What is RATSI? – a better way to understand roles and responsibilities

In this post we explore the use of RATSI analysis as an alternative to other common types of responsibility modelling such as RACI. If you’d like to learn about Visual RATSI / RACI modelling read our post: Bringing RACI into the 21st Century.

Describing roles, and their responsibilities, (R&R) is one of the core benefits of process mapping. The most common approach to this is normally RACI analysis. However at Skore we prefer a clearer alternative – RATSI. Read on if you’d like to find out more about how RATSI works and how it differs from RACI.

Process step with RATSI displayed
A process activity described in Skore with RATSI applied

Why do we need an ‘approach’ for identifying responsibilities?

You will always need to know who will be involved in a piece of work and what is expected from them. This is all about role clarity and setting the right expectations for every member of the team. Charting roles and responsibilities, allows a process to remain high level while still capturing all the elements involved.

Want to learn more about Process Mapping? Read our guide to Process Mapping here

RACI analysis and alternative solutions

RACI is the most popular notation for R&R analysis but it falls short of being as clear as it should be.

RACI stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed. The problem is that in reality everyone has their own definition and understanding of what each of these terms means.

If you’ve had experience of using RACI – how many times have you argued with colleagues over the difference between Responsible and Accountable?

In many languages “Accountability” translates literally to “Responsibility”. In the world of global business this lack of clarity can lead to mistakes or confusion. In comparison RATSI does not use this concept of “Accountability” at all.

Instead it uses :

  • Authority over the work (but is not involved) and decision maker
  • Responsibility for ensuring that the work is done.

Introducing RATSI

RATSI stands for:

  • Authority – “owns” the activity or the decision to be made. Clearly not involved in the day to day work.
  • Responsible – for ensuring the activity is done (not necessarily doing the work but ensuring it is completed to an agreed standard).
  • Task – actually does the work as described.
  • Support – provides inputs in exceptional situations / edge cases (otherwise it would be Task).
  • Informed – is informed the activity will happen / has been done (successfully or not!).

It is important to remember that these are cumulative: someone could have Authority, Responsibility AND Task on a given activity.

Now, some practical tips

Did you know? With Skore you can apply RACI, RATSI or any responsibility matrix you wish to your process maps. Find out more here

Can I have multiple Authorities or Responsibles for a given task?

You should aim for one unique Authority / Responsible per task. But… so long as they don’t contradict each other you may have several on one activity. See this example:

Personal Care and Home Care being 2 different business units don’t approve the same campaign briefs. There is no conflict in the roles & responsibility, and for someone reading the process it’s hard to be confused.

When do I use Support vs. Task

If the person is involved in every occurrence of the process, they have a Task. Having any doubt about whether it’s Support or Task is often a good enough reason to “upgrade” it to a Task.

How many roles in total?

Finding the balance between a comprehensive list of roles and a process that is easy to read is challenging. It comes down to your personal preference.

A long list of roles is often down to identifying variations of a given role.

Tips for keeping your list of roles short:

  • Focus on describing the process clearly
  • Prioritise the Responsible.
  • Write a “generic” role for the Task

In Skore, you can write the complete list in a Sticky Note, or an attachment, if you want to capture it separately from the activity.

3 things to remember

  • Role clarity is at the core of your process mapping exercise, whether it’s RATSI, RACI or your own variation, it’s important to understand who does what
  • Limit the number of roles against an activity to keep the process readable
  • Limit the number of Authority and Responsible to one where possible

If you’d like to learn about Visual RACI modelling read our post: Bringing RACI into the 21st Century.

If you’d like to try out Skore and learn how to incorporate responsibility matrices into your process maps in an effective, easy and eye catching way then why not have a free trial:

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