August 11, 2008
RACI tables in ITIL, in projects, in life!
Open your Service Transition v3 books, turn to page 166 and you see table 5.3 “example of RACI matrix for managing change“.
Notice how the change enabler can be either a process owner or a service owner. This table doesn’t make it entirely clear to the reader at first sight that these two roles are considerably different. Therefore, when I created this table, I duplicated this Change Enabler to be either a process owner or a service owner with their own defined rules.
RACI = Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed.
Referenced in Service Design & Continual Service Improvement. Its a model used to help define roles and responsibilities.
Responsible: the person or people responsible for getting the job done.
Accountable: the person who is accountable for each task (can only be one person).
Consulted: The people who are consulted and whose opinions are sought.
Informed: the people that are kept up-to-date on progress.
For example:- The PROCESS OWNER is responsible for their proccesses and the SERVICE OWNER is accountable for a specific service.
V3 exam question:
A Service Owner is responsible for which of the following?
- Continual Improvement of the service
- Designing and documenting a service
- Carrying out the Service Operations activities needed to support a service
- Producing a Balanced Scorecard showing the overall status of all services
Can I use RACI Matrices for other applications ?
I had an interesting conversation with someone recently, the conclusion of that discussion, prompted me to edit this post and it all centred around the RACI table. A somewhat bold statement was made during this conversation, and it goes something like this, “.. you can use RACI tables in everyday situations”. It got my head in a spin, because I wanted to come up with some sort of smart retort that RACI tables or matrices could only be used in service management, but today I found blurting out the words “let me create a RACI table for that”, and it wasn’t even related to anything ITIL, it was concerning additional resources for a project.
Stay with me now, don’t loss track of what we are talking about, because I think I’ve also just hit the nail on the head with this one, and am becoming to see myself as a the number one fan of RACI tables. Wouldn’t it be dandy to have a RACI table which depicts your project resources, either those directly in your control and those that you liaise with closely or whom provide you with information (indirectly or directly); then the tasks or actions down one side, then you can ‘control’ through your RACI table who has the responsibility to source this & that, who is accountable (say to manage the information i.e. make sure of its accuracy, its completeness etc.), who is consulted for information or for project updates (information inputs and outputs etc.), and who is kept informed on a daily, weekly, bi-weekly running period (sounds familiar?).
What also intrigues me is the fact that you don’t even have to manage this table once it is 100% accurate, unlike the project plan, but a word of warning to you, don’t use the RACI table to ‘replace’ the project plan, no way can it be used to convey milestone dates or other such deliverables. What the RACI table I just mentioned will give you is the holistic view of ‘people’ and as project managers we need to constantly be fully aware of what is communicated around us with regards to personnel. Loss sight of resources, and they will be pinched under your nose without you knowing about it (how many times has that happened to you?). Loss sight of their involvement in your project and your project may loss its focus and milestones will start to slip like a mudslide on a rainy day (look how devastating they can be).
Also, don’t ignore the RACI table totally, but don’t think you need to update it on a daily basis either, its a tool, another tool you can carry with you on your project manager toolbelt each day.
I’m dying to find more uses for RACI tables, and when I come across them I shall update this page and share those experiences. Am sure there are hundreds of applications where I can use it. So start using it yourself, and if this inspires you, jot me down a quick comment on the page and share your experiences, as I would love to hear them all.