What is RACI?

Responsible - Accountable - Consulted - Informed

This is a very substantial and effective change management tool.

In fact it is one of the great change management tools for successful change management implementation. This is why I am covering it and its benefits is detail.

I hope in writing about this tool that is helps readers and uses resolve challenges and achieve the benefits mentioned below.

What does RACI stand for?

RACI is an acronym that stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed. It is a change management tool and or an operations management tool designed for identifying:
  1. Activities that need to be done.
  2. Who has to do the activities.

RACI Charts

The RACI chart is a matrix also commonly referred to as the RACI Matrix or RACI Diagram.

It is a matrix where we plot R, A, C or I against the activities or actions and decisions, and the individual positions or teams required to do them.

What letter is plotted depends on if a position or a team is Responsible, Accountable, Consulted or required to be Informed,


RACI Definitions

How do we determine on what basis, what position or team receives a R, A, C or I in the matrix?

This depends on the position or teams relationship to the activity. The definitions that define the relationshipa are:

Responsible - This is the position or the group who actually does the activity. They are the doers. They are responsible for ensuring the activity gets done;

Accountable - This is where the final authority rests. This position or team can say yes or no. They are held accountable if things go right or wrong;

Consulted - This position must be consulted before the activity is done. They are always involved / consulted prior to the activity;

Informed - This position must be informed after the activity is done. They need to know and are always informed that the particular action has been done;

Task - A major value adding process;

Functional Positions - Any position at any level that is required to complete any activity in the process;

Activity - Any essential step in the process. If an activity is not essential it should not be done and should not be listed.

Reasons Why We Make a RACI Chart?

So why bother to do this? There are many benefits. Some are more obvious than others. They include:

  • To resolve undefined and vague accountabilities. To eliminate the 'it's somebody else's responsibility' comments. I.e. To eliminate the blaming of others when things go wrong.

  • To eliminate issues of work requirements being delayed or ending up incomplete because of confusions about roles and responsibilities.

  • To eliminate duplication. For example, it can be common to find two or more positions completing the same or similar tasks, or unknowingly doing two similar things that are inputs to generate the same output.

  • It improves decision making as it becomes clear who makes the decisions and so therefore decisions can be made in a more timely manner. It guides decision activities to be made by positions at the correct level in the company.

  • It helps make the management and co-ordination of responsibility for activities across multiple departments and groups clearer.

  • It helps ensure that individuals get things done, the fun and interesting work as well as the less interesting and not so exciting.

  • It is a good performance management tool.

  • It helps smooth out business processes.

  • It helps improve communication and management of business functions.

  • It helps groups and individuals to focus on the things they need to do, to do them faster and more streamlined, so processes can become more efficient.

  • For six sigma practitioners, in six sigma methodology one of the aims is to eliminate variations in processes. It can be used as one of the six sigma tools to help achieve this.

Immediate Benefits for Managers and Leaders

Using a RACI chart helps to bring common organizational stresses to the surface. It helps management to resolve some very common problems in regards perceptions, transparency of expectations and behaviour.

Perception: How people perceive their position and required tasks become clearer, and management can also obtain a clear picture of whether or not people have been properly trained for it.

Transparency of Expectations: Others in the organisation or group can see what other position task requirements are and when these tasks should be completed.

Behaviour: It provides a type to tool to guide behaviour because individuals and groups are clear about what activities they should be doing and how and when they need to do it.

My Experience With the RACI Matrix

My experience with developing and implementing the RACI matrix has always been successful for the reasons outlined above. But I think it is worth noting that I have experienced them on some occasions becoming one of the under utilised change management tools.

I have witnessed them overlooked on a couple of previous projects. I feel this was for a few reasons.

One is that both fellow consultants and the client have perceived developing and completing this change management tool in difficult working environments as a confronting exercise. This is because in the process individuals will become held responsible and accountable for things getting done. Some people can feel confronted and like they are being micro managed and monitored.

Further, it has appeared a tedious and time consuming exercise. When management and staff who were already very busy took on this process, when they had not seen the change management benefits coming through quickly, they put it aside and delayed its completion.

And finally some clients and some lazy consultants have assumed many people will know what needs to be done and who should do it. So why bother with this exercise.

RACI Charts appear a basic business exercise, but building one can be an emotional and complicated process!

For a guide on how to make a RACI chart, to be able to look at it and identify what may be wrong with the way the activities are being processed, I have written the development notes and included a template free to download.

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