The model is based on few of the best practices to be followed in an organization that helps in just in time delivery of products without wasting time on blaming others in case of a scope creep and gives clarity amongst different roles in the organization. In simple terms this matrix talks about finding out and assigning tasks to individuals based on who is responsible, accountable, consulted and informed from any categories of information or decisions made on a daily basis.
At the outset of the project this model is created in different categories based on each and every task laid down and an individual is assigned in the above mentioned categories. There may time when each of those categories may overlap with too many individuals assigned to more than one of the categories. Continuous check and analysis should be done if the matrix displays an unbalanced picture. Below is an example of the matrix from a layman’s point of view, The same can be expanded with more tasks and individuals and should be reviewed periodically to make updates as necessary.
Responsible: People or stakeholders who do the work. They must complete the task or objective or make the decision. Several people can be jointly responsible.
Accountable: Person or stakeholder who is the “owner” of the work. He or she must sign off or approve when the task, objective or decision is complete. This person must make sure that responsibilities are assigned in the matrix for all related activities. Success requires that there is only one person Accountable, which means that “the buck stops there.”
Consulted: People or stakeholders who need to give input before the work can be done and signed-off on. These people are “in the loop” and active participants.
Informed: People or stakeholders who need to be kept “in the picture.” They need updates on progress or decisions, but they do not need to be formally consulted, nor do they contribute directly to the task or decision.
The process involved in creating the matrix is mentioned below:
- List all of the tasks, milestones, decisions in the left side of the matrix following the PLC steps.
- Identifying the project stakeholders from the organization and assign a task to each of the individuals.
- Complete the cells in the matrix sheet by assigning individuals on the responsible, accountable, consulted and informed category.
- There should not be more than one individual accountable for a task as it creates confusion to gain approval or sign off at the time of execution.
- Make sure all of the cells have been filled with at least one resource for a task.
- Discuss and receive confirmation on the matrix from stakeholders to avoid confusion an ambiguity.
To create a successful strategy using the RACI model it is imperative to review the model up and down on a regular basis to find out if there are too many R’s (Responsible) or if any of the cells is missing an assignee or the confirmation received from stakeholders have been unanimous.
Analysis of the matrix may include a of scenarios as mentioned above which needs to discussed with the project stakeholders before finalizing the model and publish the same to the respective individuals of the organization. Few of the analyses include No R’s, Too many R’s, No A’s, More than one A, Every box filled in, A lot of C’s, Missing project stakeholders. Through these kinds of analyses we can find and eliminate issues like lack in decision making process or approval process, conflicts about task ownership and change in upper management, uneven distribution of ownership and other related scenarios.
All said and done the matrix seems to be easy enough to operate and agreed upon but in reality there are some pitfalls that restrict the flow of the process as it is not always possible to get hold of all of the stakeholders at the same time. Although it is a tool that makes projects easier to manage by creating less confusion and more accountability it is important to remember that not all projects are same and getting a sign off on the usage of matrix may not be agreed upon by everyone as few organizations believe in shared responsibility and accountability to ease daily workload.
Along with this model there are some pitfalls that need to be avoided during the course of the journey; one should not create the matrix too granular a level so that micromanagement becomes an issue amongst employees. If the same chart is used for every project then obvious problems of maintaining hierarchy becomes a problem. Lack of consistency in the organizational hierarchy poses a great threat to any projects undertaken. Adding too many columns in the model disturbs the motive of the process flow that may confuse upper management in their journey of executing their duties.
To conclude this model should be created the outset of the project and the roles and responsibility of each and everyone should be laid down and informed so that expectations from each role are clear. The RACI model should be used throughout the project and needs to be tracked and monitored throughout the project which will help in streamlining communication in the organization, avoiding people overload, work overload and silos as situations present themselves.
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