The Subtle Power of a RASCI Chart
Guest writer Sara Hanks offers constructive wisdom for project success in, “The Subtle Power of a RASCI Chart.”
During several recent project reviews, an unmistakable pattern emerged: projects consistently stumbled at the same exact step. The project leaders were quick to lay blame on the purchasing team, citing a lack of support. But a deeper dive revealed the issue wasn’t about finger-pointing or blame.
After several meetings with several people, my team completed mapping out the process, uncovering a glaring gap. A significant process step, vital to the project’s progress, lacked ownership. To engage the purchasing team, the planner needed to put demand in the system. In services, however, there is no planner function, so the process stopped until it was escalated. Several projects were delayed due to this issue.
This is where the transformative power of the RASCI chart came to our rescue. For those unfamiliar, RASCI stands for:
Responsible (R): The person who performs an activity. It’s vital to have a single ‘R’ for every step, ensuring there’s clear ownership and no overlap in duties.
Accountable (A): The person ultimately accountable for the correct and thorough completion of the task. This usually falls on a senior person who has the authority to sign off on the step. Some sources consider the (A) as Approver.
Supportive (S): Those who assist the ‘R’ in completing the task. They provide the resources or knowledge needed but don’t take on the main responsibility.
Consulted (C): The people who must give input before the task is completed, providing necessary expertise or information.
Informed (I): Those who need to be kept in the loop regarding the outcome of the task, but don’t necessarily have input on its execution.
For each step of the process, identify who is responsible for completing the task. With the clarity provided by the RASCI chart, we meticulously documented each process step and assigned who was responsible. The planner step of the process was assigned to the warehouse manager. We also discovered that by informing the purchasing team sooner, they would have more awareness of the project and could respond more efficiently.
But the benefits of the RASCI chart extend beyond merely assigning roles. With a clearer understanding of responsibilities:
Streamlining Approval Steps: Organizations often have multiple approval layers, some of which may be redundant. With clarity on who is truly responsible and accountable, teams can challenge and eliminate unnecessary approval steps, making processes leaner and faster.
Enhanced Communication: Knowing exactly who needs to be consulted or informed means that communication is more targeted. This can reduce the back-and-forth and make decision-making swifter.
Conflict Resolution: When roles overlap or are unclear, conflicts can arise. Clearly defining who is responsible for what can prevent such overlaps and the ensuing misunderstandings.
Efficient Resource Allocation: With a better grasp on who supports each step, managers can allocate resources more efficiently, ensuring that each phase of a project gets the support it truly needs.
Training & Onboarding: When introducing new team members to a process, a RASCI chart acts as a guide, detailing what each team member’s role is, ensuring faster integration into projects.
The RASCI chart’s benefits, as we discovered, are multifaceted. Not only does it bring clarity to roles, but it also optimizes processes, enhances communication, and leads to better resource allocation. It’s not just about finding out who does what; it’s about understanding how everyone can do what they do, better.
In the end, our experience with the RASCI chart was enlightening. It taught us the significance of clearly defined roles and responsibilities. As organizations evolve and processes become more intricate, tools like the RASCI chart will be essential in navigating the complexity, ensuring efficiency, and fostering a culture of clarity and collaboration.