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Allocation of Responsibility

As the team progresses into the preliminary and detailed design phases, it is very important that there are clear allocations of responsibilities. This is essentially a project management function, but as the product definition becomes more detailed, this allocation becomes more important. Often, people use a “responsibility allocation matrix” (RAM), an example of which is given in Table 8.1. This example adds the sophistication of several roles as follows:

  • • responsible means actually undertaking the work;
  • • accountable means a third party who might check the work and be answerable for it;
  • • consulted means someone on the team who needs to be involved in decision making for that task;
  • • informed means a team member who needs to be alerted to progress/completion of a task.

Requirements Flowdown

All projects have a purpose, and even student projects will have hypothetical “customers.” In general, projects have “stakeholders.” In student projects, the participants themselves are

Table 8.1 Example responsibility allocation matrix for a maintenance team.

Tasks

Maint. Maint. supervisors analyst

Maint.

planner

Maint.

technician

Maint.

support

Rel.

specialist

CMMS proj. engr.

Inputting failure data

A

C

I

R

C

C

Work order completion

R

C

C

C

A

I

I

Work order close out

C

R

C

I

I

A

QA of failure data input

C

R

I

C

I

C

A

Analysis failure reports

C

C

I

C

A

R

I

Maintenance

strategy

adjustments

C

I

I

C

A

R

R

Implementing new strategies

R

I

R

C

A

I

I

Responsible (R), the Doer; accountable (A), the buck stops here; consulted (C), in the loop; informed (I), kept in the picture.

stakeholders who probably want to get the best mark possible as well as gaining relevant knowledge and experience. The supervisor might want a deliverable as part of a wider academic research roadmap.

In order to ensure that the needs of the stakeholders are addressed, it is worth documenting the goals, requirements, and deliverables at an early stage, that is, the design brief. In the discipline of systems engineering, these requirements are then broken down logically and functionally such that each of the items in the WBS has a clear set of auditable requirements that “flow down” from the top level requirements, as shown in Figure 8.6.

 
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