RAPID vs RACI: When To Use These Decision-Making Systems

Updated March 10, 2023

When organizations apply structure to their decision-making, the process becomes easier to understand and more efficient. Businesses can use a variety of frameworks and systems to help them structure their decision-making processes. Two systems organizations commonly rely on to make decisions are RAPID and RACI. In this article, we explain what RAPID and RACI are, including when to use each and the differences between the two.

What is RAPID?

RAPID is a framework that helps guide and improve organizations' decision-making. Organizations can become more efficient and productive when they improve their decision-making processes. The letters in RAPID represent the people or roles involved with an organization's decision-making. These roles are:

  • Recommend

  • Agree

  • Perform

  • Input

  • Decide

The main role in this framework is Decide, with each of the other roles supporting it. The roles don't always follow the order in which they're listed here. While the most common order is Recommend, Input, Agree, Decide and Perform, the framework is still called RAPID. Here's what each role involves:

Recommend

The person in this role recommends a course of action. The RAPID framework often begins here, with someone suggesting an action for the organization to take. The person making this recommendation typically supports their suggestion with research. For example, they might suggest the organization launch a new product.

Input

The people performing the Input role provide evidence for or against the recommended action. They perform research to learn the risks involved or how long it takes to complete the recommendation. When speed is a priority, the Recommend role might skip the Input role to make a faster decision.

Agree

Most organizations require certain people to agree with a recommendation before it can proceed. The person or people performing the Agree role can decline the recommendation. The Agree role often negotiates with the Recommend role to make adjustments until they can approve the recommendation. To speed up decision-making, keep the Agree role to as few people as possible.

Decide

After reviewing all options, the recommendation goes to a decision-maker. One person usually has the Decide role and the power to determine whether the organization proceeds with the recommendation. If the Decide role pursues the recommendation, they delegate responsibilities to the individuals in the Perform role immediately.

Related: How To Become a Better Decision Maker

Perform

The people in this role execute the decision. They decide how to best complete the action and create tasks for themselves. The performers want to act on decisions as quickly as possible to ensure the factors that affected the decision-making process don't change.

Related: Decision-Making Methods for the Workplace

Benefits of using RAPID

One of the advantages of using the RAPID decision-making framework within an organization is it ensures all decisions receive careful consideration. By moving each decision through several roles, the organization is less likely to make a hasty decision. This can be a drawback if the organization requires a quick decision, as RAPID's multiple steps take time.

RAPID also lets all individuals on a team participate in the decision-making process. The organization values their input. Through this framework, a decision-maker makes the final decision but they gather input from their employees first.

What is RACI?

RACI is a matrix that represents the key stakeholders in a process visually. Each letter in RACI represents a level of responsibility and how the individual engages with future decisions about that process. On the left side of the matrix is a list of the steps involved with a process. On the top is a list of the roles involved with the process. To create the RACI matrix, the creator places a letter (R, A, C or I) at each intersection of process step and position.

The letters in RACI stand for:

  • Responsible

  • Accountable

  • Consulted

  • Informed

Each role has its own level of responsibility for the task. The Responsible role is the person who performs the action. The Accountable role is the person responsible for whether the process succeeds or fails. This person has control over process changes.

The person in the Consulted role collaborates on the process and provides feedback. The Informed role is the person who receives updates on actions related to the process.

Related: RACI Chart: Tips and Best Practices

Example of how organizations use RACI

Below is an example of how an organization might use a RACI matrix to complete a project:

Godwin Industries wants to complete additional construction work. They determine the steps in this process include:

  • Define functional needs

  • Assess risk

  • Create design

  • Execute construction

The people involved with this process include the Project Manager, the Architect, the Contractor and the Client. To visualize responsibility levels, the project manager creates a RACI matrix, with the tasks listed on the left side and the roles listed horizontally across the top. They progress through each matchup of task and role and assign them a level of responsibility. The resulting matrix looks like this:

Project ManagerArchitectContractorClientDefine functional needsICIAAssess riskAICICreate designAAICExecute constructionACAIRelated: How To Create a RACI Matrix (With an Example) and Project Planning Success

RAPID vs. RACI

RAPID and RACI are two important tools for organizations and project managers that have different functions. RAPID focuses primarily on the decision-making process and the actions an organization takes. RACI focuses on deliverables and the person responsible throughout each stage of the process. An organization might use the RAPID framework to decide what to do, then use a RACI matrix to execute that decision by delegating responsibilities. By using both frameworks, the organization ensures accountability and order throughout all teams and departments. The key differences between these two tools include:

  • RAPID helps organizations determine their decision-making structure.

  • RACI helps organizations create an action plan for specific tasks.

  • RAPID is big-picture thinking and organization-wide design.

  • RACI focuses on the small decisions throughout an organization.

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