DACI is a project management framework used to clearly define the roles of the various stakeholders on a project. DACI stands for Driver, Approver, Contributor and Informed. These roles, defined by DACI, make it clear who has authority in certain areas and situations. This allows a project to progress smoothly whenever group decisions have to be made.
DACI can bring clarification and unity to a team, enabling easy communication and a collaborative culture that works towards a common goal. So, if you’re struggling with getting decisions made in a project management environment, DACI can be right for you. Let’s take a closer look at the four parts of this decision-making framework.
The driver is the leader of the project. This is the project manager, and they manage the project from its inception to its completion. They are not always doing everything, but their hands are in all aspects of the project.
Initiation & Planning
The driver is usually the person who calls the initial kickoff meeting and explains the vision and purpose of the project. It’s defined through them. They’re leading these meetings, answering questions and generally offering guidance.
They also will gather ideas from project members and hear feedback from them about the progress of the project and how to deal with issues that come up over the life cycle of the project. They are also a soundboard for concerns expressed by those outside the organization.
The driver will create the plan, which is a detailed step-by-step task list for the project. This is usually done with a project management platform of their choice. Everything that must be completed in the project will be outlined here, including adding deadlines and noting how the progress with be measured.
Meetings & Communications
Meetings will also be the domain of the driver. The driver will meet with team members to make sure they’re accountable for the tasks they’ve been assigned and are meeting the progress milestones set up during the planning stage.
Communications, naturally, are also under the care of the driver, who must provide updates to stakeholders and teams on a regular basis. This is the vehicle to distribute information about the project’s progress and will address any issues that might arise.
There is going to have to be a person who pulls the trigger, so to speak. This stakeholder is understandably called the approver. That’s because they’re either the person or the group of people who have the authority to approve and veto in a project.
The approver is obviously in authority already. They tend to be either a manager, a founder of an organization or some group in an executive position. The size and structure of the company will determine who the approver is, as a smaller business is not going to have the staff and organizational structure to support a dedicated approver.
A driver doesn’t work in a vacuum. Any smart decision is fed by many streams, including experience, one’s gut and expert consultation. That’s where the contributor comes in.
A contributor is an expert in the field, one who will be consulted by the driver to offer their unique view on the problem and provide help with making the proper decision. This can be one person, but is usually a group of people, considering that problems range in type.
The driver is the one who assembles this group of expert consultants based on what is necessary in terms of experience and skill sets that are in the project. This might be one of the driver’s most important responsibilities, as the contributor adds the needed ballast to the project to keep it afloat.
Just as the name implies, the informed are those in the project who need to be informed. They’re usually the ones who just need to know about the progress of the project. This group doesn’t have any authority to affect the course of the project. They’re merely receptacles for information.
How to Use DACI
Now that roles are defined, it is likely becoming clear how this framework is going to assist in making the right decision the right way. It will also create efficiencies that will help move the project forward swiftly.
Basically, everything must be assigned to a driver. There is the overall project, naturally, but even each individual task should have a driver, so that when and if a decision must be made, the process is in place to do so.
Just as a driver must be identified, so must the approvers and contributors to give the driver the tools to make the right decision. Therefore, these positions must be assigned earlier rather than later. You want to have your groundwork done first.
The informed people on the project team can then be added to your project management software as observers to the tasks, so they’re either manually or automatically notified when a decision had been made. This keeps them updated on progress without adding another layer to the process.
Define the Framework
The driver will make these roles and set up the structure for DACI to work. By doing this first thing in the project, people are aware of their roles and there is less confusion when decisions are being made. Here, clarity is crucial.
The decisions as well as the roles must be defined, too. Creating a communication plan for the informed group is another responsibility of the driver. As noted, a project management software is a valuable tool, but there are many means of communication. Choose the one that best fits with your project, team and organization.
When a driver meets with the contributors, there also needs to be a way to collect their advice and form recommendations from the information. That information will be provided to approvers, who will then make the decision and the decision will be disseminated throughout the informed group.
When you’re using a decision-making framework like DACI, it’s important to have the right tools to quickly and easily share those decisions as efficiently as possible. ProjectManager is an online project management software with powerful tools to help you do just that. See how ProjectManager can assist with DACI by taking this free 30-day trial.