How to manage responsibilities, expectations and roles with RACI

In each project or change program engaging your stakeholders is key to success. First you need to identify them. Next you need to analyze their needs and think of ways to manage them

You need to be explicit about the role a stakeholder has and what you expect of them. This way people will keep supporting your efforts, feel invested in it and will seek your support if necessary. This way overlapping initiatives can be avoided. 

One tool to help you with this is the RACI model. RACI stands for:

  • R- Responsible: The person who makes sure targets are being met and the appropriate actions are taken to meet the goals of a project. There can be more than one R, but it is advisable to keep R down to an absolute minimum.
  • A - Accountable: The person with the power and competence to approve budget, results, start and stop a project. There can be only one person who is accountable. They can delegate certain responsibilities to the R, but they themselves are still responsible for the endresult.
  • C - Consulted: This is someone who thinks and works along with you on the project. You inform them and work with them. They give you their opinion and work with you. There is usually more than one C. But you do not want to have more C's than absolutely necessary.
  • I - Informed: This communication is one sided. You inform people who need to know of your project. But they do not need to think or work along with your project. You will want to keep I down to an absolute minimum. You will want to inform people whose not knowing may hurt the organization or your project. 
The raci model

How to use the RACI model?

When you have all your stakeholders in a list you start to make a matrix with a name of a stakeholder on each row. Next you assign each column a letter from RACI and start to put in an X on the row and column where a stakeholder matches the RACI model. 

Once your have a matrix with your stakeholders and the RACI model you can than match your expectations with those of your stakeholders. Be careful when people who you think are an I want to be a C, or people who are an R behave like an A. You need to be clear about responsibilities and roles to be successful. 

Variations

There are some variations available yo the RACI model like:

  • RASCI: Where RACI is the same, but an S is added. S stands for Supportive. This person is close to the C in role and responsibilities, but may have less of a say in the project than the C. They help your project succeed and are necessary for your project. 
  • CAIRO: CAIR is the same as RACI, but an O is added. The O stands for 'out of the loop'. This is someone you fo not need to keep informed or engaged. 

I personally struggle a bit with the difference between the C and the S, so i usually use RACI. I have also seen little purpose in the O from CAIRO. People tend to feel excluded when they find out that they are seen as 'out of the loop'. 

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