A RACI chart is one of the most, if not the most popular tool that is used to identify roles and responsibilities related to tasks and processes within an organization. But when it comes to making decisions, some project managers and other experts tasked with minimizing confusion among top-level stakeholders and cross-functional teams, prefer the RAPID method. In a very top-down organization, with multi-level management structures, the titles and roles written in corporate governance documents serve to minimize confusion over who has the power to make high-level decisions. Yet even so, at the top, conflicts among parent and sister companies, the CEO and CFO, and second-tier leadership teams still occur.
Barriers to decision-making can occur internal and external to the organization. When internal conflict occurs between parent companies and subsidiaries, it is called a Center vs. Business Unit conflict. This type of conflict occurs when high revenue generating business units and cash-hogs compete for funding. The parent company has a conceptual outlook and the ability to see the big picture and set the organization up for winning. When less performing business units demand capital investments it is up to the center to make the final call, which can cause conflict.
A form of external conflict can occur between strategic partners. Inside vs. Outside Partner conflict has increased with outsourcing, joint ventures and strategic alliances. When it is not clear on who owns the processes and decision-making power, tension can occur. In such arrangements both parties need a clear understanding of whose responsible for decisions around strategic planning and roadmaps, and whose responsible for executing this vision.
The RAPID technique can help organizations eradicate wasted time, confusion, and frustration across teams, leaders and business units. RAPID was created by Bain & Company as part of its decision-driven organization work. Although the steps are not necessarily performed in this order, the RAPID framework is outlined as follows:
R-Those who recommend an action and create a proposal
A-Those that agree by signing off on the proposal
P-Those who perform or execute the decision
I-Those that have input or are consulted about the recommendation, usually are actors
D-Sole person who will make the final decision and commit the organization to action
In conclusion, a key difference between the two methods is RACI is very tasks oriented and focused on deliverables (How), whereas RAPID is focused on making decisions about (What) will be acted on.