Succeed in Project Management
RACI Matrix is one of the most effective and simple to understand matrix’s that help in defining roles and responsibilities when it comes to project management.
Being able to know who exactly is responsible, accountable, who has to be consulted, and who needs to be informed at every step of the project, will significantly increase and improve the chances for your project to succeed!
From experience in helping many different businesses in different sectors, we got to understand that one of the Critical Success Factors for many projects is how effectively people address each other and how clear are the roles of each member, so that information is transmitted correctly and effectively.
Clarity on the roles and assigning responsibilities makes a huge difference in how the project will unroll. Regardless of how complete and detailed the project plan is. This, because confusion or omission of participant roles and responsibilities is normal in project management and if things are not clear and simple, it can cause major problems for the project to succeed.
For this, we welcome you to the RACI matrix, it has many variants according to the specific needs of the projects, but by understanding the basics, all the rest will be pretty clear and will fall in place.
RACI Matrix is one of the most simple and effective approaches out there that can do miracles when applied and is a great tool for your toolbox of project management. When the RACI model is integrated into your organization’s life cycle, it creates a powerful engine that enhances and improves the outcomes of your projects.
RACI Matrix, what is it?
RACI Matrix basically is a chart that maps out the project tasks or milestones and assigns it to its respective member of the team, this, so that the projects have a structure and everyone knows who is Responsible for each action items, who is Accountable for what, and who needs to be Consulted and who needs to be Informed. With this, you might have understood that the acronym RACI stands for each one of the four roles that the stakeholders might play in each project.
It is common in most projects, that there is no explicit document that states each member’s responsibility. When you establish a base ground by employing the RACI Matrix, most projects that are stuck, get back moving, and this enables the corresponding stakeholders to deal with the issue that needs a solution.
Knowing the Roles and the Responsibilities of RACI
This model creates a clear structure and clarity by describing the role each member or stakeholder play within the project. It clarifies whose responsibility is to do what and it ensures that every task that is needed for the project to move it will be assigned so that things can move on.
Let’s quickly go through the four roles of the RACI Matric that have to be defined in each project:
- Responsible – Member who does the work. They are Responsible for getting the task or objective completed. There can be more the one Responsible for the project.
- Accountable – Member who usually owns the project. He/She is the one who should delegate or approve when the task, project, or objective is complete. This member has to make sure that the Responsible for each task is assigned in the matrix regarding all its related activities. In order to succeed, there should be only one person accountable, this will allow defining clearly when enough is enough.
- Consulted – These are the members who need to give inputs before the work can be done or signed-off. These members are active participants who are constantly being “Consulted” so that the team knows how to proceed.
- Informed – To finalize, these members are the ones who need to understand what is happening. They will need to be updated about progress or decisions, but won’t necessarily need to be formally consulted and neither need to directly contribute to decisions or tasks.
What are the steps to create that RACI Matrix?
In order to create a proper RACI model, you need to include at least the next six steps:
- Identification of tasks involved in order to complete the project – You can list these on the right side of your chart in the order that they have to be completed;
- Identification of Stakeholders – These should be properly identified and listed at the top of the chart.
- Completion of the Matrix – Completion of the model cells in order to identify each member/stakeholder and who is Responsible/ Accountable/ Consulted/ Informed accordingly to each task.
- Task Responsibility – Make sure that at least one Responsible is assigned for each task.
- One Accountable Only – Make sure that only one member will be Accountable for each task and no more than one. This will allow the Accountable to make the necessary adjustments in order for the project to succeed.
- Agreeing before Starting – It is of extreme importance that the RACI model is shared, discussed, and agreed upon, before starting the project. This will allow transparency, clarity, and that each member knows where he stands and to who he/she will need to answer. Resolving any conflicts and ambiguities makes part of this step.
Now, let’s go over a simple illustration that will show you the RACI model applied:
Some of the best practices when applying the RACI Matrix
For you to make the best out of this model, you must make sure you use it in a logical strategic way. There cannot be any space for conflicts or ambiguities.
In order to solve conflicts and ambiguities in a RACI Matrix, you have to look through each row and then through each column.
Points to take into consideration:
- If there are more R’s than tasks, is it necessary? Can it be different? – Try not to overcharge members with the Responsibility as can be one of the most stressful roles;
- Empty Cells – If needed, leave cells empty, as long as everything that is necessary is filled and the flow is working, that is the most important. Don’t forget, use the tool, don’t let the tool use you.
- Making sure everyone agrees and understand – I’m reinforcing this point due to the necessity of having the system working, make sure everyone knows their roles and throw some question into the table that will guarantee that everyone is able to see the roles in practice.
Ex. In case the project stops getting updates, who will get things back moving, and who will they contact?
Using RACI Matrix:
Now that you understood RACI, you will see that putting these concepts together will enable you to bring any project much closer to its success. As you apply it, you will see the benefits and you might even find some adaptation that will suit better for each project that you will manage. Regardless of the number of people in the project, this model can be easily applied.
So go ahead and start using it, and don’t forget to give us some feedback in the comments!
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