A RACI matrix is a very important tool that can help in the implementation and correct functioning of a process. The RACI matrix is mostly used to align the human elements in the process. Usually there are many different people involved in any process and they have differing responsibilities. A RACI matrix makes an explicit documentation of this and keeps as a ready reference to be used at different stages in the process. Here is how the RACI matrix can be utilized.
Responsible: This is the class of people who are ultimately responsible for getting the work done. This may refer to the individual workers that perform the given task or it could refer to the system in case the task is automated.
Accountable: This is the class of people that are accountable to oversee that the work gets done. This usually means the immediate manager overseeing the work.
Consulted: These may be subject matter exerts who need to be consulted at the time of an exception. There is a possibility that am unanticipated scenario arises in a process. These are the people who will do the thinking and suggest any deviations from the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).
Informed: This is the class of people who have some interest in the performance of a given task. This may be a manager trying to control the execution of the task at hand. Also this could be an input signal to the other process.
Rules for using RACI Matrix
Only One Responsible and Accountable Person: It is essential that only person be assigned the R/A roles. Having more than one person responsible for the same task increases ambiguity and the chances of the work not being performed. It could also lead to duplication of work and wastage of efforts and costs.
Having more than one accountable person means again leads to the same problem. However, having only person accountable also leads to a problem. If the assigned person is incompetent the whole process may go for a toss. It is for this reason that there is often a hierarch of accountable people in place.
Responsible-Accountable Is Mandatory: The consult or inform roles are not mandatory for every activity. It is possible that some activities may not require them at all. But the responsible accountable roles must be assigned. Even if the system is performing the tasks automatically, someone must be made accountable to see that it does get done.
Communication with the Consultant: There must be a two way channel of communication with the consultant. This communication is itself a task and must be explicitly listed having its own responsible accountable persons. The important aspect is that the communication be two-way. Hence one has to ensure that adequate follow up is done and minimum time lag is required to complete this communication.
Inform the Required Stakeholders: This is a one way channel of communication. It is usually meant to be a signal for some other process to begin or as a control metric to ensure smooth functioning of the same process. Usually this is automated but needs accountability like other automated tasks.