Web Roles and Responsibilities
What It Is
Roles and responsibilities define the functions performed by staff on your Web team. Some of the roles on a Web team are:
- Project manager
- Content manager
- Digital/content strategist
- Information architect
- IT specialist
- Analytics specialist
- Usability specialist
- Subject matter expert/content contributor
Some people on a Web team may have more than one role. For example, a Web manager (who acts as the editor–in–chief for the website) may conduct some usability testing. And a Web editor may produce some Web analytics reports.
A “roles and responsibilities” document explains what each member of your Web team does. The document can be in a simple format, with title, role, and responsibilities. Or it can be more complex, providing fine points about role distinctions and types of responsibilities for specific programs or projects (see Wikipedia’s article on a responsibility assignment matrix).
Typically, roles and responsibilities are included in the team’s Web governance documents.
Why It's Important
Teams function best when everyone knows his or her role and responsibilities. A team roles and responsibilities document answers such common staff questions as:
- What is expected of me?
- Do the people around me understand my function on the team?
- Does each member of my team understand their own role and responsibilities?
- Do I understand what all my team members do?
Clear documentation and instruction of roles and responsibilities can:
- Set clear expectations for team members
- Act as a roadmap for staff participation
- Reduce redundancies and increase communication and efficiencies
- Help avoid misunderstandings and disputes
- Facilitate program management
- Provide stability through project and staff transitions
How to Implement
How you define and document roles and responsibilities for your team can depend on:
- Team size
- Number and type of team responsibilities
- How the team interacts with other program and project teams
- Complexity of team work processes
A planning meeting can help focus and structure the entire team’s thinking. Planning meetings can also be a good method to discover gaps and overlaps in roles and responsibilities.
Position descriptions for Web staff are a good place to help you start documenting the roles and responsibilities on your team, but they should not be your only source of information. Position descriptions show only one dimension: an individual staff member. A position description can’t show how staff interact with others on the team (or on other teams involved in your Web work), or how staff might be involved in program– or project–specific roles, such as contributor, subject matter expert, or project driver.
A responsibility assignment matrix shows relationships and maps out roles and responsibilities. One common type is the RACI model, a simple, two–dimensional matrix that shows level of involvement in work activities. RACI stands for:
- Responsible: a person who does work to complete tasks
- Accountable: the one person who is accountable for completion of the task
- Consult: a person who has input
- Inform: a person who needs to know but not necessarily be consulted
Constructing a RACI matrix benefits your Web team by:
- Acknowledging every task
- Assigning team members appropriately to tasks
- Keeping all of your Web activities on course
- Tracking staff involvement and tasks outside your Web team
Update your roles and responsibilities documentation regularly; over time, your Web work and the work of team members can change. Keep everyone informed, including your management team.
- Responsibility assignment matrix (from Wikipedia)
- Site Development Team (from Web Style Guide, 3rd edition)
- Project Roles and Responsibilities template (PDF, 313 KB, 5 pages, November 2002) (from TechRepublic)
- Roles and Responsibilities Matrix (from scribd.com)
- Constructing a RACI Matrix (from Bright Hub Project Management)