Skip to main content

Accountable or Responsible?

I was recently asked,  "From an ITIL standpoint, what’s the difference between Accountability and Responsibility?"   That's a great Question!

There is a big difference between Accountability and Responsibility.  The ITIL Continual Service Improvement (CSI) book provides the following definitions:
  • Accountable: Ownership of a process, and/or activity. The person who is held accountable and ensures that the goals and objectives of a process are being followed.
  • Responsible: Performer of a task. The person responsible for getting the task/activity done. This person gets the work done and does not necessarily have the authority to ensure that others are getting their tasks completed.
Accountable roles oversee or "own" the process or task; responsible roles execute or perform one or more aspects of the process or task.

For example: A CIO is accountable for the quality of all IT services, including the results produced by the IT staff and suppliers.  However, the CIO  does not personally manage or perform all of the tasks required to deliver those services.  He or she delegates that responsibility to others in the IT or supplier organization. 

Line managers are similarly accountable for the results of their teams but delegate the responsibilities of daily tasks to individual members or suppliers.   So, could one role be both accountable and responsible? Absolutely!  It is important, however, to understand that there is a very different focus between "accountability for results" and "responsibility for doing the work".

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What is the difference between Process Owner, Process Manager and Process Practitioner?

I was recently asked to clarify the roles of the Process Owner, Process Manager and Process Practitioner and wanted to share this with you.

Roles and Responsibilities:
Process Owner – this individual is “Accountable” for the process. They are the goto person and represent this process across the entire organization. They will ensure that the process is clearly defined, designed and documented. They will ensure that the process has a set of Policies for governance.Example: The process owner for Incident management will ensure that all of the activities to Identify, Record, Categorize, Investigate, … all the way to closing the incident are defined and documented with clearly defined roles, responsibilities, handoffs, and deliverables. An example of a policy in could be… “All Incidents must be logged”. Policies are rules that govern the process. Process Owner ensures that all Process activities, (what to do), Procedures (details on how to perform the activity) and the policies (r…

How Does ITIL Help in the Management of the SDLC?

I was recently asked how ITIL helps in the management of the SDLC (Software Development Lifecycle).  Simply put... SDLC is a Lifecycle approach to produce the software or the "product".  ITIL is a Lifecycle approach that focuses on the "service".
I’ll start by reviewing both SDLC and ITIL Lifecycles and then summarize:
SDLC  -  The intent of an SDLC process is to help produce a product that is cost-efficient, effective and of high quality. Once an application is created, the SDLC maps the proper deployment of the software into the live environment. The SDLC methodology usually contains the following stages: Analysis (requirements and design), construction, testing, release and maintenance.  The focus here is on the Software.  Most organizations will use an Agile or Waterfall approach to implement the software through the Software Development Lifecycle.
ITIL  -  is a best practice for IT service management (ITSM) that focuses on aligning IT services with the needs …

Incidents when a Defect is Involved

Question: We currently track defects in a separate system than our ticket management system. With that said, my question is does anyone have suggestions and/or best practices on how to handle incidents when a defect is involved? Should the incident be closed since the defect is being worked on in another defect tracking system if it is noted in the incident ticket? I am considering creating an incident statuses of 'closed-unresolved' so the incident can still be reported on in our ticket management system but know it is being worked on/tracked in the defect system. With defects, it is possible that we may never work on them because they are very low priority and the impact is low to the user. However, in some cases a defect is being worked on. Should we create a problem ticket instead?
Thanks, René W.

Answer: RenĂ©. In ITIL, the activity you are describing is handled by the Problem Management process. ITIL does not use the term “defect” but it does use the term “known error” to…