACI to fast track its development;
- Explain the ‘why’ behind the need of a RACI model in addition to the role clarity matrix and the benefits it will provide to the bid or project team and the delivery of outcomes;
- Identify all the key individuals and their roles and list them horizontally up the top of the RACI ensuring you get thorough coverage across your bid or team;
- When working through the four elements of the RACI, you need to ensure only one person is accountable and only one person is responsible. This will ensure greater ownership and delivery of the outcome;
- Ensure you then send out the document to all people nominated in the RACI for feedback and consultation. This includes those broader than the responsible and accountable people as the person that need to be informed and consulted should have a large say in ensuring that you are consulting the right people for the right activities to be delivered.
Role clarity is an underrated area to focus on with your team upfront. Get this right, break it down through a RACI and watch your team achieve every manager’s goal; being empowered and self-managed rather than deferring to every piece of direction and guidance they receive from management.