“A RACI Matrix describes the participation by various roles in completing tasks or deliverables for a project or business process. RACI is an acronym derived from the four key responsibilities most typically used: responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed. It is used for clarifying and defining roles and responsibilities in cross-functional or departmental projects and processes.”
- The Project Management Institute
Having managed, implemented, and sometimes salvaged hundreds of Laserfiche projects, you learn a few methods to stay on track. One is following formal project management, such as Six Sigma or Agile. The other is to focus on factors that are likely to fuel project success. One of the factors is complete lucidity and transparency for roles and responsibilities for stakeholders, project owners, and other participants. The most detailed plan won’t save you when there is confusion among the ranks when it comes to who does what or who is responsible for decisions. We’ve all had the experience of a project going wrong and experiencing the circular firing squad that results. RACI mitigates this problem.
One model/method called RACI helps bring accountability and structure to describing the roles and ensuring all project tasks and approvals are assigned to someone to accomplish it. Essentially there are four roles participating in any project:
Responsible- Those who actually complete the task or make the decision. Joint responsibility is allowed. In a Laserfiche project, this may be the records manager or the staff member, or IT analyst creating the retention schedule and/or building the workflows.
Accountable- This role is the project owner. They must approve when the task or decision is complete. This person, additionally, makes sure all responsibilities are assigned. There can only be one person who is accountable. For our Laserfiche project, this role is frequently the city clerk or the IT manager.
Consulted- Those who are consulted are often department heads. They need to give input and opinions before tasks are completed and approved. Although they metaphorically “sit on the sidelines,” they are considered active participants. In the Laserfiche implementation, this role is filled by those who will use the system. So, while the records manager determines the retention schedule they will work with the city attorney to make sure they are in compliance with regulatory management.
Informed- This role consists of those who need to be communicated to (updates, progress) but are not formally consulted. Also, they don’t contribute directly. Receiving status updates is appropriate for the management team and department heads not affected by the project. Some agencies use their internal newsletter to keep those who need to be “in the loop”, informed.
Here’s how to build a basic structure for the RACI method. You’ll want to build this out in Excel or Sheets. Also, you’ll want to start work with the RACI model in place so you’ll need to resolve any problems upfront:
Identify all the tasks involved in delivering the project and list them on the left-hand side of the chart in completion order.
Identify all the project stakeholders and list them at the top of the chart.
Label who has responsibility, accountability and who will be consulted and informed for each task.
Ensure every task has at least one stakeholder Responsible for it.
No tasks should have more than one stakeholder Accountable. Resolve any conflicts where there is more than one for a particular task.
Determine if the “informed” group can be communicated with using media such as a group email or newsletter or if an in-person meeting is more appropriate. Be consistent with your communications vehicle.