a banner with a grey, blue, green, and purple cards with an icon of a person and checks and xs accompanied by the words "The Importance of Role Clarity"

by Chelsea Long | 3-4 Minute Read

What is Role Clarity?

Role Clarity is a coaching technique that ensures roles and responsibilities are identified, understood, and assumed (or accounted for) within an organization. In this post, let’s explore Role Clarity’s facilitation components, why it’s important, and how to determine if your organization needs it.

a purple name tag with an icon of a person accompanied by the word "Role" and a bulleted list

Key Facilitation Components

Role Clarity is facilitated by using a series of exercises that drive the participants to reveal the following:

a document with four numbered lines and a magnifying glass on top of it

  • Identify “in scope” responsibilities that should be attributed to the roles.
  • Uncover “out of scope” responsibilities that should not be attributed to the roles.
  • Provide an understanding of the interactions and workflows between roles.
  • Create Working Agreements to drive role collaboration or efficiency improvements to the organization.

Why is Role Clarity Important?

When Agile transformations start to take shape, most organizations must introduce new roles & responsibilities.two yellow sticky notes with a circle and a checkmark on it and a purple push pin in the notes Role Clarity assists in defining new roles and outlines how the roles should be performed. It also demonstrates the complex relationships that come along with executing in a new way. Role Clarity brings insight into the roles within an organization and provides an understanding of responsibilities associated with those roles, which contributes to improved teamwork and increased productivity.

How Do I Determine if My Organization Needs Role Clarity?

The introduction of new roles and responsibilities will always be present during a transformation. a grey thinking cloud with a green check mark and a red xSometimes the Agile roles exist but the responsibilities may not be fully realized or clarified. Other times, the introduction of new roles comes at the expense of former Program or Project roles. In some cases, an organization may want to keep their existing roles and blend in the Agile roles and responsibilities, but that may cause overlap or confusion.

In all examples listed above, change in the common theme and clarifying roles is essential to ensuring responsibilities are met and that team members are efficient and are clear on what they need from others and what others need from them.

Call to Action

Consider how work is getting done at your organization. Are responsibilities shared across several roles? Is it clear who should be responsible for what and when? Are there Working Agreements that guide your teams to maximize delivery goals and outcomes? Role Clarity will help answer these questions and ensure responsibilities are accounted for while adapting an Agile Mindset.

If you have questions or want more clarification on Role Clarity, contact the author at chelsea@cornerstoneagility.com. For information or assistance facilitating and conducting a Role Clarity exercise, contact Cornerstone Agility at info@cornerstoneagility.com.