Responsibility vs. Accountability

According to Anthony Murphy, it’s the road to failure. And I couldn’t agree more, despite the framing. My personal experience showed things in the end always find a way. However, the separation between Responsibility and Accountability leads to lots of friction, debates and, in case somebody with accountability has to be identified, finger-pointing.

First of all, the article is entirely right, responsibility is not something that is assigned, it is something individual contributors take. Colleagues, that lead the way and take responsibility for their decisions. Those that make sure task are picked up and delivered.

And then there is accountability. Something that that can only be assumed for something that already happened before. All too often, there are much more candidates to volunteer for accountability, because it is misunderstood for leadership (or a management position), alongside with the willingness to spend days and weeks in non-customer value creating, internal debates how RACI Matrices (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) Matrices need to be defined and filled.

Only when responsibilities from the same matrix fail to deliver, accountability is a perfect model to seek problems with other actors in the matrix, preferably those responsible.

To put customer goals in first place, the agile manifesto has a simple answer and puts the team in charge.

via Product Coalition.