Getting RACI

Managing a small team can be very hard, especially in a startup where job descriptions are fuzzy and what you work on can change from day to day. When Melanie joined the BGV team she introduced us to the RACI framework and I think it’s pretty useful.

Basically you work out everything you have to do as a team and then allocate (usually different) people to be:

  • Responsible: the person who does the work to achieve the task.
  • Accountable: the person ultimately answerable for the completion of the task.
  • Consulted: the people whose opinions are sought during the task through ongoing communication.
  • Informed: the people who are kept up-to-date on progress, but often only on completion of the task — there is just one-way communication.

We do it slightly differently to the way it’s often described in guides (including the Wikipedia article linked to above). Rather than having job titles across the top we have the RACI headings. We also don’t do it for tasks, we just do it for what we call our work streams (I have no idea how we came up with that word but it’s stuck) which are our ‘projects’ in Basecamp. What we end up with is a one-page matrix of all of areas of work with four columns that tell us who is responsible and accountable and who should be consulted and informed.

You can also then flip it on its head and you have a set of job descriptions by creating bullet points for individuals’ responsibilities and things they are accountable for.

So far we’ve reviewed the two documents about every six months which seems about right for us although you might need to do it a bit more frequently in the very early days.

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