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RACI: Using it for stakeholder responsibility assignment

Stakeholders play a pivotal role in the success and failure of projects. Project stakeholders as we know are individuals or groups who have interest in the project and are directly or indirectly affected by the project. They have “stake” in our project and it is the responsibility of the Project Manager to keep them engaged and ensure their participation with minimal conflict.

The RACI (Responsibility – Accountability – Consult -Informed) matrix will help every project team to understand individual responsibilities towards each task. This will ensure there is no overlap of responsibilities and conflict regarding the ownership of tasks.

Situation: I was managing a project that involved creating a community survey for providing certain guidance for pre-teenage and teenage kids. The business was neither technology nor process savvy. The technology team was hand holding them for each task. The work break down structure was defined and I wanted to clearly define the responsibility matrix but I was specifically discouraged by the Project Lead. According to the lead, the particular business we were working with did not like tasks being specifically assigned to them and their timelines tracked.

Outcome: Requirements documents were not signed off, business did not adhere to any timelines that were defined, technology awaited to get used cases from business and business thought technology would create used cases. In short there was total chaos. Needless to say, I missed the schedule for the first phase of project.

Lessons learned: If no-one can take control, let the Project Manager take complete control. I refused to repeat the project failure for Phase 2 and decided to take things in control. I set up a meeting with the business and decided to present them the R-A-C-I matrix and explain them the advantage.

So, what is RACI?

(R)esponsible– Who is responsible for completing the task(s)

(A)ccountable – Who is making decisions and is the owner of the task(s)

(C)onsulted – Who will be consulted during the execution of the task(s)

(I)nformed – Who will be updated on decisions and actions during or after completion of the task(s)

Advantage of RACI

  • We get a detailed list of tasks

  • Identify the stakeholders

  • Assign responsibility of each stakeholder towards the tasks

  • No conflict over ownership of task once RACI is determined and agreed upon

  • Each task has at least one owner

  • The stakeholders are aware of each other’s responsibility towards a task

So, can we use RACI for scrum projects as well?

Yes, I have used RACI for scrum projects with a slight tweak. Instead of the Project Manager role, I have added the Scrum Master role and have added another responsibility called “(F)acilitation”, since Scrum Masters are responsible for facilitation. This customized form of RACI can be used for scrum stakeholders.

If you want to watch a quick video on RACI, please refer to:

If you want a sample RACI based on some tasks, please refer to:

Remember that RACI is a collaborative effort. If the responsibility matrix is created on alignment with the stakeholders, it wins their support and helps us in overcoming the roadblocks during project execution. RACI cannot remove all the project hurdles, but can definitely limit the ones that arise due to stakeholder ownership of tasks.

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