Using SharePoint to Manage Roles & Responsibilities (RACI)

The other day I noticed that someone searched my blog for “using SharePoint to create a RACI”. I had not really thought about it before, but the RACI is a perfect tool to incorporate into your SharePoint project environment. I bounced the idea off of a couple of my colleagues and they agreed, so I went to work creating a prototype of the RACI in my project site template.

About the RACI

The RACI Chart is an effective tool for the team to define and communicate roles and responsibilities throughout the project life cycle (in the context of specific project deliverables). For each of the key deliverables and team roles (not necessarily ALL deliverables and roles) the RACI defines:

  • R (Responsible) – The person or role with primary responsibility for the deliverable (person that is going to manage the work associated with the deliverable)
  • A (Accountable) – The person or role that is accountable for the deliverable (the single throat to choke if there is a problem with the deliverable)
  • C (Contributor) – The persons or roles that will actively contribute to the deliverable (either as participants in sessions, or by completing specific activities that contribute to the final deliverable)
  • I (Informed) – The persons or roles that receive the deliverable for information purposes only. This information is useful when creating the communication plan.

This tool is a best practice area that removes ambiguity and confusion associated with who is responsible for what on the team. It is critical during team formation, but is an excellent point of reference throughout the project life cycle (and worth the investment to keep current). Below is an example of the RACI spreadsheet template that I use to manage project team roles and responsibilities. The Excel based RACI is a great tool, but sometimes a bit cumbersome to update as roles or deliverables are expanded / modified. In addition, it does not have an easy mechanism to filter the information based upon specific project phases or roles.


Creating the RACI in SharePoint

I used a custom list to create the RACI in my project site. First thing I decided to do was reverse the definition of X and Y axis from my Excel template. It is more logical to add project deliverables to the list, and then assign the roles / people in the supporting columns. I added the following columns to define the RACI in the custom list:

  • Deliverable: Title field for the name of the deliverable. Again, you will add key deliverables or groups of deliverables to the RACI chart (particularly large and complex deliverables).
  • Project Phase: Major phases of the project, defined as you tailor the list for your project. For purposes of the prototype, I put a number in front of the phase to facilitate sorting of the deliverables by project phase.
  • Resp-Role: Role on the team responsible for the deliverable. This is a look-up field to select a role from the Project Roles list.
  • Resp-Assigned to: Person assigned to be responsible for the deliverable. This is a look-up field to select a person from the Team Roster list.
  • Acct-Role: Role on the team accountable for the deliverable. This column is set-up the same as the Resp-Role column.
  • Acct-Assigned to: Person assigned to be accountable for the deliverable. This column is set-up the same as the Resp-Assigned to column.
  • Contr-Role: Roles on the team that contribute to the deliverable. This look-up field allows the user to select multiple roles from the Project Roles list.
  • Contr-Assigned to: Persons assigned to contribute to the deliverable. This look-up field allows the user to select multiple persons from the Team Roster list.
  • Inform-Role: Roles to be informed about the deliverable. This column is set-up the same as the Contr-Role columns.
  • Inform-Assigned to: Persons to be informed about the deliverable. This column is set-up the same as the Contr-Assigned to column.
  • Comments: Used to capture assumptions or open issues related to the roles and responsibilities for the deliverable.

Below is an illustration of the columns associated with the RACI Chart list.


Below is an example of the Deliverable input form for the RACI list. Using the look-up feature enables easy assignment of roles and persons to the deliverable.


Using SharePoint Views to Manage the RACI

I find it helpful to set-up different views in SharePoint to display the information appropriate to the project related process or audience.

The RACI Summary view displays the roles assigned for each deliverable (without people assignments). This is the view that will be referenced in your Project Management Plan.

The Responsible and Accountable view displays the responsible and accountable roles and assignments for the project deliverables. These are the most critical roles established in the RACI and this view helps identify gaps/problems with role or people assignments. In addition, you can easily filter the list to display deliverables associated with specific roles or people.


The Contributor and Informed view displays the roles and people contributing to or informed about project deliverables. This view will be helpful when loading resources into the project schedule (contributor), and creating the communications plan (informed).

Top 7 Benefits of Managing the RACI in SharePoint

The RACI Chart is a great best practice area to build into your project environment for improved collaboration and communications associated with project roles and responsibilities. The following are the top benefits associated with maintaining your RACI Chart in SharePoint:

  1. Easy to add new deliverables to the RACI
  2. Sort the deliverables by project phase, tailored to reflect your project phases
  3. Easy to assign roles and people to the deliverable using the look-up feature (roles from the Project Roles list, and people from the Project Team Roster)
  4. Use the Responsible and Accountable view to highlight “gaps” associated with role or people assignments
  5. Use the Contributor and Informed view to enhance the information available for the communication plan
  6. Ability to filter information to display deliverables assigned to specific roles or people
  7. Use comments to capture open assumptions or issues associated with specific deliverables or assignments


     

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