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Now that we've got the boring definitions out of the way, let's talk about RACI. Each letter in RACI represents a participation type for a role.
R stands for responsible. The roles which are assigned in R are the roles that will directly work on the task. At least one role needs to be responsible for completing each task; otherwise, nothing is getting done. For large tasks, you could assign an R to multiple roles to lighten the burden.
A stands for accountable. The role which is assigned the A is the person who is held accountable for the roles assigned the R. In other words, when something goes wrong, A answers for it. You can only have one A for each task, so there's no confusion and no finger pointing.
C represents consulted. The roles assigned to C will be kept in the loop, and their input will be sought and considered. For IT projects, think about the person or people providing the requirements for a project. You could have one C, many Cs, or no Cs, depending on the task.
Lastly, the roles which are assigned in I will be kept informed. They'll be kept in the loop, but their opinions and ideas will not be requested. Is are usually people who are impacted by a change but are not part of the change, or they are higher‑ups just wanting to keep their ear to the ground without having to dedicate the time and effort with the details. As with the Cs, you could have one I, many Is, or no Is, depending on the task.
Now that you know what RACI stands for, let's take a look at a RACI matrix. RACI matrices are a simple way of seeing what level of responsibility each role has.
Here is a blank RACI matrix. In the green header row, you should list out all of the roles for the project. The first column is used to list all of the tasks. These charts can grow quite large and span many pages vertically, as well as horizontally. Let's take a look at an example.
Here you go, an example of a small RACI matrix, which we're going to fill out together. You can see I've listed all of the roles for the project in the header row. I then added all of the tasks in the first column and even grouped them to make it easy to read. Sometimes adding tasks will uncover roles that you previously didn't realize you needed. Once all of the roles and tasks are entered, I start filling in the matrix, beginning with the As. The As are the accountable roles, and there must only be one per task.
I then move on to the Rs to indicate those roles responsible for the work. Sometimes an R is the same role as an A. I then fill in the Cs and the Is. Not every box needs a letter. I have six boxes in this example which don't have a letter. Project sponsors do not care about technical documentation and don't even need to know when it is done.
You'll need to review your completed RACI matrix with your team. This is an important project artifact, but it is worthless if the only person who sees it is you. A team meeting with this as one of the main agenda items, usually a project kickoff meeting, will help everyone understand their role and everyone else's role. This will eliminate or at least reduce confusion, which leads to frustration.
Considering how many people will be included in the meeting (a lot) you should probably take the time to confirm your RACI matrix with most if not all of the participants one on one prior to the meeting. This should avoid surprises and potentially embarrassing situations and confrontations in a group setting. Once everyone understands the roles and who is filling them, you can hold the meeting and review the RACI matrix together. It should be a pretty quick meeting, since you invested all of that time up front prior to the meeting. New questions may arise, and that's okay. Your goal for the meeting is to ensure everyone understands and is comfortable with their role, in front of the group, which will put an indirect pressure on even the laziest of team members.
Once the project starts, new tasks and roles will be uncovered. Be sure to update the document and send around the changes to the entire team. If there are a lot of changes, hold another team meeting to ensure everyone is on the same page and answer any new questions. The RACI matrix alone doesn't guarantee success, but not having one almost always guarantees the project starts off poorly.
Next, we'll review the change curve and the hype cycle, two of my favorite topics for this course.
This course was published via Pluralsight.