Get RACI with collaboration

Whether you are working on a project, delivering a presentation, or just doing your daily job – having clearly defined roles and responsibilities is the number one element of success.

If you don’t believe me, ask any project manager, manager, or mother! Without clear responsibility for tasks and decisions – things don’t get done, work is not distributed to the right resources, decisions are not made, blame and stress increase, and productivity gets flushed down the drain. Not a pretty sight.

RACI – the power tool

Increase your chance of a successful collaboration but using a project management tool in all areas of your life of business. Though the first time I used this tool was for a large project, I have since used it for group work ranging from a single event with two people, to a large cross functional multi year project. It’s called the RACI chart. Not it’s not RACY (as in risque) but R.A.C.I.

RACI – described

The RACI chart is a matrix. Down the left column are the decisions and key activities of the project (or other collaborative activity). Across the top row are the people / areas / departments involved. The center matrix is where the roles / responsibilities are assigned for each decision / role combination. There are many interpretations and versions of the acronym RACI. This is how I use the tool including my ‘nickname’ for clarification.

  • Responsible – ‘the doer’ – person(s) who actually complete the task
  • Accountable – ‘the owner’ – ultimately answerable for the activity / decision
  • Consulted – ‘in the loop’ – subject matter experts consulted prior to action / decision
  • Informed – ‘keep in the picture’ – communicate to them after the action / decision

RACI – 3 step how to

This is in no way a complete description of how to use a RACI matrix, but it will get you started. The most important part of the ‘how to’ is to create the chart together with the other collaborators – a sure way to get buy-in and to make it more complete.

  • Step 1. Do the do. List key activities / decisions relating to this collaboration in column 1.
  • Step 2. Name names. Once the decisions and activities are listed, determine who will need to be involved in each activity. (i.e. which person, group, area, department listed across the top)
  • Step 3. RACY RACI. Identify the responsibility level and assign the appropriate letter in the box for each role and activity combination.

Take a look at this quick little ditty I put together as a practice exercise.

RACI – applications

The RACI chart is not just for big projects. Use it for small projects, events, even daily work! Anywhere you have 2 or more individuals collaborating on a project or process, you have an opportunity to use the RACI chart. At it’s core, it is a communication tool.

Confession: Though I haven’t been using it for small projects, I’m going to start now! Will you join me? With the very next collaborative effort (myself and one other) I am committing to using the RACI chart.

If you need advice on applications or interpretations, contact me. If you have other applications, I’d love to hear about them. We learn from each other!