Knowledge Management and Responsibility Charting

01 Target Audience

(01.1) This article is intended for those responsible for ensuring the effectiveness of knowledge structures within the workplace, and those with a general interest in the topic.

02 Executive Summary

(02.1) A RACI Analysis is a technique for systematically identifying functional areas, activities, decision authorities, responsibilities, and relationships.

(02.2) The completion of a RACI Analysis improves the business’ capacity, organisation, planning, productivity, and training.

03 Structure of this Article

04 Terminology
05 Introduction
06 Why Conduct a RACI Analysis?
07 Key Considerations for Conducting a RACI Analysis
08 The Six Steps in a RACI Analysis
09 Activity / Decision Guidelines
10 Example of a RACI Chart
11 Vertical and Horizontal Analysis of a RACI Chart
12 Review and Investment
13 Benefits of Conducting a RACI Analysis
14 And Finally

04 Terminology

(04.1) All specialist terms are explained in the body of the text.

05 Introduction

(05.1) In my March 2015 posting entitled “Knowledge Management: Collaboration, Data Silos, and the Learning Business”, I made reference to the ‘RACI Matrix’. As this type of undertaking is fundamental to the creation of effective knowledge structures, I thought it appropriate to expand on the subject.

(05.2) The mnemonic represents:
  • Responsible (Role(s) doing the activity – Determined by A)
  • Accountable (Role with yes/no/veto authority)
  • Consult (Role involved prior to a final decision/action – 2-way communication)
  • Inform (Role needing to know of the decision/action – 1-way communication)
(05.3) The technique identifies functional areas, activities, and decision authorities, to facilitate the systematic description of activities and decisions to be undertaken, together with responsibilities, and the inter-relationships of the same.

06 Why Conduct a RACI Analysis?

(06.1) A RACI analysis:
  • Describes the status of roles in a consistent manner;
  • Identifies accountabilities;
  • Identifies clear channels of communication;
  • Reduces duplication of effort.
(06.2) Specifically, in this context, a RACI analysis provides the foundation for the knowledge management structure, i.e. a RACI matrix for each role, to inform the Organisation Structure upon which the Knowledge Structure is founded.

07 Key Considerations for Conducting a RACI Analysis

(07.1) You must ensure:
  • Responsibility and Accountability are placed at the level closest to the action and/or knowledge;
  • Consults and Informs are kept to a minimum;
  • Only one Accountability per activity, and Accountability must be accompanied by authority;
  • All roles and responsibilities are included, and made public.
(07.2) Remember, when defining roles and responsibilities, remove those who check what the checkers do, ensure a ‘whole organisation’ involvement, and do not try to be 100% accurate in the beginning. With the correct systems in place, errors will be quickly identified and corrected.

08 The Six Steps in a RACI Analysis

  1. Conduct meetings, with key management, to introduce the purpose and requirements of the RACI analysis.
  2. The organisation is involved in developing decision and function lists, which are collated into a master document.
  3. The organisation is involved in Responsibility Workshops to agree function definitions, and codes describing roles contributing to a function, i.e., a Responsibility Chart.
  4. Responsibility charts are distributed to all participants and contributing organisations.
  5. Meetings are held with all individuals involved to communicate the new role definitions.
  6. Follow-up meetings conducted to ensure the new roles are being honoured, and to correct any anomalies.

09 Activity / Decision Guidelines

(09.1) Avoid non-specific activities, such as ‘attend meetings’.

(09.2) When developing a list of Activities and Decisions, begin with a verb.

(09.3) Where an action infers a decision or a judgement, ensure the primary outcome is identified, for example:
  • Monitor Internet use to identify conformance with organisation policy.”
  • Analyse data structure development to identify duplication.”
(09.4) Keep descriptions brief, and ensure they apply to a role or action, not an individual.

10 Example of a RACI Chart

(10.1) See Figure 1.

Figure 1: An example of a RACI Chart.

(10.2) Note: The ‘Decisions / Activities’ in Figure 1 represent sequential steps in the completion of a process. Also, The ‘Functional Roles’ give positions assigned to enable the completion of the ‘Decisions / Activities’.

(10.3) Note: There are hyphens, instead of empty spaces, in the chart. This is to explicitly convey an active omission of any code, to prevent the possibility of an 'overlooked' element in the analysis.

(10.4) Having completed the RACI Chart, a Vertical and Horizontal Analysis is undertaken.

11 Vertical and Horizontal Analysis of a RACI Chart

(11.1) The process involved in both analyses is very similar, and involves the frequency of Rs, As, Cs, and Is in the chart, as a whole, and with regard to Functional Roles, and Decisions / Activities.

11.1 Vertical Analysis – Functional Roles (Figure 2)

Figure 2: Vertical Analysis of a RACI Chart.

11.2 Horizontal Analysis – Decisions / Activities (Figure 3)

Figure 3: Horizontal Analysis of a RACI Chart.

12 Review and Investment

(12.1) Each RACI Chart must be shown to representative Functional Roles, covered by the chart, and evaluated. Any corrections must be reflected in the chart. This will ensure investment, by Functional Roles, in the final form of the RACI chart.

(12.2) It may be possible to validate the RACI Chart against other outputs from the organisation.

13 Benefits of Conducting a RACI Analysis

(13.1) Within the company, there will be improved:
  • Capacity: Removing duplication and redundancy;
  • Organisation Structure: Implicit in a RACI Analysis;
  • Planning: Through greater participation encouraged by improved lines of communication;
  • Productivity: Resulting from clearly defined and published roles;
  • Training: People involved in workshops and development process.

14 And Finally

14.1 Use of this article
(14.1.1) Any part, or all, of this article may be copied or ‘hyperlinked to’ for non-commercial purposes. Any copied content or hyperlink to include the following, please…

Knowledge Management and Responsibility Charting
by Tim Cliffe Copyright 2015-04

(14.1.2) Where use will be for commercial purposes, seek authorisation, including details of proposed use, via the contact form at http://www.TimCliffe.uk/contact/

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