The Responsibility Matrix – Responsible, Authorize/Approve, Support, and Informed (RASI) process is useful when defining areas of responsibility. I present it here because I have listened to people struggle with a different version – Responsible, Accountable, Consult, and Informed (RACI). The “C” and the “S” are used the same way. The difference is in how the “A” is defined. With RACI, it is defined as “Accountable“. This confuses people because they don’t understand the difference between Responsible and Accountable – in life, if you are responsible, you are also held accountable, so it is confusing. I define them as “Responsible” and “Authorize/Approve” because if I’m responsible I need to know who authorizes or approves my work (i.e., who signs off) making the roles and responsibilities clearer. Let me know how it works for you.
Responsibility Matrix (RASI) – is used to define four areas of responsibility and who is responsible for each task. It enables Participants to document who is Responsible, who Authorizes/Approves, who Supports, and who must be Informed. This process is used for any planning activity as well as documenting the current organizational responsibilities for review when restructuring an organization or set of processes.
Do the following:
- Define each of the four areas of responsibility – note that each implies all that follow:
- R – Responsible – is held responsible for the success and completion of a given task.
- A – Authorizes/Approves – (authorize before and approve after) signs off on the method or results of a given task.
- S – Supports – provides assistance, information, etc., for a given task – if requested.
- I – Informed – must to be kept informed of the progress or results of a given task.
- Draw a matrix on a white board, or large roll of paper with the tasks listed across the top – “what” – and the names of the people – “who” – listed down the left side (see illustration below).
- Ask, “Who will be responsible for this task?” Write an R, with a red colored marker so it stands out, in the box under the task by their name. (You must have one and only one person responsible for every given task – otherwise it doesn’t get done.)
- Ask, “Who authorizes or approves the work?” Write an A in the box(es) under the given task by their name. (You may have more than one person.)
- Ask, “Who will help?” Write an S in the box(es) under the task by their name. (Not every given task will have someone to help and others may have more than one person.)
- Ask, “Who must be informed?” Write an I in the box(es) under the task by their name. (Not every given task will have someone to inform and others may have more than one person.)
- Continue until all responsibilities are assigned. Review the matrix with the Participants to see that the assigned responsibilities are clear. Adjust if necessary.
Rules to follow:
- One and only one R per task
- At least one A who is not the R – may be more than one
- S only if help is requested – may be more than one
- I only if MUST be kept informed – may be more than one
- Implications are:
- R implies A, S, I
- A implies S, I
- S implies I