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 from your group’s roles and responsibility matrix (RACI or RASI or LACTI).
(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 (FTP, or full-time person) required to complete the assignment.
Method for Building Roles and Responsibility Matrix (RACI or RASI or LACTI)[*]
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 and match closely to the appropriate level of responsibility for 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. Hence, 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.
- L = Lead (a surrogate or substitute for R)
Rules to Follow When Building a Roles and Responsibility Matrix
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 Being Informed.
Consider building the matrix using a large sheet of paper. Use a bright color marker, red is optimal, 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
- A implies R, S, I
- R implies S, I
- S implies I
Because this approach develops input for 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. A generic and illustrative Gantt chart follows, displaying activities and assignments supporting a faux product development project:
We have discovered at least twenty (20) different varieties of the Responsibility Matrix. While methodologically agnostic, we support any method your culture uses. 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 20 documented types of roles and responsibilities, and undoubtedly there are others:
- RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consult, Informed)
- RACIA (Approve)
- RASI (Supports)
- RASCIO (Omitted)
- LACTI (Lead, Tasked)
- AERI (Endorsement)
- DRACI (Drives)
- DRAM (Deliverables Review and Approval Matrix)
- RACI+F, where F stands for Facilitator
- CARS (Communicate, Approve, Responsible & Support)
- PACSI (Performed, Accountable, Control, Suggested & Informed)
[*] Moreover, for a thorough primer and clear discussion on RACI, see “RACI Matrix: How does it help Project Managers?”
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