A practical illustration of a ‘regular’ project management team’s scenario:
“A stack of files lying here and there, project manager at the center of everything, having sips of coffee and delegating work. Some people are working too hard to meet the deadline.
Some are there to just see others fail. Some are there for free coffee. And some trying to figure out, why’re they there!
Everything seems to move smoothly in chaos, until one of the coffees ends up spilling over a stack of files, and the Project Manager gets bubbled up in anger!
In a moment, the entire place becomes a battlefield, where papers are flying and everyone is shooting each other with blames.”
But there is only one thing, which actually is suffering: The Project.
Generally in a team of five, the distribution of work is such:
- 90% of work is done by one person,
- There is one person who shows up directly at the end of presentation,
- There is another person who is always there but has no idea on what’s going on,
- Another one who is always nodding his head into agreement but practically does nothing,
- And, finally some kind hearted one who tries assisting the team with coffee.
- If not done properly, a project management set-up may go haywire.
Might sound absurd, but this is it!
Ambiguity, Irresponsibility, Lack of Key Performance Measures and Schedule- four things which can kill a project.
So, how do you get things done, effectively and efficiently?
“RACI. A four-letter word to make things organized, literally. People and Organizations who want to perform at the epitome of their productivity, aren’t addicted to late-night coffee, but actually can’t do without RACI Matrix.”
So, what is this RACI Matrix after-all?
It’s your savior, in case you aren’t willing to end up as one of the above mentioned teams!
- RACI is a system designed to assign roles and responsibilities to track performance, and keep the project’s pace on parity within the team.
- Classifies people on the basis of their role, thereby creating a road-map which they should follow through the course of the project.
- It annihilates ambiguity and gives a clear map of distribution of responsibilities.
- Each team member is a part of one of the four designated hierarchies of the RACI: Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed.
- Responsible (R): These are people whose efforts are tangible and result in the actual functioning of the work.
They’re the ‘doers’, and are supposed to have broad knowledge of the task being accomplished.
- Accountable (A): People who’re imbibed with Authority to say Yes/No at any given point of time.
These are the people in limelight, and have a veto to halt things, when they go against their designated path.
These are the ones, who’ll be showered with appraisals if things work out, and criticized with scrutiny if things don’t.
- Consulting (C): These are people who provide special feedback, in the form of expertise which they possess in the subject matter.
They aren’t supposed to have a direct impact, but are in more of an advisory role.
- Informed (I): The ones who are supposed to be kept in the loop. These are people, to whom the significant information regarding the project is disseminated. They don’t play a direct role into the functioning, but are supposed to be informed on timely basis.
This is what a clear RACI Chart looks like
How to achieve hyper-productivity using RACI?
- Define all the tasks to be completed in their designated sequence.
- Recognize all the roles (designations) to be placed in the team.
- Tasks go vertical, Roles go horizontal.
- Now in each pane of intersection, identify whether the person is supposed to be Responsible, Accountable, Consultant or Informed.
- But, remember, there is no scope for more than one Accountable. If there’re more than one ‘Accountables’, it would simply result in clash of authority.
- Too many Responsibles would result in clashes amongst themselves, for performing tasks in various ways.
- Too many Consultants or Informed, would result in less work and more talk.
- Don’t overload an individual with way too many roles.
- Equate people’s skills and their designated roles.
- There shouldn’t be any empty box.
RACI is applicable to teams of all sizes. Tesco, with employee strength of 500,000 has also used RACI!
RACI model organizes roles and responsibilities for productive functioning. That said, it is required at certain stages and inculcating it at all stages isn’t always fruitful.
Tasks such as ‘making coffee’, won’t require a RACI Chart. That was the RACI model. What it does, is amazing:
How does RACI matrix enhance productivity?
- It makes things clearer.
- It makes people know their exact responsibilities.
- It allows the leadership to know the functioning of their departments/teams.
- Since responsibilities are pre-defined, tracing the performance of respective team members becomes easier.
- It highlights the significance of team members and tasks.
- It clarifies everyone’s contribution to the actual output.
- It creates parity between Role Conception (What people think their jobs are), Role Expectation (What other’s think a person’s job is) and Role Behavior (What people actually do in carrying out their job.)
These things which make a team efficient and effective, are what make RACI so enticing for entrepreneurs.
In an entrepreneurial venture, hiring people is not a regular task. So whoever comes on board, is supposed to contribute on a large extent in the team, and justify his/her value. Also, RACI is not just for corporates.
Wherever and whenever responsibilities and tasks are to be allocated between people, RACI can come handy.
So next time a complex task shows up, RACI it!