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The 10 Best RACI Alternatives

The 10 Best Raci Alternatives

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In this guide we explain you some RACI alternatives that you can use. In fact, the RACI framework – Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed – is a great project management tool to assign roles to people, but is not the only one. So, if you are looking for RACI matrix alternatives, you are in the right place.

The structure of this guide is simple: we give a super-brief explanation of RACI to better understand its advantages and shortfalls, and we build on that to present several RACI alternatives.

We also have a video summary of this article, check it out!

The 1 Minute RACI Explanation

Feel free to skip this if you are a RACI expert.

RACI is a framework to assign responsibility and roles for various task. It combines a list of participants with a list of task, and for each task it tells us what are the expectation we have for each participant. Should he perform the task? Should he be only informed only when complete?

RACI defines 4 roles: each participant can have one of the following roles for each task, and the same participants may have different roles across different tasks.

  • Responsible is the one doing the job
  • Accountable is the one who owns the outcome of the job, that is he is the go-to person if the task is not getting done. Generally he has the authority to replace the responsible with another person if the responsible is struggling.
  • Consulted is asked non-binding opinion and advice on how to do the job
  • Informed is updated with the progress unidirectionally, he has no input on the task

A person may also be accountable and responsible on the same task at the same time.

This battleship nature of intersections makes it natural to represent RACI as a table. You can either put activities as rows and participants as columns, or vice versa. Normally, you want to have participants in columns on power-points to focus on responsibility, but you can also do the opposite to try to make your RACI look more like a Gantt chart.

You can dive deeper into a RACI matrix here.

This is a classic RACI matrix, with some departments and some activities. It has the classic key roles, which often are different in RACI alternatives as we will see
An example of RACI Matrix made with PowerPoint.

Now that we know what a RACI matrix is, what are the RACI alternatives? This is where we turn to in the next section.

The 10 RACI Alternatives

Let’s be clear: RACI alternatives are yet other table structures. We won’t find a new type of extravagant chart that replaces a matrix, because that is what makes most sense. You have a set of stakeholders and a set of activities, and at each intersection you can represent the role of each participant in each task. What RACI alternatives change from a traditional RACI is the roles they provide, going beyond Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed.

RACI-VS

We can start RACI alternatives with a simple variation of a normal RACI, RACI-VS. This is the VS part.

  • Verification (V) is the role for someone who checks the results of the activities, its deliverables, or outcomes
  • Sign-Off (S) is to verification what accountable is to responsible. While the person doing the verification performs the actual verification (e.g., inspect the document for errors, the product for defects etc.), the sign-off person is the end authorizing the verification, signing it off.

This RACI alternative is particularly useful in context where you need extra care and additional quality on the deliverables of your project and individual activities. For example, it may be useful in product development or R&D.

RACIO

Next in the RACI alternatives we have RACIO, another extension to the traditional RACI. Here the role that is added is just one, “out of the loop”.

The out of the loop role means that that person will be excluded from communications for that given task or activity. Effectively, it is like the opposite of informed role. The main benefit of this approach is that set clears expectation from the start: each participant will know when he will be involved, and when not. Ideally, at the start all the participants see the RACIO matrix, so that if someone wants to complain he will not be part of something, he may do that in the beginning. However, once the project is started there is no room for “I had to know that”.

In addition to the benefit of added clarity, RACIO can be better than a simple RACI when there are privacy or secrecy concerns, so to inform that it is actually important to not share some information with some stakeholders.

This RACI alternative RACIO is sometimes mentioned as CAIRO, because it is easier to remember as the capital of Egypt. However, since it is common practice to represent roles from the most involved to the least involved, RACIO is preferrable.

RASCI

Third in our RACI alternatives list we have RASCI, which also adds just one role, the “Support” role.

In a RASCI, the support role is midway between consulted and responsible. The person in this role is someone who is actively working to support the responsible party in getting the task done. The consulted role is more providing information and knowledge when asked, while the support role is more providing actual effort (and also information, skills, and knowledge) when asked.

This different flavor of RACI is important when you want to secure support from other departments over which the responsible party has no direct control. This is probably one of the most used RACI alternatives.

RAPID (Decision-oriented)

Now things start to get interesting. Unlike the RACI alternatives we saw so far, RAPID is oriented toward decisions, not toward task responsibility like traditional RACI. Therefore, it is best used to pair stakeholders with a list of decisions, not with a list of tasks. Roles here are completely different.

  • Recommendation (R) makes recommendations regarding the decision at hand.
  • Establish Agreement (A) is the role for the person who tried to bridge all the stakeholders into an agreement by finding common ground.
  • Perform and Execute (P) once the decision has been made, this stakeholder will be in charge to execute it and bring the results. It is the one following up on the decision.
  • Provide Input (I) gives data and information to facilitate the decision, occasionally gathering them specifically for the decision.
  • Decide (D) the person calling the shot and making the decision

This RAPID framework may look confusing at first, particularly if you are used to a traditional RACI. However, you need to remember that this is not exactly a RACI alternative, it has a different purpose. Or, more correctly, is a RACI alternative that is specific to one domain of tasks: decisions.

It is also worth mentioning that this provides a very structured and formal approach to decisions which typically involve many stakeholders. If you do not have as many key decisions to make involving so many stakeholders, maybe it is not worth undertaking this framework and taking the time to explain it to everyone. Instead, it is well worth it if you work extensively around complex decisions, like in creating company policies.

RATSI

Continuing with RACI alternatives, we have RATSI. RATSI is just another version of RASCI in the end, it adds the support role and changes some names for other roles.

  • Responsible – equivalent of accountable in traditional RACI
  • Authority – has decision power and owns the ultimate outcome of the decision
  • Task – performs the job, equivalent of responsible in traditional RACI
  • Support – provides support in form of skill, knowledge, or information
  • Informed – he is informed of the progress of activity

The main benefit of RATSI is that it breaks the traditional Responsible-Accountable pair into three roles: Responsible-Authority-Task. This may be helpful to add more flavor to your matrix and to better separate roles when complex execution is inevitable.

However, I tend to avoid RATSI. When picking RACI alternatives, it is important to understand that most people are familiar with traditional RACI, so changing the roles of known letters (R and A in this case) is generally a no-no.

ARPA

ARPA is one of the many RACI alternatives that gets more creative, envisioned by helpscout.com. It places more focus on leadership. It has four roles:

  • Accountable – same as in traditional RACI, owns the outcome
  • Responsible – the one doing the job
  • Participant – allocates time to the task and support the responsible, similar to “support” role in other RACI alternatives
  • Advisor – they consult responsible and participant without decision making authority

Simply by replacing consulted with advisor, this RACI alternatives try to emphasize a positive mindset of collaboration. Worth mentioning, just changing some letters, and finding a fancy RACI alternative will not change your company culture.

PACSI

PACSI is probably the best among RACI alternatives if the outcomes of activities are subject to the review of multiple stakeholders. It sets the roles as follows:

  • Perform – does the job, similar to traditional responsible
  • Accountable – owns the outcome, same as in traditional RACI
  • Control – review the outcome with right of veto, their advice is binding
  • Suggest – review with no authority, non-binding advice
  • Informed – is informed of the outcome of activities

This approach places a great emphasis on the review of outcomes, and is therefore the preferred RACI alternatives where extensive validation of results across the organization is important. This framework can help avoid ending in some blocking points or turf wars.

RACIQ

As we saw so far, several RACI alternatives focus on quality, and RACIQ is one of them. In fact, it takes the traditional RACI roles and add one more, Quality review.

Quality review is particularly common in manufacturing, because it involves inspecting the result  of a process, and most likely a physical product. Recently, the same approach started to be applied to software, where the software is reviewed for quality.

In a traditional setting, the person producing the outcome (the responsible) also checks the quality. RACIQ has the benefit to split this responsibility, that is important when you want to have external audit or the customer directly inspecting the results. This is why the role has been separated.

DACI

DACI is one of the most creative RACI alternatives, also focused on decision-making like RAPID. Here, roles are completely different, and relate to decisions, that are used instead of tasks.

  • Driver – can be seen like a person steering a car, where the car is the project or idea. It is the sponsor of the idea, the person in charge to move it forward
  • Approver – someone signing off the idea, hence approving the decision
  • Contributor – someone that produce deliverables and provide information
  • Informed – as in any other matrix, they are kept posted with the evolution of the decision

DACI is probably one of the rarest RACI alternatives, but it can provide some value particularly when you are trying to drive a cultural change or some changes in key business processes.

DCI

DCI is a simpler version of DACI, and is the last of the DACI alternatives we will explain for today. Just like DACI, it has its own set of roles that is completely different from traditional RACI. Like RACI and RAPID, it focuses on decisions and aims to keep things simple. The roles are:

  • Decision maker – the person who has the authority to decide
  • Consulted – asked for non-binding advice in the decision
  • Informed – informed about the results of the decisions

Neat and clean.

RACI Alternatives Summary

In this brief article, we covered the most popular RACI alternatives you want to know to give a different spin to your project. Try using them in different contexts and see what works best for you.

Finally, you can consider the ultimate RACI alternative: a custom alternative. If your project or business has some peculiarity that makes no RACI alternative 100% right for you, that’s okay. You can always create your own RACI alternative. For example, if you are working in software development you may want to have roles like Scrum Master, Developer, Code Reviewer, User Tester, Test Writer and more. Do what works for you, as long as people understand it.

Picture of Alessandro Maggio

Alessandro Maggio

Project manager, critical-thinker, passionate about networking & coding. I believe that time is the most precious resource we have, and that technology can help us not to waste it. I founded ICTShore.com with the same principle: I share what I learn so that you get value from it faster than I did.
Picture of Alessandro Maggio

Alessandro Maggio

Project manager, critical-thinker, passionate about networking & coding. I believe that time is the most precious resource we have, and that technology can help us not to waste it. I founded ICTShore.com with the same principle: I share what I learn so that you get value from it faster than I did.

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Alessandro Maggio

2021-09-16T16:30:00+00:00

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