In your travels, you may have encountered decision tools out there, such as DACI or ARCI or RASCI that sound similar to our RACI tool. What are their differences and how do they differ from the more common RACI?
ARCI: The ARCI tool is the equivalent of RACI, with the same basic four codes just arranged in a different order. It’s pronounced with a hard “C”—like “arky”—since if you pronounce it with a soft “C” you sound a bit Clockwork Orange and you want to watch out for that.
DACI: The “D” in DACI stands for “Driver” and this role is the equivalent to the “R” in RACI. It means the person who is responsible for a task, project or initiative. Otherwise, the DACI tool is exactly the same as RACI.
RASCI: This variation is in good use. It’s in use in major companies such as eBay today. Here are the RASCI roles:
R – Responsible – Individuals or groups responsible for a task, project or initiative.
A – Authorize – The PMI defines “A” as “Accountable” and people who have the “A” role are in a position of (near) ultimate authority. They are accountable for the quality of the work or the quality of the decisions that get made.
Note that we define the "A" differently than the Project Management Institute, who defines the "A" as Accountable. At RACI Solutions, we believe that all the roles have accountability built into them, and so we define the "A" as Authorize. In our system, the person with the "A" role has the authority to make decisions or exercise a veto. Anyone who can stop a project from moving forward is the "A."
S – Supportive – Individuals that will need to support the task by providing resources towards completion of the task, project or initiative.
C – Consulted – Individuals that need to be consulted because they have data or information that will be useful to complete the task, project or initiative.
I – Informed – Individuals that need to be notified or kept informed of the progress of the task. They are generally informed after a decision has been made and do not participate in the decision or the project.
What’s different about the RASCI model is, of course, the letter “S” designating support players. In the more common RACI tool, this function is described inside the “R” role, where you can use R-Prime (R1) and R-sub prime (R2, R3, etc.) to designate support people.
Calling out the “S” role can be useful when one support function—IT for example—is required to support many product development efforts. This is the case for one of my clients, a rapidly growing web-based business that needs its IT department to provide support for every new product idea that its very creative senior leaders can generate. To get a handle on how tapped out your “S” departments can get, it’s a good idea to do a RASCI chart that details all the projects they are involved in and step back to see if the “S” role is feasible. This is a novel way of using the RASCI/RACI tool—a way to use it to manage a portfolio of projects rather than simply organize a team inside a single project—but it’s another very powerful way to employ the tool.
A fuller explanation of the RASCI tool can be found in an interesting book, The Art of Scalability by Marty Abbott and Michael Fisher, both former eBay executives who describe how product development teams use it to stay on top of things. There is a nice review of this book by Gopal Shenoy found here.
The book is great and has its own website too.
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