daci-decision-making-framework

DACI Decision-Making Framework

The DACI Decision-Making Framework was developed by software company Intuit in the 1980s. The DACI Decision-Making Framework assigns and then displays the responsibilities of the individual when making decision. DACI stands for driver, approver, contributor, and informed.

Understanding the DACI Decision-Making Framework

It is a group decision-making technique assigning roles and responsibilities to team members.

This includes identifying those who:

  • Must be consulted for further information.
  • Must be tasked with conducting research, interviews, surveys, or polls.
  • Must be informed once a decision has been made.
  • Make, approve, or disapprove decisions.
  • Follow or decide on recommendations.

By clearly delineating roles and responsibilities, the DACI framework encourages collaboration and reduces friction. Ultimately, this increases the speed of project management, allowing teams to make informed and timely decisions crucial to success. 

The four roles of the DACI Decision-Making Framework

DACI is an acronym of four different group member roles that aid in simplifying decision-making.

Following is a look at each:

D – Driver 

This is the individual who moves the decision making process forward. They ensure that decisions are made without necessarily making the decision themself on each occasion.

Drivers are tasked with setting decision timelines and ensuring that team activities run on schedule. They must also liaise with subject matter experts to make well-informed decisions.

A – Approver

The approver has the final say on a project aspect. Many companies may have more than one approver, but they should be kept to a minimum to fully realize the DACI benefits of speed and simplicity.

C – Contributor

A contributor is a person who influences decision making through specific knowledge or expertise. As a result, they act as consultants to drivers who then determine how that knowledge or expertise can be utilised.

I – Informed 

Informed individuals have no authority over decision making, nor are they directly involved in the project itself.

Nevertheless, their own work may be indirectly affected as the project progresses. For a team working on a new product, an informed group may encompass customer service, sales, and marketing. While these groups have no say on the final product, they should be regularly updated so that resource allocation and planning can progress accordingly.

Implementing the DACI Decision-Making Framework

Teams that want to implement the DACI model should:

  1. Determine the decision to be made. Here, the emphasis is on breaking the project down into smaller tasks and assigning a Driver to each. There should also be agreement on each action item and its associated outcomes.
  2. Define DACI roles. Then, assign roles such as Approver or Contributor to each member of the team using a spreadsheet. Ensure that every individual understands their role well. It’s also important to note that one individual can hold several roles if required.
  3. Define the workflow. At this point, the Driver begins developing the action plan. These plans should be broad and answer important questions. For example, who should attend meetings and how often will meetings occur once the project has begun? Will tasks be tracked by using a project management app, spreadsheet, or roadmap software? What will be the nature or structure of the decision-making process? In other words, will the Approver and Contributor have more say in decision making? Or will the project team as a whole collaborate directly with the Driver?

Key takeaways:

  • The DACI Decision-Making Framework clarifies roles and responsibilities for each member of a product development team to make better decisions.
  • The DACI Decision-Making Framework is based on four key roles that comprise the DACI acronym: Drivers, Approvers, Contributors, and Informed.
  • The DACI Decision-Making Framework is effective when projects are broken into smaller parts, with roles assigned to each. Before the project can begin, all members must understand and then agree upon their roles and responsibilities.

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