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TOPIC: RAM: Responsible vs. Accountable

RAM: Responsible vs. Accountable 6 years 6 months ago #1391

  • Thomas Lattner
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Hi, I am Thomas, from Germany but I prepare for the exam in english language.

When I take my dictionary and look up "accountable" and "responsible" I end up with nearly the same translation. Seem I simply do not understand the usage of these terms.

How can Robert be responsile and Adam be accountable at the same time?

I've got nearly the same difficulties distinguishing "consulting" and "information" markers on Clara and Ida.

How is (non-conflicting) best practice in using these RACI assignments?

Thanks a lot in advance!

Re:RAM: Responsible vs. Accountable 6 years 6 months ago #1392

  • Cornelius Fichtner
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Let me try and explain this with a few examples that might help:

1.) The driver of the delivery van is responsible for delivering the parcels in a certain area, but the driver's manager is accountable for the delivery of parcels by the company in general

2.) Responsibility means that you have the authority to make decisions and are expected to make those decisions. Accountability means that after you make those decisions, if they go well or badly, you (and nobody else) deserves the praise or the blame. In other words, if you are accountable for something, you can't blame someone else if it goes badly. (So if the parcels are delivered to the wrong address then the manager gets the blame because he didn't set up the process right.)

3.) Here is one that divides the focus of responsibility and accountability on to different aspects of a fast food restaurant: Joe is accountable for cooking the burgers as requested (rare/medium rare). Susan is accountable for mixing the milkshakes according to company standards and quality. Both are responsible for ensuring that the customer is satisfied with her purchase.

More often than not accountability and responsibility rest with the same person. You are responsible and accountable for the same thing.
Until Next Time,
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM
President, OSP International LLC

Re:RAM: Responsible vs. Accountable 6 years 6 months ago #1393

  • Thomas Lattner
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Thanks, for your prompt reply, Cornelius, hope you still enjoy your holiday though :-)

I understand your examples 1) and 3) and understand that the driver of the van does not get fired whereas Barkeeper and Burger-Cook get fired if for example the customer gets ill.

Both examples 1) and 3) are situations where I would not assume a project situation and I'd rather lookup accountability in the OBS of the respective company.

But your examples inspired me to generate examples by myself. I always end up with a conflict of the "single source of information"-rule when it comes to accountability and responsibility. Accountability always seems to be a copy of the Project-OBS. Is it perhaps intended to be aware of the hierachy when looking at a RAM?

I generated a small example where I felt fine with the A and R assignment:
Think of pair programming during a single session: R is developping and by this making decisions whereas A is sitting next to him and considering testcases which need to be passed. But I don't think this is a pattern which can be applied to developper teams and testing teams in general. :-/

The PMBoK 4th edition states this RACI-Matrix only as an example of a RAM. As far as I remember the RACI-Matrix of 3rd edition was placed much more prominently.
For the exam we probable only need to know that RACI is a format of a RAM.

In my projects for example I only marked "Responsible" and "Support" but sometimes I had to put additional markers in there. Right now I found an interesting article where they even say that "A" should not stand for "Accountability" but for "Authority". The link is below and I read it like this:

"A" gathers information from all "C"s prior to delegation to one or more "R"s. "R" is working on or delegating the Schedule Activity and making decisions during his work. As long as "R" is working she is responsible and producing at least status information to the "I"s. After "R" is finished the responsibility is released from "R" but continues to lay on "A". This "final responsibility" sometimes is called accountability.

I'd be glad to read any of your summaries fo this:

Thanks for the dialog - for me this exchange is the real goal behind the PMP

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