Britta Ollrogge - Agile Coach
Britta Ollrogge - Agile Coach

From RACI to Delegation Poker

Britta Ollrogge

In many projects we’ve used the RACI Matrix to categorize responsibilities, but we’ve observed some disadvantages. Therefore I searched for another possibility and found the delegation cards, established by Jurgen Appelo (management 3.0).

 

RACI Matrix

The  RACI matrix is used to describe who is responsible for what. RACI is an acronym derived from the four key responsibilities: Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed.

  • R – Responsible: Those who do the work to achieve the task.
  • A – Accountable: Those who are ultimately accountable for the correct and thorough completion of the deliverable or task. Usually the accountable person needs to sign-off  the work provided.
  • C – Consulted: Those who can help with their knowledge. These are experts whose opinions are important. They are consulted in a two-way communication.
  • I – Informed: Those who are kept up-to-date on progress and status, often only in a one-way communication.

 

For a task only one person (role) should be accountable. More then one person could be assigned to a task as responsible, consulted or informed. Also it could happen that one person is accountable and responsible for one task.

 

Delegation Poker

With the delegation poker the model is extended. Therefore it’s easier to make clear who’s responsible for what and to what level. Usually if we used the RACI matrix, we haven’t discussed much about the assignments – it was more or less clear. With the delegation poker there are more possibilities and the team is encouraged to discuss with the (project) manager / delegator and to think about their roles and responsibilities.

 

The 7 levels are defined from a delegator perspective:

  1. Tell:  You as the manager make the decision and communicate it.
  2. Sell: You make the decision but you try to persuade others to buy into it.
  3. Consult: You consult the team and get input before you make the decision.
  4. Agree: You make a decision together as a team.
  5. Advise: Your team makes the decision, but you try to influence it with your advise.
  6. Inquire: Your team makes the decision and then tells you about it.
  7. Delegate: You delegate it completely to the team, don't influence the team and let the team work it out.
Delegation Poker cards

Creating a delegation map

 

Preparation:
You need:

  • Flip chart paper for the wall,
  • Sticky notes, pens,
  • Enough sets of delegation poker cards (one apiece),
  • A Flip Chart with the delegation levels and short explanations.

 

Steps:

  1. Introduce the delegation levels and the idea of creating a delegation map to the team.
  2. Do with the team a brainstorming to identify the delegator and the “delegated” roles  (Examples: Delegator: Project Manager; Delegated: Consultants, Developers, Customer). Write the identified roles on sticky notes.
  3. Do with the team a brainstorming about the tasks to be considered (Examples: Specification writing, development, configuration, translation, creating of training materials). Write the tasks on sticky notes.
  4. If you’ve identified lots of tasks, group the tasks and define headings together with the team (Examples: Project preparation, training, testing)
  5. Tag 1-4 flip charts (dependent on the number of tasks and roles) to the wall. Place the tasks as lines one under the other (in a grouped order) on the left side on the wall. Place the sticky notes with roles as columns.
Delegation Map
  1. Now discuss with the team the level of responsibility task by task related to the identified roles. 
    To do thisthe delegator presents a scenario for the first task. Example: “A project plan needs to be created. Who decides about the schedule and milestones?”  Everybody has a set of delegation poker cards and decides on his / her own. As soon as everybody has decided, the chosen cards are displayed. If everybody has the same card, the number is written into the related cell at the filp chart. If different cards are displayed, the highest and lowest numbers discuss their reasoning. They agree on a number and write it down. Afterwards continue with the next role (or task, if only one delegated role has been identified).
  2. After all responsibilities have been discussed and put on the wall, they could be transferred to an excel sheet.
Example RACI
Example: Delegation Map

Learning 

  • How people perceive their individual roles and required tasks become much clearer.
  • When people know exactly what is expected of them, it’s easier for them to complete their work to the best of their ability.
  • Everybody feels more involved because there is place for reasoning.
  • It gets clear what “delegation” really means: In the RACI Matrix often somebody is “responsible”, but the level of authority to decide is not clear.


More information about delegation poker and a free download of the cards can be found here: https://management30.com/product/delegation-poker

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