There are many ways to help clarify roles and responsibilities within a project, business process, or change initiative. Some prefer to use a hierarchical structure while others prefer to use a matrix-style format such as the RACI matrix. A RACI Matrix is a tool that brings clarity to the roles people play within a team working towards achieving a common goal. It describes the participation of the various roles in completing the required activities and deliverables.
When several people work on a project, it is easy to assume that someone else is taking care of a particular work or assignment. You may hear complaints such as: “I didn’t know I was supposed to do it” or “I though he was working on it”. This will lead to inefficient team operation, increased communication complexity, and undesired final results.
A RACI matrix clarifies roles and responsibilities and helps identifying who should be approached at any given situation. For example, when authorization is required for a particular decision, the accountable stakeholder should be approached. The goal is to ensure your team have a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities to avoid duplication and confusion. It reveals issues such as: not enough communication and too many chiefs. It also provides a clear view of what are we expecting from each stakeholder and how are we going to communicate with them.
RACI is an acronym for the four roles that stakeholders might play in any project or change situation: Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed. Each activity in a RACI matrix should be analyzed to determine the role each stakeholder plays for the activity to be completed. The roles are often plotted along the top of the matrix while the set of activities are plotted along the left side of the matrix.
Responsible refers to the person who should actively participate to accomplish a particular activity. This is the person who owns the activity and actually doing the work. There can be a number of people doing each activity, however, there should be at least one responsible to avoid confusion and underperforming. Others can help the responsible to accomplish the required work.
Accountable refers to the person who should ensure that the work is completed on time, within budget, and within the required quality standards. He may be the direct manager of the responsible, or may be the same responsible person when the team is small. There must be only one accountableperson for each activity. It is also important that few accountable stakeholders exist on the RACI matrix to avoid confusion over where the authority resides.
Consulted refers to the person who can provide valuable information and guidance to complete the work. He is the person who has the knowledge, skills and experience that may be needed to complete the required work. His opinion should be taken into account before a decision is made. However, he should not have the authority tochange the work unless explicitly given.
Informed refers to person who should be notified of a decision or result because his work depends on the activity and might be affected by the changes in some way. He has no control over how the work is implemented and does not need to take part in the decision-making process. Keeping him informed is a good way to get their attention and support.
How to Create a RACI Matrix:
The following steps describe how to create a RACI matrix:
- With your team, clearly explain the purpose for creating the RACI matrix.
- Identify the stakeholders who should be involved and the main activities that need to be performed.
- Construct a two-dimensional table.
- Insert the main activities on the left hand column and the roles of stakeholders on top row of the table.
- For each activity, identify the responsible, accountable, consulted and informed stakeholders by placing the appropriate symbol (R,A,C or I) at the intersecting cell of the matrix.
- Ensure that there is an accountable and responsible for each activity.
- Discuss the RACI matrix with key stakeholders to verify accuracy.
Example 1 – Assigning Persons to a Project:
The example shown here illustrates the responsible, accountable, consulted and informed persons for a particular project. Note that the assigned resources can also be shown as roles or teams.
Example 2 – Assigning Six Sigma Roles and Responsibilities:
The following is an example of a RACI matrix that was created by a management team to help assigning Six Sigma roles and responsibilities at the outset of deployment.
- A variation of the RACI matrix is the RASCI matrix where “S” refers to the Supportive people who can provide resources and/or other forms of support during the project or change initiative.
- An Organizational Breakdown Structure (OBS) is another way that helps clarify roles and responsibilities needed to complete a project. It is a hierarchical framework that helps identifying the responsible persons or departments who are involved, for which activities, and what authority and rights they have.