What is RACI ?
In Six Sigma, a well thought out and proper Process Design is very important for the process to be efficiently implemented for a longer term. We can design a process for an existing process which has no proper design and documentation or of course for a new process that we create from ground up. For this exercise of process design, it’s very important to first identify the various tasks in that process then identify the roles (people or groups or departments) and finally their responsibilities for a given task. Not all roles have a responsibility towards a task and a given task may not associate to all roles. Typically we associate a task with at least one role or in some cases multiple roles. You can divide this ‘Association’ of the role with a task into the following four association types, which together form the RACI acronym (full form or pronunciation).
We can represent the above four types of association (of a role to a task) in a simple task versus role diagram or matrix or grid. We call this matrix RACI matrix (pronounced ‘racey’ matrix). So basically the RACI matrix is a responsibility assignment matrix (RAM), designed to assign tasks, activities, responsibilities, accountability, decision making, supporting to team members of a process/project and clarify expectations on the level of their participation.
So what is RASCI ?
There is another association type that we sometimes use in addition to the above four types:
When you use all the five types in the matrix, its called RASCI (pronounced ‘race ski’) Matrix. Lets go thru each association type in detail below:
The role or person or entity that we assign the role type ‘Responsible‘ is the one who performs the work. In other words he/she is the ‘doer’ of the task or activity. The person who is ‘Responsible’ need not be accountable for that task, even though in some cases the same person can be ‘Responsible’ and ‘Accountable’. The degree of ‘Responsibility’ can vary and multiple roles can share the responsibility of a single task. Also one role can delegate the responsibility to another role. Using the RACI matrix we can see if a role has too many or too few responsibilities and try to adjust the workload.
‘Accountable’ is the person or role who has the final authority and accountability to a given task. For any given task, there is only one role/person accountable. We can’t delegate this accountability to other roles or individuals or entities.
‘Consulted’ are the people or roles whom we consult and get advice from before and during performing the task. When there are many people who have ‘Consulted’ roles, the time taken to accomplish the task increases. On the other hand too few or no ‘Consulted’ roles assigned to a task means that task has the risk of underperforming.
Informed are the people/roles who, we inform after we complete the task. You need to assign the ‘Informed’ roles properly as otherwise it may lead to miscommunication and delays. You need to make sure the right people/roles are informed after we perform a task successfully. If too many roles are informed after a task, we need to see if it’s necessary to do so and minimize on that.
‘Supported’ are the roles/groups/departments that provide the resources and hence support that task. This is an optional role type and if the matrix uses this category along with the other four RACI categories, then its called ‘RASCI’ matrix.
RACI Matrix or RACI Diagram (a.k.a Responsibility chart or
Responsibility assignment matrix)
Why do we need RACI?
- RACI is a good communication tool. Without RACI, six sigma processes will result in poor communication and improper process definition and poor hand-offs.
- RACI makes sure each and every task has a owner (a role who owns the task).
- People tend to think they are the ones who are responsible and/or accountable whereas they might actually be in ‘Consulted’ or ‘Supported’ roles. Assigning wrong roles results in duplication of effort and misunderstanding and even fighting in some cases.
- RACI allows the right people to be assigned to the role of consulted.
RACI Charts – Advantages and benefits
Following are the advantages of RACI charts.
- Well define activities and tasks in a six sigma process thru brainstorming.
- By clarifying roles and responsibilities at the very initial stage of the process design, RACI helps setting up the proper expectations among team members and hence reduces future misunderstandings.
- Eliminates duplication of effort
- RACI helps improved communication by setting up the proper expectations among team members at the very initial process design stage.
- Identifies the owner of a task clearly and assigns accountability to that role.
- By ensuring that the correct people are involved, RACI helps in avoiding wrong decisions.
- RACI clarifies hand-offs and task/role/responsibility boundaries.
- Improves understanding of cross-functional view for employees across divisions or departments, and helps employees across various groups respect and appreciate the roles and duties of people from other groups.
Step by Step procedure to create RACI Charts
- Determine the functions, decisions, tasks and activities that will make up the process or project.
- Identify who will be the project’s participants.
- 1,2 will make up the rows and columns of the RACI chart.
- Identifying how each participant involves with each function, decision,task, activity.
- Fill out the grid with the letters R(responsible), A (accountable), C (consulted), or I (informed)
Lets take the simple two task example of designing the process for content management.
Task 1: Create Content
- The Creative Team is the party that is responsible for doing or developing a content piece. So they are assigned a role of R.
- The Marketing Team/Department is the Accountable party and assigned the role A and they own this process.
- The IT team needs to be Informed when this task is completed, so IT Team is assigned the role of I.
- The Legal Team responsible for Consulting and approving this content. Also they need to be notified when this task is done. They will be assigned C,I and even R
Task 2: Upload the content
- The IT team is Responsible for the task of Uploading the content and Publishing it. Their role is assigned with R
- The Marketing team is accountable and needs to be informed when this task is completed. So they are assigned A,I.
Discoveries/findings from RACI Chart
- Each task/function/activity (row) should have ONE and only ONE Accountable (A).
- Each task/function/activity (row) should have at least one Responsible. In some cases, a task can have more than one role responsible with shared responsibility.
- If a task has more than one R then the task should be brainstormed further and see if it can be split into two tasks.
- We should minimize the number of Consults.
- Too many I’s is also not a good sign. Minimize the I’s so that only those who need to be Informed are informed.
- If a column has no empty spaces, that means that Role/Person is involved with all tasks. See if you can reduce C’s and I’s for this Role.
- If a column has many R‘s – The role may have too much work to do. Try to break the task into small sections and delegate to other roles.
- If a column has no A‘s or R‘s, may be we can eliminate this role from this process.
- If a column has many A’s means this role may be a bottleneck. Try to see if we can share these tasks.