How can we use the RACI approach to balance the workload in an organisation?
The RACI approach is a methodology used in organisational management that enables a quick and clear view of the workload and responsibilities for each key function in the organisation.
DEFINITION OF THE RACI ACRONYM:
- R for Responsible: The person responsible for a task is the one in charge to make sure that the task is really achieved. This is not necessarily the person implementing the action, although sometimes one person can fill these two roles.
- A for Accountable: The person who is accountable for the completion of the task. There can of course be several A’s for each task, according to its size. All A’s work under the coordination and supervision of the Responsible person.
- C for Consulted: These are resource people who could hold useful or necessary information for the completion of the task. It is thus important that those in charge of implementing the task (the A’s) consult these people and integrate if necessary their recommendations.
- I for Informed: These people need to be informed of the advancement in the completion of the task, as it is important for their responsibilities.
Here is how to implement the RACI methodology in an organisation:
- Make a list of all key functions in the organisation, and display them horizontally in a table. Be careful, we are talking about functions and not people. One person can hold several functions.
- Make a list of all tasks, and include them in the first column. It is important to define this list out of your action plan, or of the strategy implementation plan.
According to the size of your organisation, you then need to decide who will be in charge of filling the RACI matrix. Ideally, this should be a participative exercise, including all team members. But for teams made of more than 10 or 15 staff members, this might get difficult and you will need to find a more efficient system, making sure that everyone has the opportunity to comment the matrix.
Here are some simple principles to complete the matrix:
- There must be at least one « Accountable » person per task: If not, no one will be concretely in charge of implementing the task.
- There can only be one responsible person for each task: This is to make sure that responsibilities are not diluted and to keep them clear.
- Resolving doubts and conflicts: In case of doubt regarding roles for a task, the situation must be resolved by a team discussion, through a critical analysis of the way the organisation functions. It is important to resolve doubts at this stage as it has an impact on the way the organisation will function later on.
Once the matrix has been completed with a participative approach, the last step, which is fundamental, is the analysis. For this, you need to look at the matrix line by line (i.e. task by task) and column by column (or by function), and ask the following questions:
Analysis by task:
- No « A »: Who will get the work done?
- Too many « A’s »: Are there not too many people involved in this task, making its implementation too complicated?
- No « R »: Who will make sure the task is implemented?
- More than one « R »: Which one will make a decision? Make sure there is only one R by line.
- All cells are filled: Does each employee need to have a particular role in each task? Probably not. It is important to rationalize the workload.
- Lots of « C’s »: If for each task, many different people need to be consulted and an answer needs to be waited for, the process will obviously be delayed.
Analysis by function:
- Too many « A’s » for a function: This might mean that the workload for this function is too large. It might be useful to check the repartition of « A’s » and to better divide tasks amongst the functions.
- No empty cell: Does this person need to be involved in each task? This might mean that the organisation needs to review the repartition of tasks, as the organisation depends too much on this particular function.
The RACI methodology is a simple and quick tool to analyse how an organisation works. For more information concerning this tool and its implementation, please do not hesitate to contact the Well Grounded team.
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