Workshop Exercises: Decide

Roles and Responsibilities

Understand and agree on what one another does

Illustration of Roles and Responsibilities
Run a Roles and Responsibilities play

Timing: Planning

Origin: Ahmed Sidky & Jeff Patton

Prep time
5-30 minutes

Run time
40-90 minutes

Group size

Why: Promote clarity, enhance collaboration, and mitigate potential misunderstandings in team roles

When: Useful for forming or restructuring teams – or in case of confusion or conflict regarding tasks and responsibilities

This workshop exercise is part of the Workshop Patterns printed card deck.

A collection of workshop exercises that will help you ditch dull meetings and facilitate with confidence. It will help you master the design process and have more productive time with your team. The card deck will be ready for purchase in the end of 2023 and is now undergoing rigorous testing.

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Instructions for running this play

  1. Introduce the exercise. Describe the purpose of the exercise, expected outcomes, and time constraints. Highlight the necessity of mutual respect and open communication.
  2. Identify Roles. In this stage, specify every role present in the team (e.g., Product Manager, Tech lead, Designer) and write them on a board.
  3. Individual Assessment of Roles. Provide 5 minutes for everyone to Silent Storm their own responsibilities in their specific roles. Limit this to a maximum of 5 points per person, each on a separate sticky note.
  4. Peer Assessment of Roles. Allocate 5 minutes for everyone to Silent Storm 1-3 responsibilities they believe correspond to each of the other roles in the team. Any responsibilities perceived as unassigned should also be noted.
  5. Discussion. Discuss each role and its associated responsibilities, one at a time. Have each person explain their own responsibilities and compare these with others’ perceptions. Negotiate and seek agreement on conflicting points. Unassigned responsibilities should also be assigned during this stage.
  6. Summary and Next Steps. Summarize the agreed roles and responsibilities and ensure everyone is aligned. Discuss how these role assignments will be monitored and when they should be reviewed. Consider running a Who/What/When exercise to assign responsibilities.

Tips to perfect this play

Master and adapt the play to fit your context and needs.

Tip: Use predefined list

Consider distributing a predefined list of responsibilities rather than brainstorming from scratch

Tip: Enhance clarity

The purpose is to enhance clarity and to foster collaboration within the team.

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