One of the all time great management thinkers, Peter Drucker, once said
- “Strategy is a commodity; execution is an art.”
I’m not quite sure I wholeheartedly agree with the first part of the statement, but I 100% agree with the second.
How often do you (or members of your team) get a bright idea, get all excited, have a chat, send off a couple of emails outlining who needs to do what, with the obvious deadlines, and then, at best, things don’t get done, at worst they descend into chaos?
RACI is a project management tool that might be able to help.
The point is with any idea or project it’s sometimes pretty easy for the right hand to be in the dark about what the left hand is doing, or is responsible for.
Why do you need a RACI?
You need RACI to offset what has been called the curse of execution. To take another one pithy one liner from that well known the politician, statesman and warrior, General Colin Powell, he said:
- “Strategy equals execution. All the great ideas and visions in the world are worthless if they can’t be implemented rapidly and efficiently.”
And it’s sometimes difficult to execute strategies and projects and there are many reasons why, they might include.
- Strategic goals are not sufficiently broken down into specific, tangible and above all, actionable tasks that can easily monitored executed and followed up on.
- The decision-making hierarchy is unclear.
- Individual accountability is not defined – so there is a lack of clarity about who’s accountable for each deliverable.
- The top team loses track of progress, as a result of poor monitoring tools and techniques.
- Changing priorities and course corrections are not made, or are made too slowly.
Most of these reasons for ineffective execution can be traced back to people, roles and responsibilities, exactly the problem that RACI seeks to solve.
The objective of the RACI framework is to bring clarity and structure to the roles that the various stakeholders will play within any project. RACI provides a confidence that each person involved knows 1) what they are doing 2) the limits of that responsibility.
So, RACI is an acronym derived from the four key responsibilities most typically used:
- Consulted and
It’s a framework for clarifying and defining roles and responsibilities in cross-functional or departmental projects and processes. Let’s look at each in a little more detail:
- R = Responsible (also sometimes called recommender)
- This is the “doer” or doers. Those people who undertake the work of completing the task in hand.
- A = Accountable (also sometimes called the approver)
- This the one that ultimately carries the can. The person answerable for the execution of the deliverable project or task. The person who assigns responsibility for the tasks and makes sure stuff gets done and signs off when it is done. There is only ever one person accountable for each specified task or deliverable.
- C = Consulted (sometimes consultant or counsel)
- These people contribute, these are the people whose opinions are sought. They may be the resident company “sage” or a subject-matter expert. They may also be people who will, whilst not part of the project, be impacted by it. These are the people where two-way communication is key.
- I = Informed
- Those people who need to be kept up-to-date on progress, often only on completion of the task or deliverable, and with whom there is usually just one-way communication.
In many instances the role that is accountable for a task or deliverable may also be responsible for completing it. However, other than this it is generally recommended that each role in the project or process for each task are allocated just one of the participation types. If that isn’t the case, it would usually imply that a something has not been fully resolved.
What about an example?
At the moment we are looking to rebuild part of our www.isoconsultantsuk.co.uk website, so the project stakeholders are:
- The wordsmith (copywriter)
- The graphic designer
- Me (the MD)
- The techie (web developer)
So, knowing the tasks and the players, we have enough information to build the RACI chart.
- Create the narrative (copy) around customer “pains”.
- Revamp website structure.
- Improve homepage loading speed.
- Update web pages design.
The RACI chart would look like:
|Improve site speed
|A & R
|Me (the MD)
|R & A
Not all projects will be suitable for a RACI chart and to be fair, redeveloping the website is probably on the limits of being too small, but hopefully you can see how a matric like the above would be of benefit to a bigger project. The benefits of RACI include:
- Clear, well defined project roles and responsibilities.
- It reduces confusion.
- It engenders better collaboration and communication with your team.
- Decision-making is allocated more effectively between the different tasks.
- It’s easy to track who’s doing what by when.
The RACI chart is a great little way of managing projects to ensure whilst doing so that the right arm knows what the left arm is doing.
As ever, we would not necessarily recommend slavish adherence to the model and there are a number of variations on the model others have added components like; control, participants, performs, support.
The point is to take the idea and make it your own.
The takeaway is that clear team roles and responsibilities help you hit your deliverables on time. And tracking different and complex stakeholder responsibilities can help you do that.