What are they?
- A responsibility assignment matrix is a project management technique for clarifying and sharing project responsibilities across a cross functional team
- RACI is by far the most commonly used matrix
- They are a tool for creating clear roles and responsibilities amongst a group of individuals who work closely together.
- They help drive a culture of accountability, they stop work falling through the gaps and help avoid duplication of effort or misunderstandings about ownership
- My preferred type is DICE.
- When compared to RACI → DICE uses Decides instead of Responsible and Executes instead of accountable
- I prefer DICE to RACI because:
- Every team RACI session necessarily starts with a round of definitions and disambiguation of the terms responsible and accountable. They’re often used interchangeably outside of work settings.
- It also feels like the CEO is ultimately ‘responsible for everything’ and therefore it’s hard hard to agree who should be in that box
- ‘Executes’ is much more clear than ‘Accountable’ - and less likely to be confused with responsible
How to implement them?
- Co-create the matrix with your team
- List tasks or activities as rows and people/or roles as columns
- Then populate each cell - if there’s some contention, have a discussion and make a decision
Example DICE: DICE = Decides, Informed, Consulted, Executes
When Are They Most Useful?
- Responsibility assignment is particularly useful when
- a team is new
- a new process or activity is introduced
- there are overlapping roles
- there’s confusion about who is playing what role
- team shape isn’t ideal (e.g. a team doesn’t have enough UX researchers)