In most custom software development or digital transformation projects, there will be several levels of stakeholders. This includes everyone from people doing the day-to-day work to senior executives who only need to be kept informed. This latter group are involved much less frequently but still want to feel like they know what’s happening. The RACI matrix can be used to manage communication with all of the stakeholders on a project or initiative.
RACI is a project management term that stands for Responsible-Accountable-Consulted-Informed. The idea behind RACI is that there are people who need to be involved in decision-making processes, but not everyone needs to be involved at the same level. (It can also be called a responsibility assignment matrix, but we like the more memorable RACI acronym.)
In the RACI matrix, the four roles that stakeholders might play in any project include:
- Responsible: These are the people who are responsible for doing the work. They must complete the task/objective or are accountable for making the decision. Note that several people can be jointly Responsible.
- Accountable:This stakeholder is the “owner” of the work. They must sign off on or approve any tasks, objectives, or decisions that are made. In general, successful projects will have only one person in the Accountable box. We want to avoid having “too many chefs in the kitchen.”
- Consulted: These are the people who need to give input before the work can be done or approved. In custom business software, they are often the subject matter experts who will be using the tool. They need to be kept “in the loop” as active project participants.
- Informed:Last but not least are the stakeholders who need to be kept informed. They need updates on progress or decisions, but you don’t need their input.
Using the RACI Matrix
As you are planning important software or technology projects, put your each of your stakeholders into one of the boxes in the RACI matrix. Then, as decisions and major milestones are reached, there’s no question about who needs to be involved in decision-making processes and who needs to be communicated to when decisions are made.
In every statement of work (SOW), we recommend that there’s a communication plan — not only for the client’s stakeholders, but also with key members of the Traust team. That way our management team can keep a pulse on projects, even when they aren’t involved in the daily work. We work with the project manager to make sure we’ve got regular check-ins and know the status of project milestones. And when our consultants are making major project decisions, they know to check with both the client and our internal team. For example, sometimes we need to make a decision that is out-of-scope or could have multiple perspectives on the right path forward. In those instances, the RACI matrix sets forth a clear plan for communicating with the project’s stakeholders.
As business consultants, we’re always thinking about the big picture — not just how to code the software. Need help planning your next big digital transformation or enterprise modernization project? Give us a call today.