In my last blog “Man­aged Ser­vices, Part 2: Don’t Take Backup and Recov­ery For Granted,” I defined the sec­ond of the five cores of sup­port of man­aged ser­vices: backup and recov­ery. In this install­ment of the five-part series on man­aged ser­vices, I will cover roles and responsibilities.

Suc­cess­ful busi­ness lead­ers under­stand that it is most impor­tant to clearly define roles and respon­si­bil­i­ties for peo­ple who have been assigned to a project or task. If bound­aries are not clearly delin­eated, the project is prob­a­bly doomed to failure.

You don’t have to think too long for an exam­ple of a project that was on the verge of fail­ure sim­ply because roles and respon­si­bil­i­ties were not clearly defined and those respon­si­ble were not plainly iden­ti­fied. Ear­lier this year, prob­lems with a well-known national health­care web­site could have led to the death of the entire pro­gram.  It took an emer­gency team of experts with well-defined respon­si­bil­i­ties and a per­son who would take the ulti­mate respon­si­bil­ity for fail­ure to save the program.

Well, the man­aged ser­vices of your WCM sys­tem may not have to sur­vive the glare of a national press corps. Respon­si­bil­i­ties and roles, how­ever, need to be clearly defined so every­one involved knows exactly what they are sup­posed to be doing.

Keep in mind that the man­aged ser­vices of your sys­tem involve three author­i­ties: your busi­ness, the man­aged ser­vices provider, and a cus­tomizer you select to adapt your WCM sys­tem to your business’s spe­cific needs. Con­sider what could occur if all three author­i­ties did not have a clear under­stand­ing of who is respon­si­ble for what. Your man­aged ser­vices would fail and peo­ple would be point­ing fin­gers at the coop­er­at­ing enti­ties as well as the peo­ple within them.

I recently searched the Inter­net for infor­ma­tion on cre­at­ing a doc­u­ment or tem­plate that clearly defines respon­si­bil­i­ties among groups with a vested inter­est and among peo­ple within those groups. Some uni­ver­si­ties, includ­ing Cor­nell and North­west­ern, software-related groups such as the DSDM Con­sor­tium, and states like Mary­land have tem­plates on their web­sites. Check these sites for more details.

Your busi­ness, the man­aged ser­vices provider, and the cus­tomizer should have their own team of indi­vid­u­als with clearly defined respon­si­bil­i­ties.  You can refer to the links above for more.

The man­aged ser­vices provider should also offer a sum­mary of the respon­si­bil­i­ties of the busi­ness, the cus­tomizer, and the man­aged ser­vices provider. The doc­u­ment should indi­cate what stake­holder is respon­si­ble for what aspect of man­aged services.

Adobe offers a sum­mary of respon­si­bil­i­ties doc­u­ment that breaks down the respon­si­bil­i­ties into an easy-to-read chart.  The check­list iden­ti­fies every ser­vice in every cat­e­gory involved in the man­aged ser­vices sys­tem, includ­ing pro­vi­sion­ing, devel­op­ment and qual­ity assur­ance (QA), stag­ing, and pro­duc­tion. The doc­u­ment should clearly detail what each stake­holder is respon­si­ble for. Here’s an example:

Sum­mary of Man­aged Ser­vices Roles and Responsibilities

Avoid any chance of mis­un­der­stand­ing between your busi­ness, the man­aged ser­vices provider, and your cus­tomizer, and take pre­cau­tions that all enti­ties are work­ing off the same page.