It is important to identify in what role stakeholders are involved in an IT delivery process. This identification can be made concrete by listing all stakeholders in an ARCI matrix and assigning them an involvement type.
In the ARCI matrix we distinguish 4 different types of involvement, the name ARCI is an acronym and based on the first letters of each type of involvement. The involvement-types are:
- Accountable people are also known as the principal stakeholders. They make the final decisions for example about budget and go/no-go. They must sign off or approve when the task, objective or decision is complete. This person must make sure that responsibilities are assigned in the matrix for all related activities. There is only one person accountable per activity. A person can be both Accountable and Responsible at the same time.
- Responsible people are important because they have a role in making sure that work gets done, these people are the “doers” of the work. In pure high-performance teams such as in Scrum or DevOps the team as a whole is responsible and the team members execute the tasks. In sequential or hybrid IT delivery models there may be just one person responsible or several people can be jointly responsible and do the work for a task together.
- Consulted people have valuable information or opinions that must be heard prior to making decisions or who need to give input before the work can be done and signed-off on. This may be high-level information or detailed information, so people may need to be consulted in very different stages of the IT delivery process. These people are “in the loop” and active participants.
- Informed people are the kind of people that do not actively contribute to the IT delivery process but need to know what’s happening, for example to keep activities aligned across teams or across organizations. They often are the informal influencers, people that do not have formal power but do have influence on other people involved.
Filling in the ARCI matrix is the result of a proper investigation of the stakeholders, which often involves a discussion with these stakeholders. Also keep in mind that the stakeholders are not a static group, so the list of stakeholders in the ARCI matrix and the types of involvement regularly need to be reviewed and, whenever necessary, adjusted.