Define who does what and how, to avoid major spills

Who does what and how - Olivetree Insights

The role of insights in the organization is evolving so quickly it can be hard to keep up. Data sources outside of the insights team (e.g. social media from marketing, analytics from sales) compete for leadership attention. The availability of “free marketing research” means that well-meaning but untrained business partners are doing their own research. Our insights teams have access to new capabilities like blended data, geo-fencing, and AI-informed qualitative research, but this might not be known or understood by business partners.

Identifying roles, responsibilities, and principles can help business leaders understand how to get the best insights on which to make decisions. It can also help guide insights team leaders and members in how to bridge gaps between “the old ways” and “the new ways.”

This third and final part of our blog series on creating an Insights Team Charter covers Roles, Responsibilities and Principles: who should be doing what and how.

It can seem basic, but in an ever-changing environment, where a proliferation of DIY research tools make it easier for business partners to conduct their own “down and dirty” research, spelling out who is doing what for whom is important to avoiding confusion and distrust.

What can key stakeholders expect from the insights? Here are examples of the types of role statements that clarify what to expect from the insights team:

  • Deliver actionable insights built on a strong foundation of data and processes to establish results integrity.
  • Recommend best practices and standardized approaches when it makes sense, in order to support consistent, fact-based decision making.
  • Provide guidance to contractors and internal DIY researchers.

And, a couple of examples of what not to expect from an insights team, depending on staffing, expertise, etc.:

  • Staffing to support in-house execution of sophisticated analysis.
  • Resources to moderate focus groups.


It is critical that the insights team lay out the specific duties and obligations related to each person’s role – the responsibilities they will take on for the organization.  Two of the most common ways to structure insights team responsibilities are:

  • By role: Primary research, Secondary research, Data analytics
  • By subject matter expertise: for a business unit, brand, or division

Another way to define responsibilities in the context of roles is based on a project management framework: RACI.

To clarify Roles and Responsibilities, some use a RACI framework

A RACI matrix gives you a better way to describe your multi-project work and how to work together effectively and efficiently to deliver insights that drive decisions. The core purpose of a RACI matrix is to create clarity across roles. Here’s what RACI stands for:

Responsible – The person or position responsible for doing the activity (the work).

Accountable – The person or position accountable to ensure the activity happens. If things go wrong “it’s their head on the chopping block.”

Consulted – The person or position who should be consulted prior to a decision or action being taken.

Informed – The person or position that needs to be informed after completion of the task or decision is made.

The matrix is created by listing all the steps in the project down and the people involved across the top.  Then, each RACI role is defined as shown in the table below:

Project Step Insights Team Leader Insights Team Project Leader Insights Team Analyst Business Partner A Business Partner B
Major Task 1 R R C A C
Major Task 2 A R I C I
Major Task 3 C A R C I

When working through the process, it becomes easy to identify potential conflict areas and ambiguities so that they can be addressed.  You will quickly learn how people’s perceptions differ from each other and discover a better way of working together.

Here’s a resource for using the RACI matrix:


This is the section where you clarify how the work gets done.  Having consistent processes and procedures that everyone has agreed to helps keep your team on schedule and productive.

Examples include:

  • Consulting engagements start with a brief that functions as a contract between the insights team and business partner.
  • Research integrity fits with the degree of risk.
  • Research expenditures are prioritized for funding based upon the following criteria:
    • Estimates sales impact
    • Actionability of the results
    • Global reapplication

As the workplace becomes more complex and inter-connected, defining the insights’ team member roles, responsibilities, and principles as part of the Team Charter becomes essential to avoid conflicts and misunderstandings with colleagues.

We hope you’ve gotten value out of this Team Charter series. For help in creating your own Team Charter, request more information on our Insights Team Charter Workshop, or email


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