As you check off the tasks in the work breakdown structure of the file share clean-up project, certain persons within the organization will be quite vocal. One way to clarify the roles and their responsibilities is via the mechanism of a simple RACI chart. Remember: simple is elegant.

What's a RACI Chart?

A Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed (RACI) chart is an essential tool in your file share clean up project. This mechanism will prevent hours usually lost in haggling (read: bickering) over who-decides-what as it pertains to the life of electronic objects on file shares.

Not familiar with the RACI chart? Here’s a brief overview:

  • Responsible (R): they do the work
  • Accountable (A): they are answerable for the work
  • Consulted (C): they are subject matter experts about the work
  • Informed (I): they’re kept up to date on progress of the work

What is a File Share Clean Up RACI Chart?

Typically, the RACI chart is a layered thing. In this case, data and information management (D&IM) roles drive the sectional template. The D&IM layer typically consists of four archetypes:

  • Data creators: role who first posts objects to the file share
  • Operational data owners: the team responsible for the objects
  • Data custodians: roles responsible for the data and information management-related life cycle
  • Business users: appreciators of the information

The organizational role layer is easily pulled from the organizational chart. In my experience, everyone except senior vice presidents and presidents create their own objects. Ensure directors, managers and analysts are accountable (at least!). The team leader is not only accountable but also ultimately responsible for the decisions around whether or not the electronic objects will remain in the share. Data custodians have the most interesting opportunity: to work with the information management team to carry out the life cycle process. Business users are assigned read-only access to the information -- they shouldn’t be allowed to perform any action other than view.

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A Few Items of General Guidance

This is a fundamental document to your project.

It is an organic device. It will change. This is fine -- but remember to document the changes.

The RACI chart only begins to take shape once you launch conversations with the customer, so don’t burden yourself with unnecessarily strenuous expectations at the top of the project.

Learning Opportunities

Add a layer between “Organizational Role” and “RACI." It can be titled simply, “Names.” You should list specific colleagues’ names from your stakeholder list.

Maintain a stakeholder list.

Add names to the stakeholder list when stakeholders recommend them.

Have a generic RACI chart in mind, of course -- but one struck against a particular storage location (like file shares) is much easier for everyone else in the organization to consume.

Life Beyond the Project

The file share clean up RACI chart has high potential. If your organization is making records management or information governance a tier-one priority in 2015, the content can be easily incorporated into job descriptions by the Human Resources department. Meanwhile, post it to your project SharePoint site for constructive criticism from your peers.