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Matrix of Responsibility

Since many years, I use the Matrix of Responsibility in all my commercial proposals. Sometimes it seems a little bit overdone, but it makes many lives easier. The procurement person on the other end of the digital highway values it, because he sees immediately what he has to arrange for himself. He can also understand how the sales value is established. In case the project is awarded, our company’s and the client’s project managers know perfectly what is expected from each other. Therefore it makes sense to me to share some Lessons Learned.


Before you can start with preparing the project, you will require information from the client. Often specifications and drawings are to be shared in the first phases of the project. You might put a note that you require some information before you can accept the Purchase Order. You might also mention that you need certain information at specific project milestones.  


Detail all the deliverables you are intending to provide to the client. In case you want to exclude some deliverables in the first proposal, you might want to mention them as exclusions in the Matrix of Responsibility. In that way, your client knows that the specific deliverable is not part of the offer. In case he wants to include the deliverable anyway, he might use it in the negotiation.  

Manpower and Equipment

Be specific on the manpower and equipment that are part of the proposal. You might want to list the limitations of the resources included. Your project manager might misuse this line in case he has many setbacks in the execution of the project. Of course, there are no guarantees that this will have an effect, but it is worth a try.  


Describe what your client can expect from you. Will you stop your responsibilities of transportation when ready for transport at your warehouse, or will you ship it to the front door of your client’s facility? Will you perform the unloading or will this be responsibility of the client? All these items can be mentioned in the Matrix of Responsibility.  

Taxes and Duties

Discuss the responsibilities of each party for the different applicable taxes and custom duties. Make the items visible in the Matrix and discuss during the commercial stage. It will benefit a smooth execution of the project.  

List of Assumptions and Exclusions

The main advantage of the Matrix of Responsibility is that you do not need a list of exclusions. I hate the list of exclusions, because it gives a feeling that nothing is included in your proposal. Most of your assumptions can be covered in the Matrix of Responsibility as well.  


More than often client’s ask for a discount. When you included the Matrix of Responsibility into your proposal, you can let your client decide how to reduce the costs. He might ask you to move some activities over to his responsibility. Of course, it has to be mutual decided on what items can be moved to the responsibility of the other party.