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Directly Responsible Individuals
Apple has a concept called the Directly Responsible Individual (DRI). On a particular project, that person is solely held accountable for the project’s success (or failure). The DRI can be anyone from an executive to a manager to an individual contributor.
Done right, the DRI system should:
Clarify responsibility. Who should I talk to? Who makes the final decision? Where does the buck stop?
Increases individual ownership. When individuals feel a sense of ownership, they perform better (at least accurate, in my experience).
Delineate responsibility. The DRI model requires tasks to be explicitly assigned.
Streamline the decision-making process. More unilateral decision-making can be better for risky projects (see veto power and decision-making processes).
Some of the challenges:
Potential overemphasis on individuality. Need to balance individual prerogative and collective teamwork.
Not ideal for all decisions. Some situations require extra risk mitigation and oversight (i.e., committees, vetos, the board, etc.).
For a public description of how this model works in practice, check out the page on how DRI works at GitLab in their employee handbook, which is open-source.