Thursday, 5 April 2012

RACI Matrix benefits revisited

The RACI Matrix is the tool you can use to map the stakeholders in your projects to recognise their needs for communication and decision-making against the listing of tasks that the project has to address. We covered it in our book Chapter 4, Stakeholders and their influence.

Remember what this acronym stands for? Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed. There has always been some confusion about the difference between Responsible and Accountable but this should now become easier if you apply the adage the buck stops here to Accountable. Responsible means the doer, the person or people who carry out the task. So the ranking RACI is not hierarchical as the person accountable often lies higher up the management chain.

Why use RACI? It is a well recognised tool in general project management processes now and it will help your professionalism as well as your credibility if your clients already employ the tool in their own companies. But beyond that, it has many tangible benefits for iMedia project management.
  • You can use it to assess the workload needed in your own team and across the client's involvement.
  • It will help you identify if you have enough manpower for each task and whether the client has recognised who and when should be involved for their side of the project to run smoothly and successfully. There’s nothing worse than hanging around waiting for input from the client, is there?
  • Then, although we don’t like admitting it, both ourselves and the client have staff turnover. So if and when this happens, you can quickly establish the roles and responsibilities of new staff in your project if they are taking over from someone you have identified in the RACI process.
  • Work assignment can get knocked sideways in iMedia for many reasons. But if you have the RACI matrix for your project handy, all can see when and how many staff had been allocated to the project so it becomes harder for others to influence work reassignment even if they are senior in the organisation. Note we don’t say it guarantees this won’t happen, but it does make it harder!
  • One of the good points from a RACI Matrix is that it shows exactly what and where your responsibilities are for the project and what and where line managers have the responsibility. They find it harder to wriggle out of their responsibility when it has been documented. This touches on another benefit from a RACI Matrix, conflict resolution.
  • Yes, when it is clear who is responsible and accountable for each stage, quite a few of those stressful internal political wranglings might go away too.
Many are convinced that the RACI Matrix is a change management tool for an organisation and it can certainly have that sort of impact. After all, understanding roles and responsibilities, whether they change over time and their need to be reassessed, is change management. For more along these lines see: Change Management Consultant, and Bruce McGraw, The New Face of Strategic Planning : Bridging it with Project Management is the Key to Success (March 2009), where he advocates strategic management combining the skills of strategic planning with the more coal-face, task-oriented project management.

Finally, it is important to review your projects and pass on any lessons learnt - and this should include any lessons you learn from implementing a RACI Matrix. Could it have been better? How? What other benefits could it have? If it was successful you need to pass that information on too indicating the benefits it brought. The Tips for Capturing Lessons Learnt best practice template, should prove useful for you generally.

1 comment:

  1. PMIS is the IT system used throughout the project which includes the configuration management system. So, the configuration management system is a subsystem of the overall project management information system and it provides a standardized, effective, and efficient way to centrally manage approved changes and baselines within the project.