Roles and Responsibilities

In large initiatives, there are many contributors, and each one is critical to the project’s success. However, project leads often overlook the importance of discussing roles and responsibilities. This conversation, though sometimes challenging, is essential for setting the right expectations for everyone and for creating a transparent and agile environment.

First, decision-making is crucial in large and agile projects. It’s important for everyone to understand and align on the decision-making process, including how input is gathered, who makes the final call in case of disagreement, and how decisions are communicated. Without a clear framework, people tend to make assumptions, leading to conflicts and misunderstandings.

Second, execution efficiency and agility increase with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. Stakeholders can operate in a highly aligned yet loosely coupled environment, where each party focuses on delivering results, has the freedom to navigate complexities, and knows when and how to coordinate with others. Without this transparency, unintended side effects can occur, such as duplicating efforts, or delivering incompatible artifacts. In organizations filled with high achievers, efficiency is achieved when all deliverables are aligned and point in the same direction.

Finally, there’s the importance of candid feedback. I strongly believe in a culture of brutal honesty and transparency. Drawing from Shari Harley’s book, “How to Say Anything to Anyone,” an initiative needs a strong, transparent contract among all parties. This contract provides an anchor point for holding each other accountable and offering candid feedback if things are not going in the right direction. Establishing roles and responsibilities is the first step in setting up this contract, creating a framework for honest and transparent discussions.