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The difference between responsibility and authority is explained in Section 11.5.

a. Provide and briefly explain a situation you have experienced or observed in your personal or professional life for which authority was or is commensurate with responsibility.

b. Provide and briefly explain a situation you have experienced or observed in your personal or professional life for which authority was or is not commensurate with responsibility.

 

TABLE 11.5 Responsibilities of the team leader role

• Supervises personal and team processes

• Assures personal and team product quality

• Mentors and coaches team members

• Maintains team morale, energy, and drive

• Keeps management informed of progress and problems

• Coordinates work activities with other teams and groups

• Resolves problems and issues within his or her control

• Elevates problems and issues beyond his or her control

Authority is the power to make the decisions that must be made in fulfilling one’s responsibilities, and the power to implement those decisions, or to see that they are implemented. A CCB, for example, must have the authority to establish work-product baselines and to accept, reject, or defer change requests and defect reports. Each job description should include the authority vested in the job as well as the assigned responsibilities. An individual software developer, for example, has (or should have) the authority, within the constraints of the project’s (or organization’s) style guidelines, to implement code in the way she or he thinks will best satisfy the requirements, but he or she does not have the authority to change the requirements baseline for the product.

Authority can be delegated but responsibility cannot. You can, for example, delegate authority to your chief architect to negotiate requirements with the customer. However, you are still responsible, as project manager, for delivering an acceptable product within the constraints of schedule and budget. If your architect fails to successfully negotiate the requirements and your project fails, you will be responsible for the failure. And, of course, you deserve to share the credit for successful outcomes.

A common complaint among those who work in organizations is that they do not have the authority to carry out their responsibilities. Sometimes this is the result of the ineptitude of a manager who delegates authority insufficiently, sometimes it is based on the desire of a manager to exert control over every aspect of the work for which he or she is responsible (perhaps because of the manager’s insecurity or perhaps because she or he does not trust the team members to carry out their assigned responsibilities), and sometimes those who complain about lack of authority mistakenly think their responsibilities are larger than they are in fact.

Personnel assignments are made by first identifying the roles that must be played. The roles to be played include project manager, software architect, software implementer, configuration manager, and others, as listed in

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