Who's on First?

In this famous Abbott & Costello skit,  you can see how confusing it can get to figure out "who" is doing "what" in a baseball game -- (Video Credit: Koch Entertainment)

Who's on First?


In an organization or on a project, confusion or misunderstanding about "who" is doing "what" can lead to inefficiency at best, and major work disruptions and  interpersonal conflict at worst.  A good technique to make sure everyone is on the same page about what contributions are expected from each team member is to create a RASCI Roles & Responsibility map.

R-A-S-C-I Mapping

The creation of the RASCI map and the discussions that happen during the course of its creation is what makes this tool so powerful - it forces everyone involved to objectively talk about the details of the process or project, who needs to be involved and agree upon the roles each person plays in each task. Ideally, a collaborative spreadsheet such as Google Sheets or Office 365 Excel is used so everyone involved can participate in its creation and ultimately agree on the details of the RASCI map.

The first step is to make a complete list of all the work to be completed. 
Tasks generally all done by the same person could be grouped together.  Any work that involves multiple steps with different people taking a different role in the work, should be broken down in more detail. All this should be put down in the rows of the spreadsheet. 

Next, identify all the people who are part of the process or project, including outside contractors. Add each person as a column in the spreadsheet.

Then, share the sheet with everyone involved and have them update their role in the process or project as follows:

R = Responsible for getting this task done. Only ONE person should be responsible for any one task. If two people put R for the same task, their roles need to be discussed or the task may have more than one component and needs to be broken down further.

A = Accountable for making sure the task gets done. In a small organization, the person who is responsible may also be accountable.  In larger organization, a manager or executive may be accountable for many tasks. 

S = Supports the responsible person. This could be administrative or backup help. It is more about helping the responsible person and less about giving the responsible person any input or insight to get the task done. Multiple people could be supporting the one responsible person.

C = Collaborates with the responsible person to get the work done. Without collaboration, the responsible person may not be able to get the task done, and in most cases, the collaboration improves the quality of the task's output. Multiple people could be collaborating with the one responsible person.

I = Informed people need the information or deliverable created as part of the task to get their work done.  Even if the task is complete, it is critical that its output is given to others in the organization who need to know the task is complete or use some piece of it in their work. Multiple people might need the information from the one responsible person.

Once the map is done, make sure everyone involved agrees with the result.  If there is some disagreement about who is "R" for a task, or some folks didn't realize they were "C" for a task and should be collaborating on it or there are other places where the team is not aligned, discuss the work, how it is best done and update the map.

The result - Role alignment! ... everyone knows what they should done doing (They now know that "Who" is on first base!)


Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

When you create a RASCI map, let me know how it went - did it solve your organizational issue?