by Michael Holland    

Build consistency in your leadership and delegation of tasks and projects by clearly differentiating the roles people should play.  It’s important to clarify that roles are not people. Leaders must distinguish, clearly articulate and consistently visualize the differences between the roles that exist and the people who fulfill those roles.

One great tool to help identify and communicate roles and responsibilities is a project management approach code named RACI.  RACI is a responsibility matrix and stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed.  Below are descriptions for each role, copied directly from Wikipedia.

  • Responsible – Those who do the work to achieve the task.  There is typically one role with a participation type of Responsible, although others can be delegated to assist in the work required.
  • Accountable (also Approver or final Approving Authority) – The one ultimately answerable for the correct and thorough completion of the deliverable or task, and the one from who Responsible is delegated the work.  In other words, an Accountable must sign off (Approve) on work that Responsible provides. There must be only one Accountable specified for each task or deliverable.
  • Consulted (sometimes Counsel) – Those whose opinions are sought, typically subject matter experts; and with whom there is two-way communication.
  • Informed – Those who are kept up-to-date on progress, often only on completion of the task or deliverable; and with whom there is just one-way communication.

Coaching Thoughts – For You and Your Peers

  • Grab a blank piece of paper (or open Excel or Word) and create a table.  Across the top, write the names of the people who are part of the project.  Down the left side of the table, write the tasks or activities.  Next, assign the roles using the RACI indicators for each task/activity by person.  Think hard on the delineation of the roles and even more deeply on how well you’ve communicated those delineations among the folks who fulfill the roles.
  • Need to see an example? Click here to see a sample RACI matrix should you need or like to see a visual sample.