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DACI for Decision Making

written by: Heidi Wiesenfelder • edited by: Jean Scheid • updated: 7/30/2013

The dynamics of group decision making represent a major challenge of project management. The DACI tool is an effective tool for leadership and decision making and can be used for any project.

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    Driver, Approver, Contributor, and Informed

    The main purpose of the DACI model is to clarify roles in a way that makes it clear who has approval authority, who needs to be consulted before a decision is made and who needs to be informed once a decision has been made. It is used in Six Sigma projects and in other project management applications and can be used for general business operations as well.

    Using the DACI model, each individual or group is listed and assigned one or more roles. The role definitions are as follows:

    Driver: A Driver handles the overall coordination of the project, meeting, or business area that the DACI applies to. The Driver usually has responsibility for communicating with other team members and ensuring that roles and responsibilities are clear. Usually the Project Manager is the Driver for a project, though at times this is not the case and a project may even have more than one Driver.

    Approver: An Approver has authority to approve decisions affecting progress of the work being done by the project team or work group or to refuse approval. Approvers do not necessarily get to approve all decisions, so the DACI should specify which types of decisions are made by which Approvers.

    Contributor: A Contributor must be consulted to provide input for certain types of decisions. Often a Contributor is involved in the project but does not have Approval authority. At times a Contributor is an individual or department who is not a project team member but whose area of operations affects or is affected by the work of the project team.

    Informed: An Informed does not necessarily have a role while the project is underway or a decision is being considered, but must be informed once a decision or change is made. For example, the employees in a department whose process is being improved using a Six Sigma DMAIC project are in the Informed category for some decisions, as they will need to be informed when their process changes.

    Note that even the form of the word used for the final role -- -ed rather than -er or -or -- is reflective of the passive role that an Informed has relative to the others, who must take action for progress to occur.

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    Examples

    DACI1b 

    Here and using this link to a Decisions Affecting Board you can view an example of a simple DACI model. It shows how roles can be assigned for ongoing operations in the context of a Board of Directors.

    In the example, the same individuals have different roles for different types of decisions. In other instances, roles are more clearcut. For instance, suppose a contact center is rolling out a new performance plan for its agents. For this decision, the following roles would be appropriate:

    Driver: Project Manager

    Approvers: Human Resources Manager, Contact Center Manager

    Contributors: Contact Center Supervisors, Technology Group Supervisor, Employee Advisory Group

    Informed: Contact Center Employees, Technology Group Employees

    By clarifying these roles in advance, the project team can decrease the likelihood of confusion arising once the project is underway regarding who needs to be involved, who gets to make decisions and what additional communication outside the project team is required. Thus the DACI model provides a means of effective change management, which is a critical part of any key initiative.