Roles: the positions team members adopt within a project.
Responsibilities: the specific tasks team members are responsible for as part of their contribution to a project.
It is important for team members and stakeholders involved in a project to understand the scope of each other’s roles and responsibilities. This helps define what expectations team members should have of each other, preventing misunderstanding and conflict. This process avoids the duplication of tasks, ensures that the oversight of important project aspects does not occur, and increases team member and stakeholder accountability. It is often useful to have a written agreement outlining the roles and responsibilities of each project team member. It is important to revisit roles and responsibilities at regular intervals over the duration of the project, particularly if the project undergoes any significant changes.
Team members may have differing definitions or expectations of certain roles or responsibilities, causing the questioning of what other team members could, or should, be doing. It’s important to have regular team meetings to discuss these matters to avoid conflict and ensure that all major project responsibilities are designated to team members. This may be a time-consuming process with extensive discussion required to reach consensus.