Even for the most seasoned project managers, handling complex projects can be overwhelming. Which tasks are needed? How do you define roles? What is the most efficient way to create a list of deliverables? What about organizing timelines? Scheduling meetings? Establishing a budget? When it comes to the success of a project, clarity is key. It is vital to know who is in charge and what everyone’s contributions are supposed to be. Without a clear outline, confusion and chaos are bound to spoil the initiative. The best way to keep everyone on the same page is to implement a system that clearly designates roles and responsibilities. One such system is an assignment chart referred to as RACI.
What is RACI?
A RACI chart, otherwise referred to as a RACI matrix, is a simple, yet effective communication tool that stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed. Essentially, it is a chart that makes it easy to outline tasks, expectations, and deliverables for both internal team members and external stakeholders and clients.
With a RACI chart, the many moving parts of a project are broken down into tasks and sub-tasks, which are documented and monitored. Somebody is responsible, somebody is accountable, somebody is consulted, and somebody is informed. RACI is a great way to ensure accountability and helps to prevent too many people from being involved in the decision-making process. Not only does it give a clear sense of who will be working on what, but it also prevents anything from falling through the cracks throughout the project.
Why Use The RACI Method?
Here’s an example of the ways a RACI matrix can benefit your workplace:
Let’s say that your team is responsible for building a website. No matter the scope of the project, the first step in creating a RACI chart is making a list of every individual on board. This list would likely include the client or website owner who makes financial and strategic decisions, the developer who provides coding and guarantees site functionality, the UX designer who is responsible for the look and layout, the UI designer who assists with site appearance, and the project manager who is leading the entire undertaking, from proposals to progress reports. There are also other roles that contribute to the success of the website, like content creation, search engine optimization, and quality assurance.
Once you’ve made a rundown of everyone involved in the project, it is time to list all the tasks and deliverables required for a successful project. Using the same example, this might mean getting all necessary document requirements, including key objectives, functional requirements, and content requirements as well as web page designs, web page templates, wireframes, and flowcharts, etc.
After you know which roles to involve and tasks to complete, you’ll need to assign the RACI to each task and role. Under every team member, add the R (Responsible), A (Accountable), C (Consulted), or I (Informed) related to the tasks on the left column. Once complete, you’ll be able to see who is doing what and who is working with who. Additionally, you can see if there are too many hands on deck. For instance, does the content writer need to be involved in all of the activities? Are there too many people being held responsible? Where can R be changed to C; where can C be changed to I? Such changes can help keep the project moving on time and within budget.
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The Advantages Of A RACI Chart
Keeps Everyone On The Same Page
With a RACI chart, everybody knows what they’re responsible for and what the remainder of the group does. Duties are clearly defined, so there is no confusion about who is doing what. This awareness keeps the project running like a well-oiled machine – team members know when to take ownership of their work and when they need to consult someone else for direction or approval. In essence, the team has a structure.
Keeps Communication Focused
If you’ve ever been on a project where there are too many cooks in the kitchen, you know how stressful things can get, especially if you’re the project manager. As a project manager, you are thrown in the mix of it all – communicating between stakeholders and colleagues and working with every member of the team. With a RACI chart, you can make correspondence easier by including the right individuals at the right time, which, in turn, accelerates sign-offs and improves efficiency.
Improves Workplace Collaboration
Working together in a single, shared space is imperative for success, especially these days with remote working becoming more commonplace. With RACI, any updates, shared records, or completed milestones are easy to access and discover.
Holds Team Members Accountable
The blame game will become a thing of the past using the RACI method because it takes the guesswork out of who is responsible for what. Workplace issues that hinder efficiency and create drama, like pointing fingers or throwing a colleague under the bus, are virtually eliminated. Thus, correspondence is improved and everybody realizes how vital they are to the project. No micromanaging. No space for egos.
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