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RACI Matrix: A useful Project Management tool in Software Development

No matter your project size, identifying roles and responsibilities of all project members and stakeholders early in a project is important. Whether it’s a 6-person Scrum team situated in one open-space room or a large distributed team, everyone must understand their main role in relation to all tasks in a multitasking environment.

In a perfect, theoretical situation, all team members have very clear job descriptions and a Project Manager always has enough people in a team to complete various tasks. But we all know that often reality isn’t so ideal. A Project Manager should delegate responsibilities, distribute tasks, combine efforts of different people to achieve the most valuable goal, ask people to do more than is included in their job descriptions and so on. How can we avoid a situation where people are bickering over which tasks to do? More importantly, how to prevent the situation where an important task wasn’t completed in time because no team members were assigned to it? How do you choose who does which tasks?

Efficient task assignment in software development project management

One way to define each team member’s role based on a project’s set of tasks and avoid problems connected with unclear assignment of responsibilities is to use a RACI matrix.

RACI matrix is simple and very straightforward tool that can help clarify responsibilities of all project team members and stakeholders and ensure that all tasks have somebody who is going to execute them and somebody who is going to control this process.

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How do you apply the RACI approach?

To apply the RACI model, you should list every task, milestone or key decision, then clarify who is Responsible, who is Accountable, and where appropriate, who needs to be Consulted or Informed. These four roles: Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed create the RACI acronym.

R (Responsible)

The person who does the work to compete the task or make a decision. Several people could be responsible for one task but each task should have at least one responsible person.

A (Accountable)

The person who is accountable for the correct and on-time fulfillment of the task. Ordinarily this person should sign off or approve the task. Only one person should be assigned per task.

C (Consulted)

The person who provides the information for the project before the task can be done or approved. It could be one or several people and is assignment into this group is optional.

I (Informed)

The person who need to be informed about task progress. That person could be affected by the outcomes of the task and for this reason should be informed, but isn’t the consultant and does not contribute to the task completion. It could be one or several people and their assignment into this group is optional.

So the RACI table form looks like this.

Roles or Participants
Tasks/Activities/DecisionsPerson 1Person 2Person M
Task 1
Task 2Type of Participation: R, A, C, I
Task N

How to use the RACI table pictured above:

The process of creating the RACI table consists of the following 6 steps:

  1. Identify the whole list of tasks that should be done, all additional activities (if they exist), and some decisions that should be made during the project or the current stage of the project. Write them down on the left-hand side of the table.
  2. Identify all roles or particular participants of the project (team members, stakeholders). Write them down on the top of the table.
  3. For all tasks complete the cells of the table based on each individual’s roles as it pertains to a specific task. Identify who is Responsible for each task and who is Accountable. Also find the persons who could be Consulted and should be Informed about the tasks.
  4. Check it. Be sure that all tasks have at least one person responsible for them. Also check that you distribute the tasks evenly and there are no persons who are responsible for all the tasks, compared to somebody who is responsible for nothing.
  5. Check it a second time. Be sure that each task has one accountable person. Having several persons accountable for one task may lead to conflict.
  6. Share and discuss your matrix with your team and stakeholders before the start of your project. Approve it and be sure that all members are informed about its final version.

The RACI Analysis

It’s amazing how much information about your project you will find after having this matrix completed. For example, you could analyze your table for participants and for tasks.

Analysis for each participant:

  • Are there too many R’s? Are you sure that one person should do so much?
  • Are there no empty cells? Is it efficient to involve one person in all tasks?

Analysis for each task:

  • Are there no R’s? No A’s? or More than one A? Double check these rules.
  • Are there too many R’s? Too many R’s could lead to conflict among the many responsible persons.
  • Are there too many C’s? Is it absolutely necessary to involve so many participants? Maybe we can change some C for I or for empty cells?
  • Are there no empty cells? Is it efficient to involve the entire team with each and every task?

RACI: A great tool for project management in software development

This is one of the many project management tools that we use at Intetics. Over the years we’ve learned that a well-organized team Requires good planning to complete a project successfully. Especially when you’re dealing with a large project, a distributed team, and are doing the whole Agile thing, you should have a very Clear tool that helps you delegate and manage tasks. The RACI matrix is one such tool. We recommend it because we know it works and it helps us tremendously in ensuring quality results in our software development projects. It Indeed can help you to plan your project efficiently, delegate responsibilities, and manage the project team. So remember: successful project management requires R, A, C & I classification among your team members and tasks!

If you have any questions about project management in software development, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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