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How to do a #RACI Workshop – Charting and Analysis


The RACI Workshop is an event where an organization works together to solve conflicts and uncertainties in their organisation. RACI is an acronym that stands for: Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed. A RACI chart is a matrix of all the activities or decision making authorities in an organisation mapped against all the people or roles. At each intersection of activity and role assign somebody: Responsible, Accountable, Consulted or Informed for that activity or decision.

  • When you hear these types of comments in an organisation do a RACI Analysis:
  • ‘My boss always overrules my decisions whenever she wants’
  • ‘The approval process for even the simplest item takes so long today
  • ‘It seems everyone is putting together a spreadsheet on the same data’
  • ‘Things are always slipping through the cracks’
  • ‘I have the responsibility but I do not have the authority, to get the job done’

Definitions of the RACI categories: –

  • Responsible: person who performs an activity or does the work,
  • Accountable: person who is ultimately accountable and has Yes/No/Veto,
  • Consulted: person that needs to feedback and contribute to the activity,
  • Informed: person that needs to know of the decision or action.

A RACI workshop is useful for:

  • Workload Analysis – use with individuals or departments where overloads can be quickly identified,
  • Re-Organisation – to ensure that key functions and processes are not over looked,
  • Employee Turnover – newcomers can quickly identify their roles and responsibilities,
  • Work Assignment – allows duties to be redistributed effectively between groups and individuals,
  • Project Management – allows for flexibility in matrix management situations allowing for the right balance between line and project accountabilities,
  • Conflict Resolution provides a forum for discussion and resolving interdepartmental conflict,
  • Documenting the status quo – the output from RACI is a simple yet effective method of documenting the roles and responsibilities in an organisation.

How a RACI workshop is done:

  • By Identifying the functions and processes within the organisation during the RACI Workshop and then describing the key activities taking place. Avoid obvious or generic activities such as; attending meetings.
  • By Describing each activity or decision by using a suitable action verb. Examples: Evaluate, Record, Monitor, Collect, Develop, Publish, Authorize, Schedule, Determine, Prepare, Approve, Inspect, Report, Decide, Write, Operate, Update, Conduct, Train, Review or Plan.
  • When the action implies a judgment or decision (for example, evaluate, monitor, inspect, and review) create a phrase to indicate the primary outcome. For Example: Monitor service desk customer requests to identify training needs. Then ‘analyze the call statistics to identify product problems’.
  • The activities or decisions carried out should be short and to the point. And apply to a role or need, not to the specific person currently carrying out the task.
  • Create a Matrix with roles along the top and activities or tasks down the left side and in each of the table cells enter the appropriate RACI code.

When the analysis is done and the RACI workshop matrix is populated, any ambiguities need to be resolved. The Matrix is reviewed during the RACI workshop and questions are asked, exploring the data pattern and what it is telling us. The way to do this is to proceed along the vertical and then the horizontal axes in turn and for each column or row asking: If I find … then what does this mean?

Vertical Analysis

  • Lots of R’s: Is it possible for the individual(s) stay on top of so much or can the activity be broken into smaller, more manageable chunks?
  • No empty spaces: Does the individual(s) need to be involved in so many activities? Are they a ‘gatekeeper’ or could management by exception principles be used? Can (C)onsulted be reduced to (I)nformed. Can things be left to the individual’s discretion when something needs particular attention?
  • No R’s or A’s: Should this functional role be eliminated or have processes changed to an extent where resources could be reassigned?
  • Too many A’s: Does a proper ‘segregation of duties’ exists? Should other groups be accountable for some of these activities to ensure checks and balances and accurate decision making throughout the process? Is this a ‘bottleneck’ in the process where everyone waiting for decisions or direction?
  • Qualifications: Does the level of the person fit the requirement of this role? Are the senior management involved for routine decision making that could be deployed downwards?

Horizontal Analysis Using the RACI chart

  • No R’s: Who is doing the job and getting things done? Are there too many roles waiting to be approved, be consulted or informed. Whose role is it to take the initiative?
  • Too many R’s: Is this a sign of ‘over the wall’ activities?
  • No A’s: Why not? There must be an ‘A.’ someone must be accountable for the thing happening and the buck stops with this person.
  • Too many A’s: Is there confusion with too many fingers in the pie that creates confusion because every person with accountability feels they have final say.
  • Too few A’s and R’s: The process may slow down while the activity is performed or the procedure may be outdated and can be streamlined if not needed.
  • Every box filled in: Do we need all the functional roles really need to be consulted? Are there justifiable benefits in consulting all the roles or is this just covering all the bases?
  • Lots of C’s: Do all the roles need to be routinely informed or only in exceptional circumstances. Too many in the loop will slow the process down.
  • Lots of I’s: If there are too many people involved. Usually too many C’s and I’s can dramatically slow things down as well.

Change Management Issues

Developing RACI charts surfaces many organizational issues because it reconciles the three elements of roles and responsibilities:

  • Conception: what people think their jobs are,
  • Expectation: what your colleagues in the organization think the person’s job function is and how it should be carried out and,
  • Behaviour: what people actually do in carrying out their job?

The RACI Workshop is a useful tool but can become overused and be a catch-all for all types of problems. You must be sensible about the level of granularity. However keep it to a deep enough that it is meaningful and to a level of that is sensible. The person responsible for making the coffee is not required! It is also important to stay focused on the original reason for undertaking the RACI workshop and ensure that this goal is achieved. Rather than creating a perfect RACI covering the organisation in exquisite detail be realistic and understand that 80% of the reality of a situation will be more than the organisation ever knew before the exercise was started.

See more posts like this in my Resources Section:

I have created a PowerPoint slide set for you to use as a workshop set-up guide

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