The Roles and Responsibilities matrix (also known as RACI matrix) defines the involvement of all those parties—beyond the project’s team members, in the project. Those parties are called “Actors” or “Players” and they are playing a certain role in the project. These roles and their responsibilities needs to be defined so that their involvement in the project is maintained as it should.
The first column of the matrix lists the project’s milestones and deliverables that were already specified in the lifecycle table.
The next columns list all those who must be involved in order to achieve these milestones and deliverables. The process of identifying all involved parties and listing the manner of their involvement guarantees that no important player whose involvement in the project matters will be accidentally left out. The manner in which each player is involved in completing each central deliverable or milestone is recorded within the matrix itself.
The classical RACI matrix defines four codes of involvement:
- R – Responsible
- A – Accountable
- C – Consulted
- I – Informed
We would like to offer a more elaborated version of this matrix that has six codes of involvement:
This is the player that is responsible for things happening whether he actually performs them or uses other parties. He is the one who will be both responsible and accountable for the outcome. For the sake of efficient project management and execution, it is best if only one player holds execution responsibility for any given matrix row.
This is the party responsible for monitoring the execution. There must be at least one such in every row of the table, and it should be someone different from the one responsible for the execution. It is inconceivable that a major deliverable in a project is uncontrolled or that the party responsible for a certain deliverable controls and approves his own work.
This is the party that the person responsible for execution must consult. Of course, the final decision remains in the hand of the person responsible for the execution, but he must fulfill the obligation to consult in a professional manner. The obligation to consult may create a bottleneck in the project and therefore, if this is not necessary, it is better to use the following code and let the person responsible decide if he needs such consultation.
These are parties that the responsible party should consult but it is not required. It is better to keep the list of advisers focused and limited, and to avoid too many opinions.
These are parties that the responsible party must inform. Of course, the obligation to inform does not end with sending an email or other one-way activity, but with conveying the message clearly and confirming its reception and understanding.
This is the party that gives final approval for execution – if required. Many deliverables require formal approval and must be treated in a professional manner and not regarded as a “bureaucratic evils”—meant only to provide formal approval and not truly important.
Any permits, approvals and authorizations needed for the project should be noted explicitly in the work plan in order to facilitate proactive efforts to obtain them and to keep track of their status.
Note that execution responsibility does not necessarily fall on the person actually working on the task but instead refers to the player who is accountable for the deliverable or milestone. It cannot be emphasized enough that the project manager is not responsible for each element directly, even though he is responsible for the project as a whole. A good project manager knows how to make use of the resources at his disposal and delegate authority. The role of the person responsible for task execution is to advance the task towards completion, to remove obstacles standing in its way and to sound a warning if the task is not progressing according to plan. Clearly defined responsibility for the project content and for each deliverable and milestone is critical to the success of the project!
When the project manager is perceived as solely responsible for the project, it is likely that the project will not succeed. The project manager must express—in a clear and unambiguous way—the roles and responsibilities of the parties involved in the project, thereby guiding them to greater accountability.
Point to check in the table:
The matrix should be developed with the parties involved so that everyone understands what is expected of them and is committed to the responsibility placed on them. Proper focus on the deliverables and milestones in the project will ensure that the matrix is both exhaustive and concise and thus, it will serve as a significant tool in the planning, control and communication processes in the project.