Understanding the RACI language is simple. (See “Defining the RACI codes” if you need a brush up.) Most people, reading a white paper on the web, can “get” the tool.
In spite of its simplicity, there is a real art and skill to using the RACI tool. Sometimes all a person needs to get started successfully is some practice with a good training exercise. Here are some tips for conducting a good RACI Training exercise or two.
In the RACI Training program, we always start with a personal exercise of some kind, like “Doing the Laundry” or “Making Dinner.” Many clients like to choose a simple, personal exercise that relates directly to their primary line of business, like “Adopting a family pet” or “Planning a family vacation.”
Working on something simple like “making dinner” will give people a chance to experience the first step of using RACI, which is figuring out what the project steps are. Do we include “planning the menu” and “buying groceries” as part of this example? Or should we just jump right in with “Pre-heating the oven”? Working in pairs makes this exercise fun and helps people learn that applying the RACI tool is often a collaborative exercise.
Once people have spent about 10 minutes developing this simple RACI matrix, have a few people share their results with everyone else. The variations are fascinating!
Here is a sample RACI matrix that one of our clients created for the task “Creating Dinner.”
3. Next choose an exercise that relates to people’s real project work.
Once people have sampled building a RACI matrix for a simple, personal project, they are ready to move on to tackle something about their real work. This idea works best when you have a team in the room that really works together, choosing to “chart” something that they really need to do together. But it can work just fine with a management development group of people drawn from different areas, too. Just plan ahead by thinking about what kinds of projects people might benefit from charting, and have one or two examples ready to suggest in the training.
Because this example is probably more complicated, and because the end product is (potentially) going to be real and enduring, you’ll need to give the groups 15-20 minutes to work through this real example.
Once the group has constructed two RACI charts as part of the training, they are better equipped to move back into their roles as managers and use the tool effectively!