This blog entry will describe the steps of a workshop that will create a RACI (Responsibiliy – Accountability – Consuled – Informed) matrix for a process flow and analyze it.
The flow will first start with creating the As Is situation, before starting with developing a To Be situation and action plan. This approach will guarantee that you start from the real situation before making the ideal situation.
If you notice that participants are creating flows, roles or RACI matrices “like it’s supposed to be”, address them and remind them of the purpose of this exercise. You cannot solve the problems if you don’t know (or acknowledge) them first.
Explain what RACI stands for
Everybody knows what a responsibility matrix is, but a RACI matrix is not always known. Make sure everyone is on the same page. What does RACI stand for? How do we use it now? What is the difference between Accountable and Responsible?
Expect some discussion about the A(ccountable) and the R(esponsible). When it proves hard to get the principle across, try to use a common practice example where they can relate to.
For example, in an ICT environment, the analyst is responsible for the analysis of a project, but the lead analyst will have the accountability.
Create high level workflow
When you create a high level workflow (eg. with a SIPOC) of the process, it’s easy to start with assigning the RACI.
Use the high level flow to set focus: which parts of the process (eg. website development process) are you looking at? Is it from start to end, from idea phase to delivery or only just the steps where your team gets involved?
Create detailed level workflow
When the focus is set with the high level flow, you can create the detailed level workflow. The high level flow will probably be too high level to assign into tasks and roles. This will not make the RACI assignment and analysis easy.
Collect roles in the process
For each step assign roles (not name) and provide an empty RACI matrix. Do this step before you start with filling in RACI matrices! Otherwise after every new role you find, you will have to update all RACI matrices you filled in earlier to check the applicability of the role there and check the responsibilities again.
Everybody makes a separate proposal
A RACI discussion can take some time. My experience learns me to create a RACI proposal before the RACI matrices are discussed in group. If you host the workshop in one time, you can do this step by giving everybody 15 minutes to make a proposal.
Avoid long groups discussions with this step.
Run over proposals in group
Once everyone has his proposal ready, you can discuss the results in group. There are different possibilities here: you can compose the matrix in group or you can aggregate the results first, mark the differences in the matrix and discuss them in group.
Do a RACI analysis
If you followed the “As Is first, To Be later” approach, it will start to work now: you can use the As Is to find flaws in the system and opportunities to make responsibilities clear. Avoid ambiguous arrangement and go for group consensus.
You can find a detailed description of a RACI analysis here: “RACI is (no longer) carved in stone”.
Implement To Be RACI
When you have the To Be RACI, check which are the next steps. Can you just implement the RACI or is an action plan needed for it.
Communicate and distribute the RACI. Ask for feedback from the people in the process. What changes for them? What stays the same? Does it make sense?
Further, you can check the RACI matrices of the process with the End-to-End (E2E) process responsibles.
Plan a RACI review exercise every year for you key processes to check if the current RACI is still valid. But don’t wait to improve when you stumble upon problems in the mean time!