RACI for roles

Last post 07:33 pm March 27, 2019
by Daniel Wilhite
11 replies
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10:53 am May 7, 2018

Im trying to understand more about scrum and Agile as a whole. Is there any link to some sort of RACI, that is who does what?

im thinking 

- product backlog and priority 

- who writes user stories

- who removes impediments 

12:14 pm May 7, 2018

What are you looking for that isn't discussed in the Scrum Guide? It lists out the three roles in Scrum (Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Development Team) and what each role does.

12:28 pm May 7, 2018

Im trying to understand more about scrum and Agile as a whole. Is there any link to some sort of RACI, that is who does what?

A quick Google search turns up plenty. Why not go through the Scrum Guide and see if you can come up with your own RACI matrix for discussion?

03:31 pm May 7, 2018

And remember, the Scrum Guide is just a framework and set of lightweight rules and boundaries, in which you apply your own processes and tactics.  One Scrum Team may choose to describe their Product Backlog items in the form of user stories (which is XP not Scrum), others may choose a different tactic.  There is no right or wrong answer, it is up to the Scrum Team to decide.  

My opinion is that RACIs tend not be very effective for Scrum teams or organizations, because RACIs lean towards being prescriptive.  Take a look at the Cynefin framework.  Scrum fits in the complex bucket, whereas best practices, RACIs etc. fit in the obvious bucket where predictive methodologies are better suited.  In Scrum there is no one size fits all.

Have I created one in the past?  Yes.  I have I regretted doing so?  Yes.

05:50 pm May 7, 2018

Thanks everyone for the commitment, this was the best one I could find;

https://www.trackplus.com/blog/en/responsibility-assignment-matrix-tech…

But I agree with Chris's comment, RACI sounds very - well - 'waterfall'. Everyone has a strict role to play, whereas I thought Scrum was a little more loose.

My understanding is that the Product Owner is the only person with accountability in Scrum.

10:12 pm May 7, 2018

>> My understanding is that the Product Owner is the only person with accountability in Scrum.

The Development Team is responsible for delivering a "Done" product Increment every Sprint.  Hence they are accountable for quality.

The Product Owner is accountable for maximizing value, and for ensuring that the Development Team works on the most valuable Product Backlog items first.

The Scrum Master is accountable for coaching and enabling Scrum Teams to become high performing teams.

08:30 pm January 4, 2019

Just a follow up. In my research I've come across a couple criticisms of RACI applied to scrum and Agile. Here are some of the main points against RACI suggested in several articles :

  • RACI implies that the the people responsible for the task are not accountable for the results. 
  • RACI is an incarnation of Scientific Management (Taylorism) where doing and thinking are separated.
  • RACI is strongly connected with traditional Project Management and command and control thinking.
  • RACI discourages team work and collaboration.
  • RACI encourages finger pointing, instead of collaborative problem solving.
  • RACI encourages siloed roles and thinking.
  • RACI charts are a sign of a dysfunctional organization as it permits abdicating responsibility of team-work and proactive problem solving.
  • RACI discourages cross-functional teams.

These are some of the points from the below articles. I'm interested to hear both sides of the story and people's experiences with them in an Agile organization. Does RACI have a place in Agile?

Thanks!

Articles referenced: 

09:44 pm January 4, 2019

Does RACI have a place in Agile?

The conversations provoked by trying to construct one are often useful.

04:47 pm January 7, 2019

RACI stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed.  So the best RACI for Scrum that I could come up with is 

R = Product Owner, Development Team, Scrum Master, Stakeholder
A = Product Owner, Development Team, Scrum Master, Stakeholder
C = Product Owner, Development Team, Scrum Master, Stakeholder
I = Product Owner, Development Team, Scrum Master, Stakeholder

Everyone is responsible for the work that is being done, even the stakeholder because they are responsible for helping to determine the correct direction that the product/team takes.

Everyone is accountable for the work that is being done, even the stakeholder because they are accountable for helping to determine the correct direction that the product/team takes.

Everyone is consulted for the work that is being done, even the stakeholder because they are consulted to determine that direction that the product/team takes is delivering the value that is needed.

Everyone is informed of  the work that is being done, even the stakeholder because they are informed to garner discussion on the correct direction that the product/team takes.

See the reason that a RACI is not really a good fit for Scrum/Agile? 

09:58 am February 15, 2019

Daniel Wilhite : I see above is very much contradict with the scrum guides from Scrum.org

Take the following "Product Owner" section from the guide as an example. 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Product Owner

The Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product resulting from work of the Development Team. How this is done may vary widely across organizations, Scrum Teams, and individuals.

The Product Owner is the sole person responsible for managing the Product Backlog. Product Backlog management includes:

  • Clearly expressing Product Backlog items;
  • Ordering the items in the Product Backlog to best achieve goals and missions;
  • Optimizing the value of the work the Development Team performs;
  • Ensuring that the Product Backlog is visible, transparent, and clear to all, and shows what the Scrum Team will work on next; and,
  • Ensuring the Development Team understands items in the Product Backlog to the level needed.

The Product Owner may do the above work, or have the Development Team do it. However, the Product Owner remains accountable.

The Product Owner is one person, not a committee. The Product Owner may represent the desires of a committee in the Product Backlog, but those wanting to change a Product Backlog item’s priority must address the Product Owner.

For the Product Owner to succeed, the entire organization must respect his or her decisions. The Product Owner’s decisions are visible in the content and ordering of the Product Backlog. No one can force the Development Team to work from a different set of requirements.

01:08 pm March 27, 2019

RACI is a model about responsible, accountable, consult and informed.

 
Agile is a Philosophy. (A belief that accepted by some group)

Scrum is a Framework. (A hypothetical description of Agile)

According to Scrum Guide

"The Scrum Team consists of a Product Owner (PO), the Development Team, and a Scrum Master(SM). “

Because each of them has different responsibilities and accountabilities. Otherwise, scrum should stand without stating roles such as PO, SM or development team. 

According to  the scrum guide, Responsibility and Accountability of Scrum team lie as follows: 

1. Maximize the value of the product resulting from the work of the Development Team
Responsible = Product Owner
Accountable = Not specified (A role, according to the organization’s high-level value creation mechanism)

2. Managing the Product Backlog
Responsible = Product Owner (Also Development Team can do)
Accountable = Product Owner

3. Promoting and supporting Scrum
Responsible = Scrum master
Accountable = Not Specified.

In short:  It is a myth to assume that all are responsible, accountable consulted and Informed in Scrum framework.
 

07:33 pm March 27, 2019

I appreciate everything that you say and I can agree to what you say.  This is my opinion and yours can differ.  I will also pull something from the Scrum Guide section where the Scrum Team is described to explain the basis of my opinion. 

The Scrum Team consists of a Product Owner, the Development Team, and a Scrum Master. Scrum Teams are self-organizing and cross-functional. Self-organizing teams choose how best to accomplish their work, rather than being directed by others outside the team. Cross-functional teams have all competencies needed to accomplish the work without depending on others not part of the team. 

To me that implies that the entire Scrum Team is responsible for the product that is delivered.  It implies that the entire Scrum Team is accountable for the work that is being done. It implies that the entire Scrum Team is consulted in what work is being done and how it is accomplished.  It implies to me that the entire Scrum Team is fully informed about the work that needs to be done and how it will be accomplished.  

Yes, there are others that outside of the Scrum Team that fit into each of those categories and there are specific responsibilities given within the team roles.  But it doesn't change my opinion that the entire team is included in every one of the RACI categories. 

The original question had this:

im thinking 

- product backlog and priority 

- who writes user stories

- who removes impediments 

I still feel that everyone in a Scrum Team is involved in all aspects of that and bear some level of responsibility, accountability, consulting and informing for all of it.  The first is the ultimate responsibility of the Product Owner but it should be done with input from the Development Team and the Scrum Master can coach on methods for doing the work.  The second is not actually mentioned anywhere in the Scrum Guide as user stories are not prescribed by Scrum, it is just a best practice.  But I will say that in every situation I have worked, the Product Owner will usually write an original draft that is then rewritten during refinement sessions.  It is also very common for Development Team members to write stories as they break down stories into sizes capable of being accomplished in a single sprint.  They also contribute stories related to technical debt.  The third can be anyone.  Yes the Scrum Guide states that the Scrum Master removes impediments but isn't teaching others how to do that also part of the making a team more self-organized and self-managing while also satisfying the removing impediments job?

Again, this is my opinion and interpretation. I appreciate and accept all of your feedback.  It is always welcomed and in some case in the future I will probably use some of your guidance when the situation warrants.