Planning and launching a community is a big endeavour with lots of moving parts. When done properly, the whole organization is bought in and working towards making it a success. However, if this is your first time launching a major community, it can seem like a daunting task. Who is responsible for what? Who has the final authority? Who needs to be consulted? Who needs to be informed? Welcome to the genius of the RACI matrix that will help answer those questions.
I am not sure when I learnt about the RACI matrix, but I can tell you that when it comes to community planning, it makes things much more organized because all the key stakeholders know exactly what is expected of them and what’s expected of you and your team.
So what is a RACI Matrix exactly?
It’s a chart that clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of you, your team and collaborative stakeholders. The R, A, C, I in the name is used to categorize each person’s duties. RACI stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed.
Why would you want to use one? Community building is complex. There are lots of different elements to get right - and lots of people who may have opinions. This makes sure that there is a clear line of authority and who owns what. It should, in theory, make the launching and day-to-day decisions around the community much easier.
Now you may be wondering how can you get started? We have you covered. We’ve created this awesome RACI Matrix, which is free for your use. Get your copy here.
I have filled it in already for you, but please modify it for your specific situation and the deliverables that matter. Modify where the R, A, C, I falls on the chart, and make sure the “Person” gets named. Add columns or rows as needed too. In short, adapt the matrix to your needs.
To help you decide what letter is appropriate for each person, here is a little more on each letter, so you tag the right team member as appropriate.
This is the person who is tasked with, and responsible for, getting the actual work done. This person is the one who is working hands-on to deliver the task.
This is not the person doing the work itself, but they are accountable to manage the completion of the work that happens by those responsible. They are also the “final approving authority” that the task is completed.
This person is not doing the work but assists in providing information and support necessary for the person responsible for finishing their task or deliverable.
This person is to be kept up to date on the progress of the task or deliverable. This tends to be the senior management members who should be kept aware of the project’s progress but do not need to get involved in the minutiae.
Getting Started with RACI
To get started, I would suggest you download the matrix and take the time to meet with your senior leader to get their buy-in to use it. They likely have heard of RACI Matrix before as it’s frequently used by project management teams. Once you have their buy-in, I would create a meeting with critical stakeholders and fill in the chart. As you meet to fill in the matrix, here are some tips to ensure success:
Make sure the person in the header is named - don’t leave it to a “department.”
Be open to feedback to make changes/updates to the chart as needed - and communicate changes.
Assign one person to be accountable - don’t cause paralysis by group approval.
Ensure the person accountable has the authority to make sure the task is completed.
Only have those who are necessary to be consulted involved - we don’t want the consultation to bog down completion.
Make sure anyone on this chart is informed of their involvement - and have regular check-ins to modify as needed.
Once you have the document that you are happy with, you can then use your company's project management software to assign tasks, or at very least, a spreadsheet, to keep everyone clear on the expectations, deadlines and deliverables. With proper planning, this RACI Matrix should make the whole process a bit clearer - and help make your community-building journey a little easier.
Want to know more about community building? Check out our free eBook How to Build and Online Community. Learn how to build a community in just 7 simple steps.