How to Develop a
Michael D. Taylor
How to Develop a Responsibility Allocation Matrix
HOW TO DEVELOP A
RESPONSIBILITY ALLOCATION MATRIX (RAM)
By Michael D. Taylor
Why Develop a Responsibility Allocation Matrix?
Projects are done with groups of people. Groups lacking clearly defined leadership,
however, typically fail to complete assigned activities because responsibility is
ambiguous at best. Project teams as a whole generally do not feel responsible for their
actions. Individuals, on the other hand do. Hence, to complete projects, responsibility for
tasks must be specifically delegated to individuals. This is the purpose of the
Responsibility Allocation Matrix. It establishes individual project responsibility on a task-
by-task basis among the team members.
How a Responsibility Allocation Matrix Helps
The Responsibility Allocation Matrix is a project management tool - a simple tool with
only one purpose:
It identifies who is to do what.
The Responsibility Allocation Matrix does not show when or how much - this information
is provided in other tools. Instead, the Responsibility Allocation Matrix answers the
question: "Who needs to do what to deliver the end-of-phase or end-of-project results?"
See example on the last page.
Developing a Responsibility Allocation Matrix
1. Preliminary RAM. To start a Responsibility Allocation Matrix, the project manager
pencils in a "guess list" of tasks and departments, but not people. With the list in
hand, the project manager consults with functional managers to get the names of the
project startup people who will be assigned to the project. This preliminary RAM
gives a clear, solid basis for discussion with the people who provide resources.
2. Expanded Preliminary RAM. At this point, the project manager has a preliminary
RAM and a project startup team. Now it's time to expand the preliminary RAM by
breaking it down into a more detaile