There are many RASCI and RACI chart definitions that fail to differentiate between them both. So let’s talk about whether or not they are one and the same.
The two terms are often used interchangeably. In essence, they do mean the same thing. There is only one minor difference, that is, the extra ‘S’ in ‘RASCI’, which stands for ‘Support’.
Some organizations prefer to use the RACI version. Here, only the Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed parties are involved. Other organizations prefer RASCI. This particular version also includes the parties which are to offer Support. They could do this by offering information, resources, or any other help required.
It is a matrix which is used to identify, assign and display the roles and responsibilities of each individual or jobs in a task for business process or a project. It helps to clearly state who is working on what particular subtask within a process or a project.
We will take a closer look at the terms, Responsible, Accountable, Supportive, Consulted and Informed, in a moment. But first, we need to talk about where this model comes in handy.
Do you remember any group project that you were assigned to do back in school or college? If yes, then you might remember these:
RASCI charts help avoid such situations. They are used for various purposes, including:
Now, let us get back to what each individual letter in the term means so that you know how to use this chart properly.
R – Responsible
The person who is ‘Responsible’ can be thought of as the project owner. It is solely their job to make sure that the project is completed. Multiple people could be Responsible for one task. However, if they need extra help, they may ask one of the Supportive members.
A – Accountable
The person who has ultimate control over a task and the resources allocated for its completion is called ‘Accountable’. They are the ones who assign and delegate work responsibilities. One task can never have more than one person accountable.
S – Supportive
‘Supportive’ members may provide help by providing resources to the Responsible members. They actively work with the Responsible in order to carry the project to completion. Both Supportive and Responsible members have the same goals.
C – Consulted
The ‘Consulted’ are there to help the Responsible finish their tasks successfully. They are the experts who you can go to for relevant advice, help, or opinion. They offer valuable subject matter expertise.
I – Informed
The ‘Informed’ category includes the people who are to be kept in the loop over the course of the project. They need to be informed about the progress of the project every step of the way, up until it reaches completion.
Now that we know what the RACI model is, let’s move on to the structure of the matrix. On the left side of the matrix is a list of all the tasks that are to be done for a particular project or process. At the top, each column represents a stakeholder of the project.
Product Backlog Refinement Sessions
Product Backlog Prioritize
Product Backlog Grooming Sessions
R = Responsible. (Designated person who takes the initiative and responsibility to make the work happen)
A = Approve. (Must sign-off on the work before it is effective)
S = Support. (Is or must be committed because they provide resources and/or play a role in implementation)
I = Inform. (Must be notified of the results of the work but need not be consulted)
C = Consult. (Have information and/or capability necessary to complete the work and hence must be consulted)
When the tasks and responsibilities are being distributed among group members, it is often preferred that there be only one ‘A’ and ‘R’ for each task. That means, for every task, only one of the team members must be held accountable. However, the possibility of more than one ‘R’ depends on the task and the organization itself.
Some organizations prefer only a single party responsible for task completion. They believe that dividing responsibility results in improper completion of the task. Others, however, may argue. They think it necessary to hold more than one individual responsible if the task is such that it requires the combined effort of people belonging to more than one area of expertise.
Sometimes, the Accountable and Responsible party for a task is the same. It is automatically assumed to be so. Therefore, in such cases, you need not mention an ‘R’ separately. But if two different people are to be assigned Accountability and Responsibility, there must be at least one ‘A’ and one ‘R’ per task.
It is also worth noting that sometimes there may be no ‘S’, ‘C’ or ‘I’ for a task. There is nothing wrong with having gaps in your chart. You do not have to fill in each and every cell of the matrix.
After you have drawn up a RACI matrix, you need to check a few things. There are two ways to do that:
During vertical analysis (role-wise), that is, checking column-by-column, you must keep in mind the following points:
What It Means
A group member has no responsibility whatsoever
Group member wastes time and resources, doing minor tasks, or nothing at all
Distribute responsibilities more evenly
A group member is overburdened
Lowers productivity and motivation levels
One person controls major decisions for multiple subtasks
Slows down overall project progress
All boxes filled
A group member has too much on their plate
Multiple empty boxes
A group member has a lot of free time
Causes wastage of resources and time
When checking horizontally (task-wise), you examine one row at a time. Keep the following things in mind here:
What It Means
The responsibility of delivering a particular subtask rests upon no one
The task will be left incomplete
Distribute responsibilities more evenly
The responsibility for one task has been divided among too many people
Too many cooks may spoil the broth
There is no one who the ‘R’s can seek permission from or report to
Causes chaos, confusion, and unnecessary hold-ups
Multiple people control the major decisions for the same subtask
Too many ‘C’s and ‘I’s
Too many people have been asked to help with/consult on the same task
Too much communication back and forth;
Keep communication channel(s) simple and quick
If a business process or a project is complex involving a number of team members and a number of tasks, and you are thinking about skipping out on using this model, we have one important word of advice: DON’T. Not using a RASCI matrix for your team activities could leave a very negative impact on your team and project outcomes in numerous ways.
Firstly, there is NO way your team will be able to work in peace. The team members will end up passing a lot of blame onto each other. Whenever something goes wrong, A will blame it on B, B will blame it on C, and so on. You must assign a particular task and role to each individual so that everything is crystal clear.
Furthermore, assigning duties to each member keeps everyone busy. If your group members are not explicitly told what to do, they will merely end up slacking off, and eventually, no work will be done by anyone!
Similarly, if you don’t analyze exactly how much work each member is supposed to do, you might end up assigning them much more work than they can handle. This will overburden them and ruin their productivity levels. A demotivated team will NEVER deliver on time!
Most importantly, there always needs to be one person who will have the final word regarding any and all team decisions. In the absence of a ‘leader’, it will take ages to make even the smallest decisions.
We hope this has made you realize exactly how vital these matrices are for team-based collaborations.