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"Accountability breeds response-ability."

Stephen Covey


Embrace ARCIx

posted in Business Coaching

Embrace ARCIx for Clear Project and Operations Accountability

In the fast-paced world of business, clarity in roles and responsibilities can make or break a project. Traditional RACI charts often leave teams confused about who is ultimately accountable, leading to project delays and inefficiencies. Enter the ARCIx matrix—a refined tool designed to bring clear accountability and streamline decision-making processes.

What is ARCIx?

ARCIx (pronounced arc-ee Ex) stands for Accountability, Responsibility, Consultation, Information, and Exclude (x). It’s a facilitation tool that aligns decision-making roles with the activities necessary for project success. Unlike traditional RACI charts, ARCIx explicitly defines the accountable person who "holds the bag" if a project fails. This clarity helps in assigning roles and ensuring everyone knows their part in the project's success.

ARCIx Defined:

  1. Accountable: The individual who is ultimately responsible for the outcome. This person ensures that the activity gets done, possibly doing the work themselves. Accountability cannot be shared.
  2. Responsible: Individuals who perform the work. Multiple people can share this role.
  3. Consulted: Those who provide input and feedback. This is a two-way communication.
  4. Informed: Stakeholders who need to be kept updated. This is a one-way communication.
  5. Exclude (x): Individuals who do not need to be involved in communications or decisions regarding the activity.

Why Use ARCIx?

  • Clear Accountability: Ensures one person is ultimately responsible, reducing confusion.
  • Efficient Communication: Distinguishes between those who need to be consulted and those who merely need updates.
  • Avoids Over-communication: By identifying who does not need to be involved, ARCIx prevents unnecessary meetings and communications.

Implementing ARCIx in Your Team:

1. Collaborative Creation: Build the ARCIx matrix in a collaborative setting, using visual aids like grids and sticky notes or a shared screen for remote teams. This method ensures everyone understands their roles and responsibilities.

2. Clear Definition of Roles: Each role should be clearly defined. For example, if Ben is responsible for defining the project scope, he works with Anne (also responsible), while Carlos and Diana are kept in the loop (informed). Ed, marked as "x," does not need to be involved.

3. Avoid Joint Accountability: Resist the temptation of assigning joint accountability. Shared accountability can lead to confusion and a lack of ownership. Individual empowerment and clear ownership are key to the ARCIx matrix.

4. Regular Reviews: Revisit the ARCIx matrix regularly to confirm roles, reaffirm commitments, and address any challenges. This keeps the team aligned and accountable.

Step-by-Step Instructions to Facilitate an ARCIx Session

  1. Preparation
    • Identify the Task/Project: Clearly define the task or project that needs role clarification.
    • Gather Information: Collect all relevant information about the project or task, including objectives, deliverables, timelines, and key stakeholders.
    • Select Participants: Choose key team members and stakeholders who have a significant role or interest in the task/project.
  2. Setting Up the Session
    • Schedule the Meeting: Arrange a time that works for all participants and ensure they understand the purpose of the session.
    • Prepare Materials: Have a whiteboard, flipchart, or digital collaboration tool (like Miro, Mural, or Google Docs) ready for visualizing the ARCIx matrix.
  3. Introduction (10-15 minutes)
    • Welcome Participants: Start the session by welcoming everyone and explaining the purpose of the ARCIx session.
    • Explain ARCIx Framework: Briefly explain what ARCIx stands for:
      • Accountable: The person ultimately answerable for the task's completion.
      • Responsible: The individuals who do the work to achieve the task.
      • Consulted: Those whose opinions are sought and considered.
      • Informed: Those who need to be kept up-to-date on progress.
      • Exclude: Individuals or groups explicitly excluded from the task or project to avoid confusion and overlap.
    • Set Ground Rules: Ensure that everyone understands the importance of clear communication and staying on topic.
  4. Define the Task/Project (15-20 minutes)
    • Present the Task/Project: Clearly describe the task/project, its objectives, and deliverables.
    • Outline the Steps: Break down the task/project into smaller, manageable steps or components.
  5. Create the ARCIx Matrix (30-45 minutes)
    • Draw the Matrix: Create a grid with tasks or project components listed on one axis and roles (team members/stakeholders) on the other.
    • Assign Roles:
      • Accountable: Assign who is ultimately responsible for the completion of each task.
      • Responsible: Assign who will carry out the work for each task.
      • Consulted: Identify who needs to be consulted for their expertise or input.
      • Informed: Determine who needs to be kept informed about the progress and outcomes.
      • Exclude: Specify who is explicitly excluded from involvement in each task to avoid confusion and overlapping responsibilities.
    • Discuss and Adjust: Facilitate a discussion to ensure clarity and agreement on each role assignment. Make adjustments as necessary.
  6. Review and Finalize (15-20 minutes)
    • Review Assignments: Go through the ARCIx matrix to ensure all participants agree with the role assignments.
    • Clarify Expectations: Make sure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities and the expectations for communication and decision-making.
    • Document the Matrix: Ensure the matrix is documented clearly and shared with all participants for future reference.
  7. Action Plan and Next Steps (10-15 minutes)
    • Create an Action Plan: Develop a plan for next steps, including deadlines and any follow-up meetings.
    • Assign Action Items: Ensure that any immediate actions required from the session are assigned and understood.
    • Feedback Loop: Establish how feedback will be gathered and how progress will be monitored.
  8. Closing the Session
    • Summarize Key Points: Recap the main decisions and role assignments made during the session.
    • Thank Participants: Thank everyone for their time and contributions.
    • Distribute Documentation: Share the finalized ARCIx matrix and action plan with all participants.


  • Monitor Progress: Regularly check in on the progress of tasks and adherence to the ARCIx roles.
  • Adjust as Needed: Be open to making adjustments to the ARCIx matrix if the project scope changes or if roles need to be redefined.
  • Gather Feedback: Collect feedback on the ARCIx process and session to improve future facilitation efforts.

By following these steps, you can effectively facilitate an ARCIx session, ensuring clear role definitions, streamlined project execution, and clear boundaries of involvement.

Research and References:

To further understand and implement ARCIx, you can explore the following resources to build your team:

Conclusion: By using the ARCIx matrix, teams can achieve greater clarity and accountability, leading to more efficient project management and successful outcomes. Remember, the key to effective ARCIx implementation is regular communication and review to ensure everyone stays on track and aligned with the project goals.