The problems with the RASCI model for quality and process management

The RASCI model is often used as a process management model. Many companies use it to assign roles and tasks within a process.

The problem: RASCI actually leads to confusion and misunderstandings about what is expected of each role. 

In this blog, we discuss why the RASCI model doesn't work within quality and process management and suggest an alternative approach that does provide clarity. 

What is RASCI? 

The RASCI model is a tool used to assign roles and responsibilities for tasks and activities. The acronym stands for: 

  • responsible 
  • accountable 
  • supportive 
  • consulted 
  • informed 

It is a model used in some quality and process management organizations to describe the division of roles within a process. 

The idea is that by assigning these specific roles and responsibilities, everyone will understand what needs to be done and when the task needs to be done. Clearly defining roles is good thinking that we certainly want to encourage, but the RASCI model itself falls short in this regard. 

The problems with RASCI 

In fact, the reality is quite different. The experience in many organizations is that the RASCI model actually leads to confusion and misunderstanding about what is expected of each role. Let's take a closer look at why this is the case:

Problem 1: Ambiguity of terms

'Ultimately responsible,' 'accountable', 'supportive' and so on. What does it really mean to be responsible for something? Does it mean that you are the one to do it? Or does it just mean you have to make sure it gets done? The terms used in the RASCI model are often ambiguous.

Problem 2: Different interpretations creates confusion in the organization

Because of the ambiguity of the terms, employees will interpret the roles in different ways. The result? Differences between teams and departments about what is expected of each role. Misunderstandings resulting in work not being done or being duplicated.

Problem 3: RASCI is focused on decisions, not process design and execution

RASCI has its origins in decision theory: who is responsible for the decision, who is formally liable if it goes wrong, who should support it, who should be consulted, and who should be informed of the decision?

This has little to do with day-to-day operations in running processes. It has little to do with process management. That is not what the RASCI model is for, and that is not what it should be used for. 

So what is the alternative?

The alternative depends on the situation: are we talking about designing a process and making process agreements, or is it about executing the processes? Here we distinguish process responsibility and result responsibility. 

Situation A: Designing Processes (Process Responsibility) 

When it comes to designing a process and making associated process agreements, we recommend setting up a process team. These teams consist of professionals from the company who have a good understanding of process implementation practices based on experience. The process defines the work and communication. 

The process team consists of a process owner, a number of process experts and a process developer. What do these roles entail? 

Process owner - for example, director of sales 

The process owner is responsible for budget and policy and as such is the point of contact about the frameworks and agreements made within a process. This role is generally responsible for ensuring that the process functions and produces the desired results. The process owner does this in consultation with the other roles within the team, has the final say on policy choices and reviews results. 

Process experts - for example, sales reps 

Process experts are content expert colleagues who do the work within a process on a daily basis. They have extensive experience in the actual execution of the process and can therefore provide valuable input for making process agreements and periodically evaluating together how the process is set up and functioning. 

Process developer - for example, a QHSE manager or Controller 

The process developer is responsible for querying and shaping the processes. These contain the working and communication agreements that the process owner and process experts have made or want to make. An understandable, executable process that delivers optimal performance and meets standards and requirements is ensured. Roles, tools, performance goals, quality and risk management are considered. 

Process developers develop the process models and specifications and are the driver for testing, evaluating and improving processes. They have an overview of the collection of processes in the organization and understand how they are interrelated. They discuss the interdependencies between processes, departments and external parties and ensure that the chain of processes runs as smoothly as possible within the frameworks. 

If you would like more explanation about process ownership, process responsibility and setting up process teams with the roles involved, we would be happy to explain it to you! Simply book an exploratory meeting so we can think along with your challenges. 

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Situation B: Executing processes (Results responsibility)

Even when it comes to executing the process, it is necessary to define roles, as this is one of the most important control aspects.  

After all, assigning operational roles and responsibilities is one essential part of process control. Here, our advice is to assign these roles for the output (the result of an activity), rather than for the activity itself. 

Therefore, determine for each output:

  • Who produces the output?
  • Who controls this output?
  • Who authorizes it?
  • Who takes follow-up action on this information (for them, that is, the "input").
  • Who archives it if necessary?

This result-oriented role definition creates much more clarity in the organization and ensures that everyone knows exactly what their responsibility is within a process.  

For example, "I as a salesperson make the quotation and sales order." And "I as a work planner take action on the sales order".

It also makes it easier to check (yourself) whether the output is of the right quality, so that people further down the line can do their work right the first time. That way you are jointly responsible for a good handover moment (output = input).

In doing so, make sure you define only what is needed. The rule of thumb is simple: the higher the risk of the process or transfer going wrong, the more must be arranged and controlled. This way you reduce the chance of mistakes and reduce the impact of misses. This benefits the quality and result for all stakeholders. 

Want to know more about control aspects and process control? We are happy to consider them with you! Please contact us so we can advise you on the control aspects relevant to your business processes. 

Store process conventions centrally 

When you want to start making process agreements or have already made them, it is important to ensure that they are easily stored centrally and can be quickly retrieved by everyone in the organization. This way you avoid losing track of what has been agreed upon and create more transparency about how processes work within your organization.  

It is also important to avoid duplications and inconsistencies in this information, so you want to organize it logically and house it in a relational database rather than in a collection of separate drawings and documents.

This will significantly improve the findability, timeliness and reliability of process agreements, and compliance with agreements will improve each time. 

We recommend using process and quality management software specifically designed for this purpose, such as Comm'ant

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In conclusion 

The RASCI model is a tool that is actually mistakenly used for process and quality management, and that has its drawbacks. By understanding its consequences and if possible using a better alternative based on process and result responsibility, you ensure clarity and are in control together. The effect is immediately clear: the processes are well managed and used, the collaboration runs better as a result. And that produces the desired results.  

With Comm'ant's process and quality management software, method and smart tools, you can arrange everything needed for a living management system in no time. For securing quality and knowledge, improving collaboration, managing risks, controlling complex projects and much more... in one platform that is used by everyone in the organization, everywhere.  

The answer to the question "how did we manage this?" is always found with a few clicks of the mouse. Curious how we can help your organization? Then book a demo, we'd love to think with you!  

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