Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How to effectively use a RACI matrix

In some instances, there can be confusion between project staff in relation to their duties and responsibilities. Therefore, before the start of a project, it is essential that each person involved in the project be given a clear idea about his or her role. RACI matrix is a tool, which has been used to delegate the roles and the responsibilities in order to avoid such confusion throughout the lifetime of a project.

RACI is an acronym used for representing the terms Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed. In certain instances, there may be additional terms being incorporated and the acronym may change to RASCI (‘S’ stands for ‘support’), RACIO (‘O’ stands for ‘Out of the Loop’) and RACI-VS (‘V’ stands for ‘verify’ and ‘S’ stands for ‘signatory’).

In any event, many managers use RACI matrix in its basic form in order to achieve smooth functioning of their projects. However, before going into the matrix, one should clarify the terminology involved in RACI.

Responsible – It refers to the person who works to achieve the task. They will get the work done or make decisions related to its achievement. For a given task, there should only be only one person ‘responsible’.

Accountable – The person accountable would be the person who makes sure the task would be completed according to the requirements. For a given task, there should only be one person ‘accountable’.

Consulted – There can be several people in this category for a given task and these people will give information for successful completion of the task. The communication with such individuals would be ‘two way’.

Informed – These are the people whom should be kept informed regarding the progress of the task and usually the communication with such individuals would be ‘one way’.

When it is time to assign the roles and begin the project, it is vital to recognize the tasks at hand in achieving the intended outcomes of the project. At the same time, the project staff should also be recognized. Following this, in order to create the RACI matrix, a table should be prepared with the recognized tasks tabulated according to their ordeDrr of completion one after the other in the first column of the table. Next columns will belong to the project staff and one column will represent one person. Now, for each task, indicate who will be Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed by indicating the relevant letter for each task. However, it should be remembered that, for a single raw or for a single task there should only be one ‘responsible’ person and one ‘accountable’ person.

Finally, in order to create an effective and agreeable RACI matrix to all stakeholders, one should discuss it with the project staff during its creation before going ahead with its implementation.

About the author:
Dr. Pandula Siribaddana, graduated as an MBBS doctor from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo and currently working as a Lecturer in Medical Education in the Postgraduate Institute of Medicine in the same university. My interests are mainly on IT in Medical Education.

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