A RACI matrix can be your best ally for making decisions quickly and efficiently during any project. Here are 5 tips for creating your own matrix.
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Project managers are often cautious individuals. But what to do when a project becomes stressful, complicated, and the pressure mounts? You don’t necessarily have time to evaluate all possible scenarios. We must take action quickly. Will a project manager know how to handle this kind of situation?
Yes, if he has prepared a RACI matrix before the start of the project.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term RACI, don’t worry, we’re here to help. However, if you are already familiar with this tool and use it regularly, we advise you to look into mind maps .
In this article, we’ll walk you through the RACI decision-making matrix, along with five tips for creating your own and helping you with project management .
What is a RACI decision-making matrix?
A RACI matrix, model, or framework is a diagram that identifies users’ key roles and responsibilities for major project tasks. A RACI matrix functions as a visual representation of the functional role that each individual plays within a project team. Creating this matrix is a good way to be accompanied through the agreed decision-making process.
Please note: a RACI matrix is not synonymous with a project plan
A RACI matrix does not assign work or determine given deadlines. It cannot be substituted for a project plan. Your project plan defines the scope (a list of deliverables), the time allotted to the project, and how the project will be managed. On the other hand, the RACI matrix is just a diagram showing the type of participation and the roles involved in making decisions for each important task.
What does “RACI” mean?
In English, DACI is the acronym for “Driver, Accountable, Consulted and Informed” or “Responsible, Autorité, Consulté et Informé” or RACI in French. Each letter represents the role and level of involvement of an individual or group associated with each task or milestone. Let’s review the definition of each of them.
The manager manages a specific task and carries out the corresponding work.
The person responsible for the success of the project, in other words, responsible for making decisions. Usually this is the product manager*.
The person(s) to consult if you need additional information. Usually, this is the person or team considered to be an SME or “Subject matter expert”.
The person(s) to keep informed of important updates. Usually the management. We usually communicate by e-mail.
2. Create a matrix for each project
The RACI framework and model can be reused to encourage process standardization across multiple projects, but each project requires its own matrix. Every project is different and varies in complexity. Therefore, the specific matrix and milestones should adapt accordingly.
3. Be consistent
The purpose of a RACI matrix is to define clear levels of participation in making decisions about the project. It is therefore important to be consistent within this framework. For example, the person representing authority for a task or activity must make decisions that are considered final. Under no circumstances should she see her authority or her decision questioned.
Deviating from defined roles will only sow chaos, erode trust between stakeholders and limit the effectiveness of the RACI matrix. Once a project is launched, you must follow the marked route.
4. Track only important milestones
Each row and column of the RACI matrix should contain a decision to be made. Do not add administrative tasks such as meetings. These can be included in the project plan.
5. Respect the definitions
The manager should not also be the authority for the same task. It is very rare that the person performing a task (“responsible”) is also responsible for approving the work or making decisions (“authority”). If this happens, it means the milestone is set too specifically.
Do not do without a RACI matrix
When stakeholders know their role and who to contact if in doubt, you can be sure the project is in good hands.
One more thing: make the matrix available to all team members and relevant stakeholders through a shared location like SharePoint, Google Drive, etc.
If you want to try your hand at this exercise, download the matrix template here for a concrete example of a project in a RACI diagram, or fill in the empty fields with your own data.