RACI for organisational management

I’m a massive fan of the RACI model, which is a method of assigning accountability most famously used by Google.

RACI stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed, and the basic premise is that each task or initiative should be assigned individuals to sit under each of the 4 ‘roles’. Most useful of these, I find are the Responsible and Accountable positions – Responsible pertaining to the individual or individuals whose role is to do the work and execute or action the initiative, Accountable is the single individual (who could also be one of the Responsible individuals) who is held to account on the progress, quality and timely delivery of the initiative, i find the accountable role the most important to assign, track and align on, and this alone helps solve the majority of friction related issues an organisation encounters operationally.

Where RACI becomes really effective at scale, however is when you aggregate the data at an HR/OPs level for analysis, in the diagram above you see a sample matrix of 4 positions and the initiatives segmented by the role each position takes. in the last column you also see the sum-total of all initiatives (excluding initiatives where the role is ‘informed)

You can already see there are some interesting insights that we can use for staff evaluation and further research to optimise the business.

You see in the first row the CEO with 3 responsible and 5 accountable initiatives and only 1 consulted initiative, giving a total of 9 initiatives, so this would be the profile of a CEO who’s very hands on, and on the surface appears to be struggling to delegate initiatives. Generally we would expect a CEO to have much more consulted tasks, and far fewer responsible task.

For the Director row, we see lots of responsible, but no Accountable tasks, so this reflects a director who is very hands on but not really living up to their role of being accountable for the results.

Next, we see a junior position who seems to be doing a lot, but upon closer inspection is consulted a lot, this begs the question, why would a junior be consulted so often? also the only task not consult the junior is accountable for, but not responsible for… which is unusual for someone at the beginning of their career, how can we hold someone with limited experience accountable for initiatives?

So, as you can see from this very simple analysis we can quickly get a feel for if the right people are working on the right things, and really fitting the roles they have been assigned. using the RACI model in this way allows use to quickly and efficiently surface discrepancies, allowing us to better align and ensure that we can really hold each individual in the organisation accountable to their work.

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