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RACI Responsible Versus Accountable

        posted by , April 09, 2016

There's nothing complex about a Responsibility Assignment Matrix RACI. It assigns organizational and project responsibilities according to a four level classification:

Responsible
Accountable
Consulted
Informed

People are usually clear about the meaning of Consulted and Informed. However, there's often confusion about the difference between Responsible and Accountable. Even seasoned program managers sometimes confuse the two. Here's the difference:

Responsible (worker)

The responsible person completes the task (does the work). The responsible person can be thought of as the task worker.

Accountable (manager)

The accountable person manages the task. This can include tracking progress, escalating issues and signing off on deliverables.

If the task is not completed or task deliverables are of low quality it is ultimately the accountable person who's responsible. The accountable person can be thought of as the task manager.

Example

A developer is responsible for delivery of the system code. The developer's manager (or team leader) is accountable for delivery of the system code.


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