Most people in our industry are familiar with a RACI (Responsibility for Inspecting, Accountable for the Item Completion, Consulted with before the step, Informed when the step is complete) chart or some form of Roles and Responsibilities matrix. They are often dry, and some people don’t enjoy being told what their responsibilities are, but it’s still a necessary part of any successful project.
Let’s look at some of the prime reasons it is important to consider RACIs for commissioning and startup (CSU) activities – besides just being told to in our Project Management handbooks.
In order to assign someone to an activity, you must first define it. This helps the team understand the activity, and also allows everyone to see the value. However, you cannot simply say “Start that Unit”. This is too broad and leaves too much up to interpretation. You don’t have to define everything down to the littlest detail, but it must be clearly understood by all involved.
There is one person accountable per task. Assigning more would be like having more than one person drive the same car. They only put one steering wheel in the car for a reason. Too many drivers and the car goes nowhere quick!
If you have the same person on a number of different activities then you might be setting yourself up for failure. During a project, activities are usually given to those that have a great track record of completing them. If we don’t organize efficiently, it could become more than that one person can complete.
For example, as a young boy, my family was clearing a field for my grandfather. It was taking longer than I would have liked, so I decided to drag a tarp out to collect trash on, and then drag it all to the fire. So, off I went, and it seemed like a great idea. After the first trip, though, I noticed it got harder and harder as I got closer to the fire. So hard that it took everything in me to get the last 20 or so steps. About to fall out from exhaustion, I looked back and saw my brothers and uncles laughing. I asked what was so funny. Well, come to find out, as I passed them, they would put their trash on the tarp, too. One person shouldn’t have to do it all! The method of putting CSU activities down on paper will force you to take a look at the work load.
The RACI chart helps identify the project teams that need to have input in the activity. This is not only important for the teammates that are responsible for the activity but helps make sure we avoid rework before we get down the road and the cost adds up. This also helps each teammate understand how their responsibilities need to be distributed and how their work affects the project as a whole. This leads to information sharing as part of the responsibility process.
To sum it up, it is important to define, organize, and properly assign your tasks for CSU activities. This may not solve every issue, but with the right process, the right people, and a clear understanding, it is much easier to work through them.
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