Adapted from: The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management Eric Verzuh

Project Management: Two Approaches

The four steps involved in setting up a responsibility matrix are:

  1. List the major activities of the project. Only the major project activities should be listed. Detailed task assignments should be made in the project plan. Because the responsibility matrix shows interaction between organizations, it need to emphasize the different roles required for each task. In highlighting the roles of various stakeholders involved in the project's major activities, the responsibility matrix should usually use the same level of detail as the scope statement. On very large projects it can be useful to develop multiple responsibility matrixes, with differing levels of detail. These matrixes will define subprojects within the larger project.

Project Management: Business Synergies Approach

  1. List the stakeholder groups. Stakeholder groups are listed on the horizontal axis of the responsibility matrix. Groups such as project team and user council should be named rather than individual team members: these individual team assignments are documented in the project plan. It is appropriate however to put individual names on the responsibility matrix whenever a single person will be making decisions or has complete responsibility for a significant part of the project.

  2. Code the responsibility matrix. The codes indicate the involvement level, authority role, and responsibility of each stakeholder. While there are no limits to the codes that can be used, here are the most common ones: E execution responsibility (this group will get the work done); C must be consulted (this group must be consulted as the activity is performed; the group's opinion counts, but it doesn't rule); I must be informed (this group just wants to know what decisions are being made); A approval authority (usually an individual; this person has the final word on decisions or on acceptance of the work performed for each activity). Specifying clearly these different levels of authority is especially useful when there are different stakeholders who all want to provide requirements to the project.

  3. Incorporate the responsibility matrix in the project rules.  The responsibility matrix becomes part of the project rules, which means that once it is accepted, all changes must be approved by those who approved the original version. The advantage to this change management process is that the project manager is always left with a written document to refer to in the event of a dispute.

10 Key Project Leader Skills





Key Project Documents

Responsibility Matrix

Business Case Analysis

Project Charter

Project Plan Document

Statement of Work (SOW)

Project Management

5 Factors that Make a Project Successful

New Business Synergies Approach

Project Planning

Milestone-based Thinking

Project Stakeholders

Sensitivity Analysis & Decision Making

Project Leader Skills

The 10 Key Project Leader Skills

Project Team

Project Communication

Risk Management

Managing Projects as Spinouts

Managing Innovation as Internal Start-Ups

Strategic Project Management


Radical Project Management (RPM)


7 Phases of a Project

50 Rules of Project Management

Murphy's Law in Project Management