Can a RACI model have more than 1 responsible role per task?

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The Bottom Line in RACI Model: Can There Be More Than One Responsible?

 

The short answer is: Yes.

 

You can have multiple roles detailing specific duties and responsibilities that contribute to an overall project result or deliverable. The efficient execution of multiple Responsible roles is the tricky part.

 

There is an old military saying that no plan survives contact with the enemy. The same is true of business plans and task organization matrices like RACI: they look great on paper and sound great in meetings, but you still have to actually make the process, project, or task work. Ideally, everyone performs in their role with an optimum level of dedication, thoroughness, and efficiency. Naturally, people by their very nature are not capable of this level of ideal perfection.

 

Teams are going to drop the ball. Tasks and projects are going to falter. Accountables are going to fumble from time to time when it comes to ensuring standards are upheld. Occasionally, your Consulted roles will provide a non-optimum solution to a problem within your workflow or process. People you thought were going to be a good fit as Responsibles turn out to be a less than optimum choice for being in that role for a specific task. People are going to get in the way of progress as you learn everyone’s strengths and weaknesses and form more cohesive teams and are able to better define and assign roles within your RACI model template.

 

Delegating work and ensuring that all parties involved are accountable can be a daunting task for any organization. It’s not just about making sure that goals are met, either. The completion of meaningful and productive work is essential to any business, so making sure that everything is completed on time by the appropriate party needs to be founded on a system of accountability to ensure that when somebody drops the ball, everyone can compensate to minimize the loss in productivity.

 

Where a lot of businesses hit a snag in workflow management is how to decide who is responsible for picking up the slack when a responsible party does not complete an assigned task on time. One of the most effective ways to accomplish this is to assign more than one responsible party on the workflow chart. In order to determine whether or not you can add more than one responsible party (or if such a process is wise), it is important to understand how a RACI model structure actually works.

 

RACI CHART

An Important Distinction: RACI model Roles vs. People (or Resources)

 

Keep in mind with a RACI process that roles are not the same thing as individually identified people. Roles describe a set of tasks or responsibilities. Take for example, the role of a project manager. Let’s say you have ten people that are qualified and capable of performing the project manager role. Typically, you don’t put ten people in the one role of project manager. Instead, you select one person for that role and an equally qualified candidate may serve in a different role such as a Responsible role or a Consulted role depending on the their expertise and the needs of the specific project. Only a few roles will be restricted to one person or a small group, and others will be informed of their role within a project as part of the RACI identifying process.

 

Here is a potential plan of action for adding a Responsible role to a RACI matrix:

 

  1. Carefully review your personnel and their work experience.
  2. Get feedback from immediate supervisors about past performance.
  3. Have immediate supervisors review responsibilities of potential roles with potential teams.
  4. Have teams provide feedback about understanding and their sense of personal competence in relationship to the roles.
  5. Compare feedback with prior work experience and performance.
  6. Refine and rewrite additional Responsible roles as needed in order to maximize efficiency.
  7. Be sure to have accountables provide regular feedback regarding performance and progress throughout your process in order to reinforce role responsibilities and provide appropriate encouragement or support as needed.

 

Obviously, your final process for defining and assigning Responsible roles within tasks and projects is going to depend on the individual factors and challenges of your business, but the principles remain the same. Make sure that additional Responsible roles are necessary and clearly defined in order to keep things running smoothly. Additionally, make certain to establish strong communication of goals and responsibilities with those in Responsible roles. Communication and comprehension are going to be vital to the success of your people regardless of your process or project.

 

If you adhere to the principles discussed  and maintain that strong communication with those in all Responsible roles, then adding additional Responsible roles should be an effective an easy means of increasing productivity. So hopefully that covered the question many people have (and debate about) RACI model having more than 1 responsible per task, if you’re newer to project management we’ve added a description of a chart within a RACI model template, it’s roles, and how to use one on your project.

 

Defining R.A.C.I.

 

Many companies run workflow on the RACI model template. RACI is an acronym for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed. It is essentially a responsibility assignment matrix that creates a visual or digitally charted description for participation by various members of a workforce when completing tasks, producing deliverables, or working on a project or process for your business. To put it more simply, it is how many businesses keep track of who will do what when, who needs to be kept in the loop about progress, and who needs to sign off on completed work before it is considered complete.

 

Each word in the acronym defines a role within the company for task completion. When a work order is assigned or a task is entered into a RACI workflow, specific roles are assigned to specific people or teams in order to ensure that everyone understands the task, everyone is aware of the tasks objective, and there is oversight at higher levels of management so they know where the individual or team currently stands in terms of progress towards completion. Let’s look at little more closely at how each role impacts the workflow, as well as what each specific role entails.

 

R-Responsible

These roles are composed of your front line people who are actually going to do work towards achieving the goal or task that is set out for them. At least one role in the overall RACI model must be assigned as Responsible, although (in answer to the question in the introduction) you can divvy up the work to more Responsible roles to provide support or assistance along the way.

 

In other words, you have your people who are going to be completing the work that needs to be accomplished to complete a project and those who assist and support them. You may need only one Responsible role, or you may need additional Responsible roles depending on the task.They could be your sales force, a group of manufacturing technicians on a factory floor, warehouse workers, or researchers who are collecting and organizing data for a study. Responsible roles are your grunts, your foot soldiers who will carry out specific orders given to them by those who oversee what they do, which RACI model defines as the Accountable.

 

A-Accountable

To borrow an old saying, “The buck stops here.”

 

In the Accountable role are the persons that bear ultimate responsibility for correctly and thoroughly completing tasks, goals, deliverables, or whatever purpose the RACI model is used for. These are the people that will give final approval of completion for the Responsibles work. There can be only ONE accountable per task or deliverable. Adding more complicates the process and introduces unnecessary rate-limiting to the overall workflow.

 

If accountability is not maintained for work, delays increase, work stoppages occur within existing processes, and service levels and/or quality of deliverables decreases. This is why each specific task can have only one Accountable role, because you need group or team of persons focused specifically on completion of a single task or project. If the Accountable role has too many processes and projects to track, they cannot maintain the essential high standards of quality and service a business must maintain to remain competitive.

 

Consulted (Consultant/Council)

Subject matter experts and specialists make up the Consulted roles of a RACI matrix. They are frequently in a two-way communication relationship with both the Accountable and the Responsible for a project to provide opinions, advice, and guidance that streamlines troubleshooting problems as they occur. There may be multiple specialists in this role who are either on staff or who are contracted from outside the business to assist, but their role functions within RACI model in the same way, regardless of what their area of expertise may be.

 

Informed

This role is made up of the people who will be updated on progress toward completion, and are typically notified via one-way communication when a project or process has been completed. This role is essentially oversight to keep track of what was completed when.

 

Successfully Adding Additional Responsible Roles

How you add Responsible roles is going to depend largely on how well you know your people and what their specific capabilities are before you decide what sorts of description you give to your roles. You may find that certain responsibilities of a role are best handled by a specific group within your organization, or if certain aspects of a task are going to require a specialized group with a specific skillset to complete a portion of the task separately from the rest of a specified Responsible role.

Now that you have an answer to your question (and hopefully more), and are ready to get started then have a look at our RACI Software and see just how easy it is to create RACI charts for your next project.