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Starting a new project? It’s crucial to ensure everyone understands their role and who owns which decisions. If your team is experiencing confusion and duplication of efforts, the solution is a RACI. A RACI is a simple, effective way to document and confirm who does what in an organization. It’s a simple matrix that maps people to organizational activities in the workplace.

What does RACI stand for? RACI is a simple acronym meaning:

  • Responsible (the doer): Individual(s) who perform an activity and are responsible for action/implementation.
  • Accountable (holds the authority): Individual who is ultimately accountable for the yes/no decision and holds the power of veto.
  • Consult (in the loop): Individual(s) who must be consulted before a final decision/action. Two-way communication is required.
  • Inform (FYI): Individual(s) who must be informed after a decision is made or action is taken. One-way communication is required.

For example, the team develops a list of activities for a department and assigns roles:

The Do’s

  • Do have joint responsibility. Workloads are often shared between individuals and it’s fine to share responsibility to get the work done. For example, both the procurement department and the maintenance department may share accountability for processing purchase orders. Attempting to combine the responsibility for the work would slow the process. Sharing the workload makes work more efficient.
  • Do know the difference between C and I. Often, teams tend to overuse the C and I. The best litmus test for using C or I is this: does the individual need to be consulted during the process? For example, the supply chain manager will need to be consulted before a new vendor is added in the system so they don’t have to override or re-categorize after the fact. The AP clerk, however, just needs to be informed after it happens as they have no impact on the decision to enter the vendor record.

The Don’ts

  • Don’t have multiple accountability points for one activity. Avoid multiple A’s in one row. Shared accountability means decisions won’t get made when differences arise. For example, if the accounting manager and planning manager are both accountable for management reporting, it will result in duplication of effort or second-guessed decisions. There are two ways to address this: 1) Change roles to ensure single accountability, or 2) divide management reporting into multiple line items. In this case, the accounting manager and planning manager would be accountable for external and internal reporting, respectively (one line item for external and one for internal reporting).
  • Don’t include “approval steps” as an activity. Adding a step above called “Approved Vendor Invoices” would not be meaningful. The act of approval just means there’s an A for the actual activity being performed. In this case, we just have the line item “Enter AP Invoices” where the AP supervisor is accountable, indicating approval for the process.

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