More and more companies are using frameworks like DACI, RACI and RAPID in an attempt to improve decision-making by assigning clearer decision-making responsibilities. In theory, many of these frameworks make a lot of sense. In practice, I have not seen them work well.
All of these frameworks introduce specific roles to make decisions. Here’s what the commonly used acronyms stand for:
- RAM — Responsibility Accountability Matrix
- RACI — Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed
- DACI — Drivers, Approvers, Contributors, and Informed
- RAPID — Recommend, Agree, Perform, Input, and Decide
Why is there a need for all these frameworks and why don’t they work as advertised? Many of these frameworks seem good on paper. Yet, in practice, they are too complicated.
First of all, these frameworks tend to overly specify (legislate) what, in a well run team, happens organically.
When working through a problem and debating options, you don’t think in canned roles. You work through it as a group.
The problem is that Approvers often have a hard time staying in their role. Rather than reviewing and approving final decisions, most have learned to lead by controlling or influencing the decision-making process itself. They often act like parents “coaching” from the sidelines, usually with good intentions but almost always with dis-empowering results. (source)
By detailing who approves, or who authorizes various aspects of the project, you disempower the group.
The RACI chart often gets brought up when something isn’t working well. Instead of improving group dynamics and understanding why there is disagreement, we’re consulting the rule book.
Furthermore, it is not clear up front who will hold each role.
The Big Problem: Roles can’t be assigned correctly until after decisions are made. Decisions are about making or responding to changes. That means your business will be different after you make a decision, and this causes a consistent problem when assigning roles. If you don’t really know what will be affected until after the decision is made, then you don’t really know who needs to be in which…