Last week I was working with a group of leaders at one of my client’s office. I was facilitating module seven of my Mastering Leadership Program called Prioritize and Delegate. While talking about identifying our priorities Juan, a senior project manager, started shaking his head. I could tell by his body language that he was really stuck. “What’s wrong Juan?” I asked. He responded by saying, “I work on so many projects and spend so much time in meetings. I am often unclear as to what my priorities are and what my role is for many of these projects.”
Many of Juan’s colleagues in the session nodded their heads in agreement. They too suffer from a chronic workplace issue I call “so-many-meetings-so-little-time”. Don’t you agree that meetings, if not managed, can be a huge time waster?
Then Tammy, one of the other participants, said, “I have just the tool for you Juan.”
I invited Tammy up to the front of the room and she wrote the following on the flip chart:
R – Responsible
- Who is assigned to work on this task?
A – Accountable
- Who has the authority to make decisions?
- Who can tell me more about this task?
I – Informed
- Who needs to be kept updated about the progress?
Tammy explained that RACI is a very powerful tool that is implemented across her department. They use the tool to get clear on project ownership, roles, responsibilities and tasks. By using RACI, Tammy also gains clarity on which meetings she can skip and which meetings she must attend. For example, if Tammy is a “R” or “A” on a particular project, she will definitely accept meeting invitations for that project. If Tammy is a “C” or “I” she will sometimes decline the meeting request and ask for the meeting minutes to be kept in the loop.
What I love about RACI is that is it so simple yet so powerful. It facilitates the conversation about roles, responsibilities and accountabilities that people so rarely have at work these days.
How can you apply RACI? It is a very easy process to implement. All you need to do is grab a piece of paper or an excel spreadsheet and follow these three steps:
- List all of the project tasks on the left side of the paper
- List the key stakeholders (either names or roles) across the top of paper
- At the intersection, responsibilities are agreed to and assigned. The choices are Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed (RACI)
When assigning tasks, make sure that each task only has one “accountable” role. This is the person who is ultimately accountable for the project deliverables. If you have multiple “accountables”, the task has not been articulated at a high enough level.
I love it when my clients teach me new tools, new strategies, or even share books with me. I just couldn’t wait to share this one with you! Try RACI in the New Year as you launch your new projects for 2017. Use RACI to review some older projects that you will continue working on in January. This tool is simple, clear and extremely powerful. Try it. Share it. Implement it.