Using RACI to Drive Change

5. Agree to a common language, roles, and responsibilities as a group. One person’s understanding of what a role is supposed to do may be different than another. Ensure all participants understand the roles listed in the RACI by facilitating a session where the role owner describes his role. Similarly, use a group setting to clarify the language and avoid common communication pitfalls such as acronyms, abbreviations, or consultant-speak. Each process line should begin with a verb in the active voice.

6. Discuss gaps and brainstorm what’s missing as a group. While identifying gaps can be done in the individual interviews, it is beneficial to discuss them in a group setting to understand the root cause of the gap. Perhaps it is a broken link in a communication chain (e.g., a missing C or I) or it could be that everyone is responsible but no one is accountable. Brainstorming and discussing gaps as a group helps to prevent territoriality. Agreeing what should be in the RACI helps everyone focused on the end-state in lieu of looking in the rear view mirror at how “things have always been”.

7. Agree to the level of detail for roles. In an effort to ensure all responsibilities are covered, ensure that the level of detail is the same across the different roles. For example roles should be operating at a peer level or share a common manager to ensure that the level of work or responsibilities are at the same level of detail. This is especially critical when developing a RACI to validate a transformation as it provides input to resource requirements and related efforts.

8. Plan the implementation as a team to ensure buy-in and a common understanding of the tasks. Prevent your RACI from collecting dust on the virtual shelf by putting it into action. Reading a process across should detail the role responsible for performing the activity, where an exchange of information happens, who is informed, and the role accountable for completion. An assessment of the end-state RACI may provide a very different view from the way processes are undertaken today. A useful exercise to conduct is to have the group articulate the actions that each group needs to Stop, Start, and Continue to ensure continuity of process and action the new RACI.

9. Communicate any changes to roles, responsibilities or process steps to anyone that the RACI touches. Any significant change to roles and responsibilities should be communicated to key stakeholders to avoid any disruption to service levels.

10. Don’t treat the RACI as static. Assign someone to keep it updated. The RACI, like any other document created at a point in time, reflects the processes that are in place at that time. Therefore, the model should be revisited on a regular basis as agreed by the team to ensure any change of process is captured accurately.

The process of developing the RACI can provide increased visibility into which processes are adequately being covered by the organization and a gap analysis on which processes are not residing in the proper functional area. The end-state RACI ensures ownership of all responsibilities and key processes within the organization, strengthening the organization’s ability to respond to its customers.

Christa Hoffmeier is a managing consultant in PA Consulting Group’s IT Consulting practice. Christa has 16 years’ consulting experience in leading complex technology and process reengineering initiatives for a range of industries, including financial services, manufacturing, and retail.

Precillia Redmond is a consultant in PA Consulting Group’s IT Consulting practice. She has seven years of experience in organizational strategy and human resources, project management, and business process redesign.