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Consulting firms often use a concept called “RACI” to help coordinate projects.

It works like this:

  • Projects involving more than a few people usually have varying levels of engagement from each person.
  • This makes it difficult to know who should be included in meetings or emails. You don’t want to include everyone, but leaving someone off of an important message might break the chain of communication.
  • These types of engagements are especially common in client projects, where the people doing the work are different from those approving the final result.

Consultants (and other client-facing roles) use a framework called RACI, or Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed.

  • The Responsible party are those people who are actually doing the work. They might be the freelance designers, the consultants, or the programmer who is responsible for writing code.
  • The Accountable party is usually a single person who is on the hook for the work being delivered. This can be the project manager, the head of the agency, or a client relations manager.
  • The Consulted party are those who should provide their input throughout the project. These are often subject-matter experts, key personnel, or users of the product.
  • The Informed party are those who have dependencies on the result of the project. These can be adjacent teams or others who don’t need to be included in the day-to-day details.

RACI helps the people doing the work know who to include in communications and meetings. I’ve found this framework useful when setting expectations for projects and assigning work to others.