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A common question that one asks as soon as they join an organization is about the role that they need to play.
There are two aspects of this. One is a role and the other is a designation. These two should never to be confused.

The Designation is what is given to the person on the basis of the years of experience and in accordance with the salary structure in the organization.

Role is what the person is to do in the organization, irrespective of the designation that he/she has in the organization.

Yes, it does mean that even if you are the oldest employee of the organization, having a designation that is equalling that of a VP, and if you are good in testing, you need to adhere to the role of the Tester in the project. That is the importance of being in the “role”.

It is only on rare occasions that organizations will have a role matching the designation that is provided. There are a lot of things related to these in terms of lateral hiring, strategic hiring, etc which is aligned with the business vision, which in turn determines the role and designation of a person.

  • Role is like an art to act and justify what is need ethically to satisfy the expectations of the role.
  • It should never be hyped or underplayed due to the designation of the person in the organization.
  • Role is created to manifest the means to satisfy the need of an organization to take it to a higher level.
  • Role is also a “defined” self image that is meant to look at things from a fixed view point.
  • Role is to ensure that the fixed view point drives the means to take it to a logical end.
  • Role is also a set of pre-defined processes that needs to be adhered to or complied with by the role holder

When ever a person is given a role, the first thing what the person is to do is to:

  • Understand what is required of the role, undergo training if needed and also understand how the role is going to add value to the project and in turn the organization.
  • The role holder is to also liaise with other stakeholders in the project in accordance with the input – output as per the role process. Basically in accordance with the PDCA (Plan Do Check Act) for the role.
  • The role holder is also to liaise with other similar role holders (peers) within and outside the organization to benefit from their interactions on the best and worst practices that are within the purview of the intent of the role.
  • The role holder is to ethically do what is best possible by him/her to satisfy the need of the project
  • The role holder is to allow periodic audit and assessment of the responsibilities of the role to ensure that the process of the role execution is complied with.

The main purpose of any role holder is to ensure that they become redundant. Though this is not always possible and sometimes cannot be done, each role holder is to strive to reach that point of redundancy.
This might sound philosophical, but unless each role holder strives towards this mode, it would become very difficult to ensure that an organization is moving from its initial ISO/CMMI level to Six Sigma or higher.

It should be part of the continual improvement that has to span across all roles which would then ensure that the it would just not be the individual who would create an opportunity for growth, but also the organization which can grow along with the rest of its employees.

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