Do you value the Responsibility Assignment Matrix?

RESPONSIBILITY, n.A Responsibility Assignment Matrix helps solve the organisational jigsaw puzzle
A detachable burden easily shifted to the shoulders of God, Fate, Fortune, Luck or one’s neighbor. In the days of astrology it was customary to unload it upon a star.1Ambrose Bierce (1842 – 1914), The Devil’s Dictionary

Good Project Managers don’t trust to Luck

As project managers we can’t leave the assignment of project roles and responsibilities to God, fate, fortune or luck – it’s our task to see that they’re assigned to the project team.  Personally, I’d first observed Responsibility Assignment Matrices (RAMs) being used in French practice, so I was recently rather surprised to have a French architect tell me he doesn’t use RAMs in Poland, where we both live.

UK construction industry project management practice is rather laborious

Turning the clock back almost 25 years, we (at least in the UK real estate and construction sector) rather laboriously prepared a ‘co-ordinated schedule of services’ where we set out the duties/services of the team members in a table, a method which could require very large sheets of paper or very small print if the team was large.  It’s a method in use in the UK to this day – for an example see the DefineIT Tool for developing co-ordinated scopes of services using the Construction Industry Councils models.

Example of a RAM

Example of a RAM

The Responsibility Assignment Matrix is concise and fast

It was only after I began working internationally that I saw the use of a RAM in practice to describe the roles and responsibilities of the team on a project led by a French investor with a largely French team.  Since that time I’ve realised the power of a RAM in concisely assigning project roles and responsibilities and have increasingly made use of the technique.

If you don’t value Responsibility Assignment Matrices, it may be that you’re unfamiliar with them or unaware of the technique – the RAM should be part of every good project manager’s toolkit!

More Information


You might find this template useful for a quick start – Responsibility Assignment Matrix Template by Project Management Insight (Open Document Format)2This file can be opened in OpenOffice, Libre Office or Microsoft Excel

Jigsaw Image Credit
Image courtesy of Master Isolated Images /

About Sandy McMillan

Sandy, who semi-retired in 2011, is the former COO of development and project management businesses operating in the construction and real estate sector throughout Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. He holds university degrees in civil engineering from the Universities of Strathclyde and Glasgow, and is a Chartered Engineer, a member of the UK's Institution of Civil Engineers, and a Member of the Association for Project Management. Since graduating, Sandy has more than 35 years management experience with the last 20+ years being in the fields of development and project management. While his early experience was in the heavy civil engineering sector e.g. power stations, he has operated primarily in the building sector since 1988 where he has managed development of retail, office, residential, and industrial properties. When Sandy's not travelling around EMEA on business, he has a home in Warsaw, Poland.
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