For teams to work well collaboratively, every member must be crystal clear on roles and responsibilities. The RASCI matrix (pronounced ‘racey’) is a simple ‘quick view’ tool that defines who’s involved at what stage and in what capacity. In this way, it helps managers keep everyone on the same page.
RASCI stands for Responsible, Accountable, Supported, Consulted, Informed. It’s an incredibly straightforward and useful model that managers can implement on joining an existing team or starting up an entirely new project. With a RASCI matrix in place, there’s far less room for ambiguity or details slipping through the cracks. Let’s explore how it works. You can also hear us talk about it on our podcast here.
The first step is to determine the tasks, decisions or activities that make up the project or process. List them down the left-hand side of the chart. It helps if you focus on the functions, then break them down into tasks. Try asking every person in the team, ‘What are the top five tasks that take up 80% of your work?’ This can create some great discussion.
The second step is to list your team members (and/or their roles) along the top of the chart. Now each column is headed with someone’s name (and/or role).
Once you’ve identified all tasks and roles, you can start allocating them. This third step is where the RASCI model comes into its own. When filling up the grid, label the intersection between tasks and roles with an R, A, S, C, or I to show who is Responsible, Accountable, Supportive, Consulted or Informed.
Try setting up your RASCI model during a team meeting. You can identify what the key tasks are as a team, then during the next meeting, you can populate it through discussion and agreement before your project begins.
For each task in the left-hand column, ask the question, ‘Who is the doer (performer) of this task?’ There may be two people responsible for a task, and this can be easily notated. During the process of allocation, you might realise that in fact, there are two tasks involved. In this case, simply break it up and assign it a new row in the matrix.
Here we ask, ‘Who has the authority? Who approves the sign off before it the work comes into effect?’ This is usually the manager or project sponsor (and the person to whom ‘R’ is accountable). Ideally there should only ever be one person accountable for the task.
This is the person who provides resources to the team or team member. It could be a project sponsor, a mentor, someone providing data or help in a support role. The more information you can add to the matrix the better, so annotate for clarification as you go.
This person provides information or expertise. It might be a subject matter expert, someone in finance or data analytics – someone who provides you with valuable specialised advice.
‘Who needs to be notified of the results or perhaps the project?’ This could be a key stakeholder who doesn’t need to be consulted or referred to for approval, but must be kept in the loop in terms of information and updates.
Tip: All activities needs someone accountable and someone responsible. Try to limit the number of people responsible in a single row to one. (If there’s more than one person in this column, there’s potential for duplication of work.)
Tip: A responsibility person and an accountability person must be assigned to every row.
Examples where implementation of the RASCI matrix can be especially useful include:
Building and working with a team requires absolute clarity when it comes to activities, responsibility and accountability. By helping teams gets clear on the who, what and when of every task, the RASCI model promotes a streamlined workflow that guides project success. We invite you to download our RASCI template, try it out on a project and please - let us know how you go.
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