Use A RACI Matrix To Assign Organizational Responsibility

Roy Barker, RACI Matrix, Operational organization, senior living, senior housingWhen you’re a growing organization, there are a lot of moving parts that need to manage. And depending on the complexity of the organization and how many people are involved, managing it can be frustrating.

What often happens in companies is that there is a disconnect between various team members about what they believe their role is. This disconnect can result in confusion, unbalanced workloads among team members, and poor communication.

Before you find yourself in this scenario, it can be helpful to put a Responsibility Assignment Matrix in place, also called a RACI Matrix which stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed. A RACI Matrix can help clarify the roles and responsibilities of everyone in your organization and — most importantly — ensure that every task gets addressed.

What is the RACI Matrix?
The RACI Matrix is a charting tool that describes the different roles and responsibilities of various individuals working to complete a task or project in your organization. For each task, a different level of responsibility is assigned to each person. Let’s look at each of the different levels of accountability, described below:

Responsible (R)
“Responsible” refers to the person who is in charge of actually doing the work. At least one person is necessary to fill this level, but it can be assigned to multiple individuals as well.

Accountable (A)
“Accountable” individuals must ensure the successful completion of tasks; this is usually someone in a management position. They are responsible for signing off on the work that the “responsible” individuals complete. You generally will not have more than one person accountable for a single task.

Consulted (C)
“Consulted” individuals offer insight and guidance on different processes through the organization. They provide oversight, offer their opinions, and help ensure completion all necessary goals.

These are usually subject matter experts or individuals who will be impacted by the outcome of the process. However, you don’t want to have too many consultants involved, or you run the risk of slowing down the process.

Informed (I)
“Informed” individuals don’t support the work or have an active role in completing it. Rather, they are kept up-to-date on the progress and notified upon completion of the work.

How to Chart Your RACI Matrix
Of course, every RACI Matrix you create will vary somewhat depending on the goals you are trying to accomplish. However, here are some general guidelines to keep in mind:

Step 1: Identify the tasks that must be completed
Identify every task that needs to be completed for the project to be successful. It can be helpful to spend some time brainstorming this list with other team members to make sure you thought of everything. When you list each task, try to be as specific as possible and avoid adding generic, unimportant tasks to the matrix.

Step 2: Decide which individuals will be responsible for each task
Now it’s time to decide what individuals will be responsible for each task. You’ll need to determine whether you want to assign tasks to named individuals or if you want to identify them by their role. It can be helpful to use roles instead of names because there will obviously be some degree of turnover in your organization.

Step 3: Put together your matrix
When you put your matrix together, you’ll start by filling in the tasks along the left-hand column and adding the roles across the top column. You’ll assign responsibility for each task by putting in a capital letter underneath each role.

It’s a good idea to start with the “R’s” and “A’s” since these are the people directly responsible for the completion of tasks. You can move on to “C’s” and “I’s” last since they are not directly responsible for the work to be completed.

Step 4: Review the matrix with everyone involved
Now that you have completed your matrix, you will want to review it with all involved parties. Ask for feedback to ensure that you didn’t leave any important steps out. Having your team review the matrix will also ensure that everyone understands theirs and others responsibilities.

A Few Things to Keep in Mind
A RACI Matrix is an easy and effective way to add more accountability to your organization and eliminate confusion. If you’re new to making a RACI Matrix, there are a few “best practices” I would suggest keeping in mind.

First, try to avoid layering on multiple levels of oversight. For instance, don’t assign more than one “A” or “C” to a task as this will likely just slow the entire process down.

Also, at some point, things will change during the life of the organization, so you need to make sure you update the matrix accordingly. And be sure to keep your team informed about any changes made.

Have you ever used a RACI Matrix for your organization? If so, did you find it helpful? Let me know in the comments.