RACI Matrices, EA Charters, and Surgical Suites

In another moment of (over) thinking enterprise architecture, I was comparing the surgical suite to a project team. I'll define a team as a committee, or other ad-hoc group of individuals engaged in a particular task. While the surgical team has many members, they all play a specific role. And some, such as medical students, may be spectators viewing from above. In the surgical suite, folks know their roles. Students in the gallery know they are to take notes and not scrub in. Those perform procedures are not scribbling in their notebooks either. Everyone knows their part - before going into the surgery.

A common tool used within organizations to delineate roles and responsibilities is the RACI matrix. It simply describes the subject area along with levels of responsibility for the particular subject mapped to an organization unit, committee, or individual. While individuals may agree or disagree with the contents of the RACI matrix, at least its explicit and people can collaborate around it.

Like RACI matrices,  EA charters provide a level of clarity for EA programs in terms of the services they provide and what they don't provide. Composing a RACI matrix helps identify the various roles interacting with an EA program and who weighs in at what level for a particular concern. 

For your EA program, do you have a formal charter? Does it include a RACI matrix? How do you delineate responsibilities in a centralized or federated EA environment? 

 

Comments:

Thanks Eric for bringing up RACI! RACI matrices are very useful. In fact any attention given to responsibilities and roles pays off. However, for roles and responsibilities to be defined, please do NOT blindly copy them from a template or framework (such as TOGAF) but define them based on the business goals and priorities, and the dynamics of the current operation.
A very nice separation of concerns in the RACI is that between R(esponsible) and A(ccountable). I use that to define the role of architecture and architects (responsible) in relation to executives (accountable) (several articles on that on my website).

Posted by Rob Vens on January 04, 2013 at 11:19 AM EST #

Excellent point about blindly copying from a framework for a RACI (or anything, right?). The framework is there as a starting point. Tools we use, like a RACI, need to be tailored for the organization and specific context. Thanks for commenting!

Posted by Eric Stephens on January 04, 2013 at 11:28 AM EST #

We recently abandoned RACI for our own modified version which we believe provides a greater level of clarity when it comes to ‘Responsible’ and ‘Accountable’. The question of leadership arose as we were trying to squeeze people into the various RACI roles. Who holds the leadership responsibility AND accountability? Sure, RACI provides some loose guidance but not enough for our liking or for our organisational structures.
I can certainly agree with your inference that RACI can cause disagreement. We have seen a reluctance to shift to our new model but then again, this is only to be expected. As Mark Twain once reportedly said, ‘the only person who likes change is a wet baby.’

All of your readers are invited to contact me direct should they wish to find out more.

Posted by Keith Flanagan on January 22, 2013 at 06:14 AM EST #

We recently abandoned RACI for our own modified version which we believe provides a greater level of clarity when it comes to ‘Responsible’ and ‘Accountable’. The question of leadership arose as we were trying to squeeze people into the various RACI roles. Who holds the leadership responsibility AND accountability? Sure, RACI provides some loose guidance but not enough for our liking or for our organisational structures.

I can certainly agree with your inference that RACI can cause disagreement. We have seen a reluctance to shift to our new model but then again, this is only to be expected. As Mark Twain once reportedly said, ‘the only person who likes change is a wet baby.’

All of your readers are invited to contact me direct should they wish to find out more.

Posted by Keith Flanagan on January 22, 2013 at 06:15 AM EST #

Post a Comment:
  • HTML Syntax: NOT allowed
About

Art, Artifacts, and Best Practices for Enterprise Architects

Search

Archives
« April 2014
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
  
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
   
       
Today