Understanding Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RACI)
The Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM) is also referred to as RACI Matrix or Linear Responsibility Chart. This describes the contribution of various roles in completing responsibilities or deliverables for a project or business process. It is especially useful in clarification of roles in cross functional units.
This matrix is created with the vertical axis column having tasks from a work breakdown structure (WBS) or deliverables from a Product Breakdown structure (PBS) and a horizontal row axis having roles that might be taken from an organizational chart.
A simple example of a RACI matrix extract for a project is as below.
Code Name Project
Sponsor Project Manager Business Analyst System Analyst Technical Architect
Stage A Project Proposal
Stage B Initiate Project
B01 Business Requirements A C R I I I
B02 Functional Requirements A I R I C I
Stage C Design R
The role and identified resource are distinct. A role is a descriptor of a connected set of tasks. One resource can perform many roles and one role can be performed by many resources. For example the role of system analyst can be performed by five resources and one resource can perform both the role of System Analyst and Business Analyst.
Some of the key responsibilities used are Responsible(R), Accountable (A), Consulted(C), Informed (I). Hence the Responsibility Assignment matrix is referred to as RACI matrix. The term Responsible refers to the resource who does the work to accomplish the task. There is normally one role with a participation type of Responsible although others can be delegated to help in the work. The term Accountable refers to the resource who is the final approving authority or ultimately accountable.
The Accountable must sign off work that Responsible provides. For each task there is mandatory one Accountable required. Consulted are those whose opinion and feedback are sought and there is two-way communication with them. Informed are those who are kept updated on the progress and with whom there is just one-way communication. It is generally recommended that each role in the project or process for each task have just one of the participation types. Very often the role that is Accountable for a task may also be Responsible. This is indicated by a task or deliverable having a role ‘A’ specified but no ‘R’. The chart is also known as Navajo Blanket because of the coloring pattern.
There are many other alternatives to the RACI participation types. For example RASCI which includes additional Support role (allocated to Responsible and who assist in completing a task). This breaks the Responsible participation type into Responsible and Support.
Another example is RACI –VS which has additional participation types such as Verifier (those who check whether product meets the acceptance criteria) and Signatory(those who approve the Verify decision).
The RACI analysis is useful for analysis of workloads, re-organization (to ensure key functions and processes are not over looked), employee turnover, effective distribution and assignment of work, project management, in resolution of conflicts, and documenting the roles and responsibilities. There should be a sensible level of granularity for the task definitions. Instead of creating a perfect RACI, if eighty percent of the reality of situation is covered it will enable the goal of RACI being achieved.
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