The Single-Point Responsibility Principle
Project organizations can also learn from the sports world's hierarchical reporting structure. Hockey organizations have one or more owners, managers (President, General Manager, coaches, scouts, trainers) and team members. Decisions affecting the team are channeled through the coach to the team. The coach gives practice and game related direction to the team. In the dressing room and during the game, the team captain and his or her assistants represent the team in leadership capacities. If the coach's message isn't being adhered to or if additional weight on a point is needed, the captain and assistants will step up and re-emphasize that point.
Wideman states: "A single channel of communication must exist between the project sponsor and the project team leader for all decisions affecting the product scope ". What comes down from the top must be funneled through the sponsor to the project team via the project manager. The project's key stakeholders must speak with one voice to the team. As the team leader, the project manager assumes responsibility for the team and its work.
When single-point responsibility does not occur, when shared ownership of responsibility and communication exists, confusion results while trying to carry out the project's purpose. The team does not know from whom to take direction. Informal communication channels do and should exist between team members, stakeholders and users, however, when decisions need to be made that cannot be made or agreed upon at one level they must be funneled through the project manager-project sponsor pipe line. Effective decisions are made using this process.