The RACI Model is a straightforward, highly effective management tool for managers to use to enable them to be more strategic and proactive. Essentially a RACI provides clarity in any given situation about around who is Accountable, who is Responsible for doing the work/taking action, who needs to be Consulted so that knowledge is gained and who needs to be Informed to keep everyone up to date.
In a nutshell, everyone is in the know! That can be tricky at the best of times. Add remote working into the mix and things get even more complicated!!
All of us will have experienced the frustration of completing work only to find out that the requirements have changed or someone else has been doing the same job at the same time. Or being left out of the loop when your contributions or feelings should have been taken into account.
This lack of communication can lead to frustration and resentment and a feeling of things being done to you, rather than with you.
Equally quite often the lines between who is accountable and who is responsible for doing tasks and activities can be blurred – and not just at work!
Quite often both at home and work responsibilities get ‘assumed’. And then once that person is regularly doing the job we begin to expect them to do it and then get annoyed when they don’t!!!
So how can a RACI help?
Essentially a RACI helps you to look at a task and then determine precisely:
Who’s in charge
Who does what
Asks for help by consulting with those ‘in the know’;
Keeps everyone informed who needs to be if they are not directly involved
The important thing is that through a RACI everyone understands their role.
Who is / will be doing the work
Whose head will roll if this goes wrong
Anyone whose views are important
Anyone who must be updated
What is the difference between Accountability & Responsibility?
While there can only ever be a single person who is ‘Accountable’, multiple parties can be ‘Responsible’. Additionally, the ‘Accountable’ person may also be the one actually ‘Responsible’ for completion of that task or activity.
There are a couple of everyday examples of ‘Accountability’ versus ‘Responsibility’ that we can use to help us understand the difference.
The first relates to Politicians.
Ministers whose Departments have messed up normally try to hang on until the last moment but eventually their ‘Accountability’ forces them out. while those actually ‘Responsible’ for what’s gone wrong remain employed.
You’ll recognise the expression – if it happened on your watch, then you’re to blame.
The accountable person is whose head will roll!
The second example is even more common – it’s the Football Manager. It seems there’s a casualty every week where the Manager is the ‘fall guy’, forced to resign when the players themselves ‘responsible’ for playing and winning games have failed to perform.
Back to normal life, have you ever been to a party or celebration and someone forgot to do something really important – order the wine, sort the taxi, bring the rings? And when everyone complains they might say – ‘I didn’t realise it was my job?’!
In this case, ideally, there would have been someone in charge overall i.e. ‘Accountable’, who would have clarified everyone’s roles and responsibilities and tasks. But this is the bit that often doesn’t happen both in and outside of work and causes the issues already mentioned.
The RACI template
So what does a RACI look like?
Quite often it might be used in an excel format or a table like the one shown below.
The important thing is that :
There is an overall goal which is specifically stated
This goal is split into tasks and activities
In the ‘roles’ this is often better as a job role with the person’s name in brackets. This way if the RACI needed to be handed over, it would be completely clear who it should be handed to if a person’s role changed or a new manager took over but the RACI still applied and was relevant
Underneath each role the letter relating to their role i.e. R for responsible, A for accountable, C for consulted and I for informed would be placed.
Remember – only one person can be accountable, but several could be responsible, consulted etc and the accountable person can also be responsible for an activity.
The Benefits of a RACI
A RACI can deliver many benefits when implemented correctly because it;
Generates, a ‘birds-eye’ view of the task, roles and people enabling enhanced strategic thinking and management
Creates increased focus and proactivity
Minimises confusion – everyone knows what they need to do and when in any given situation
Ensures only the necessary people are involved and minimises duplication of tasks
Enables the business to be agile – key decisions have already been made
Improves communication as people are kept informed of what is happening
Creates buy-in and momentum by including people in the decision making process it creates