Here’s how to create a Gantt chart or basic timeline when your discussion or meeting deliverable includes assignments for actions that have already been built or identified. As a result of capturing the additional inputs below, you develop consensual understanding about your group’s roles and responsibilities (RACI or RASI).

(1) WHO will take responsibility for

(2) WHAT needs to be done (ranging from simple activities to comprehensive strategies) and

(3) WHEN the assignment(s) may be completed, given resources such as

(4) HOW MUCH extra money (approximate cash or assets) required and

(5) HOW MUCH estimated labor (FTE, or full-time equivalent) required to complete the assignment.

 

RASI GANTT

RACI or RASI – Roles and Responsibilities

Method for Building Roles and Responsibilities (RACI or RASI)

Your WHAT group of actions or assignments may take the form of strategies, initiatives, programs, projects, activities, or tasks. They should already be identified before beginning your RACI or RASI assignments.  Furthermore, as you increase the resolution from the abstract (eg, strategy) to the concrete (eg, task), expect to increase the resolution of the role or title of the responsible party. For example, strategies may get assigned to business units while tasks get assigned to individual roles such as Business Analyst or Product Owner.

Remember that the WHO dimension might include business units, departments, roles, or people but be consistent across the board and match closely to the appropriate level of responsibility for the nature of WHAT needs to be done. Define each of the five areas of responsibility—note that each implies the others that follow.  For example, the Authorizer is also Responsible.  They are Supporting the effort and need to be informed about it as well.

  • A = Authorizes—approves or signs off on the method or results of a given task
  • R = Responsible—is held responsible for the success and completion of a given task
  • S = Supports—provides assistance, information, etc, in the completion of a task—if requested
  • C = Consults—provides consultation as required
  • I = Informed—is kept informed of the progress or results of a given task.

Rules to Follow

Especially relevant, note that C, or Consults has been de-emphasized with a blue font because “consults” can be a nebulous term. Our advice suggests substituting the S because it implies both Supporting and Informing.

Consider building the matrix using a large sheet of paper. Use a bright color marker to document the R. Go back and complete the other relationships as appropriate.

  • Portrait view—when using an easel or flip chart, write the people involved (units, job names, etc.) across the top (the WHO) and the tasks, jobs, projects, etc, down the left-hand side (the WHAT).
  • Landscape view—build a matrix on a whiteboard or other large writing area with the tasks, jobs, projects, etc. (the WHAT) across the top and the people involved (units, job names, etc.) down the left-hand side (the WHO).
  • One and only one R per row (ie, for each activity)
  • At least one A who is not the R—may be more than one
  • I when this role requires only to be informed
  • S for those supporting the R

NOTE:

  • A implies R, S, I
  • R implies S, I
  • S implies I

Because this approach develops a Gantt chart, you also build consensual understanding and shared ownership.  Furthermore, a facilitated effort captures the group’s personality, not a lone myopic view from one person’s office or cubicle. An illustrative Gantt chart follows, displaying activities and assignments supporting a Scorecard project:

Illustrative GANTT Chart

Illustrative GANTT Chart

Roles and Responsibilities (RACI or RASI) Capture WHO Does WHAT By WHEN

We have discovered at least seventeen (17) different flavors of the Responsibility Matrix. While methodologically agnostic, we support any that work effectively in your culture. However, be careful with the “C” as in ‘consult’ because one can never be certain if an assigned “C” is giving you something or you are supposed to give them something. Below you will find 17 documented types of roles and responsibilities, and undoubtedly there are many others:

  1. RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consult, Informed)
  2. RACIA (Approve)
  3. RASI (Supports)
  4. RASCI
  5. PARIS
  6. ALRIC
  7. RASCIO (Omitted)
  8. LACTI (Lead, Tasked)
  9. AERI (Endorsement)
  10. ARCI 
  11. RACI-V
  12. CAIRO
  13. DRACI (Drives)
  14. DACI
  15. DRAM  (Deliverables Review and Approval Matrix)
  16. RACIT
  17. RASIC

______

Finally, MG RUSH professional facilitation curriculum focuses on providing methodology. Each student thoroughly practices methodology and tools before class concludes. Some call this immersion. We call it the road to building impactful facilitation skills.

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Facilitation Expert

Terrence Metz, CSM, PSPO, CSPF, is the Managing Director of MG RUSH Facilitation Training and Coaching, the acknowledged leader in structured facilitation training. His FAST Monthly Facilitation blog features over 300 articles on facilitation skills and tools aimed at helping others lead faster, more productive meetings and workshops that yield higher quality decisions. His clients include Agilists, Scrum teams, program and project managers, senior officers, and the business analyst community among numerous private and public companies and global corporations. As an undergraduate of Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and MBA graduate from NWU’s Kellogg School of Management, his professional experience has focused on process improvement and product development. He continually aspires to make it easier for others to succeed.

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3 Comments

  1. This article makes some great suggestions, but I’d like to see how forming the RACI matrix yields the promised information in more detail than “this approach develops a GANTT chart.” Did something get left out in the editing?

    Product breakdown leads to work breakdown. Work breakdown leads to task definitions that (a) RACI assignments are based on, and independently, (b) are expressed as either a network diagram or a preliminary, non-time-scaled Gantt chart. Assignees then provide estimates that add to the time-scaled feature of the Gantt chart. In other words tasks are defined before the RACI chart, and time estimates are added after the RACI assignments have been made, whereas the text implies that the RACI matrix is used for defining the tasks.

    I can imagine a procedure in which you use the header or left column for listing the tasks as one step, then adding the RACI assignments in the next step. Rows or columns could be added to record added information such as dependencies and time estimates. In fact, MS Project allows adding a very large number of columns to contain a variety of information. If that’s what you have in mind, some more explanation is needed. Unless the explanation is there and I missed it.

    • In fact Mr. Wheeler, you are right on. Perhaps poorly written, RACI does not begin until the tasks or actions have already been identified. Once completed, the RACI can begin. In or experience, the best tie to ask for the additional information is during the discussion about the Big Red “R” and not hours later. Once as the source of responsibility, they can offer up an estimate (with a large range of freedom if required) about attributes such as estimated completion, estimated financial and labor resources required, etc. We’ll take a closer look at the article and strive to clarify that building a RACI cannot begin until the actions have been identified.

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