5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Chapter 9: Organizational Charts and Position Descriptions

The day before yesterday, I set out the inputs, tools & techniques, and the outputs for process 9.1 Plan Human Resource Management.

The first tool listed for this process is that of Organizational Charts and Position Descriptions.  There are three types of formats that can be used to describe the positions that people hold on the project and what their level of involvement is in various aspects of the project.

1.  Organizational Charts

This is familiar to most people as giving a hierarchical breakdown of the various positions in the organization and their relationships.  However, in a project you can have an organizational chart that states the roles and responsibilities of the project team members, rather than the organization as a whole.

This is particularly helpful if you have a matrix-type organization that is a hybrid between a functional and projectized organizational structure, where the lines of authority within a project need to be clarified if the project team members do not report to the project manager in the organization as a whole, but rather to a separate functional manager.

2.  Responsibility Assignment Matrix

This is a matrix which indicates for the various activities or work packages within a project who is going to be:

  • Responsible (who will do the work)
  • Accountable (who will make the decisions)
  • Consult (who will be asked if there are questions)
  • Inform (who will be informed of the results of decisions or of progress)

The letters spell the acronym RACI so sometimes this kind of matrix is referred to as a RACI chart.

3.  Position Descriptions

This is familiar to most people as giving an outline of the duties of the people in various positions within the organization.  In the case of a project, however, the position description indicates what the duties of the person will be as a project team member.

The templates for these organizational charts and position descriptions come from the organization’s process assets or OPAs, an important input into the process.  Among other things, the process fills in these charts, matrices, or lists, and they are then an output as part of the Human Resource Management Plan.

Once the Human Resource Management Plan has been developed, the project manager can then go about obtaining the people he or she needs for the project in the next process, which is 9.2 Acquire Project Team, which is the subject of the next post.


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