Attending the Generate Conference

May 17, 2018

I hade the pleasure of traveling to NYC for my first conference: Generate Conference, a conference for web designers. The conference consisted of 16 different sessions led by leaders across the industry. Topics spanned from new Javascript ES6 concepts to information architecture to diversity and inclusion. Every talk delivered insightful ideas that can be implemented on our team. There was one notable concept that I tookaway and want to incorporate into my project processes.

Defining project stakeholders

While listening to the speakers at Generate, a key concept brought up in two of the sessions was cross-functional project management. In Daniel Schutzsmith’s talk “How we use design systems to win on the web”, he introduced the MOCHA model. Dan Mall’s talk “Should designers…?” addressed the RACI matrix tool and how he used it on his team.

The RACI matrix is a table that outlines people’s roles in a project and what their responsibilities are. The x-axis contains the different stake-holders in the project (project manager, executive, designer). The y-axis contains the different tasks that make up the project. The acronym is then used to define the roles of the stakeholders on specific tasks. The roles make up the RACI acronym: Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed.

The MOCHAI model does not define any specific tasks of a project. It instead defines the roles of different stakeholders across a project. The roles that make up the MOCHA acronym are Manager, Owner, Consulted, Helper and Approver. Schultzmith’s team took it so far as to make the acronym MOCHAI and added Informed. While this is a role-based system, you could easily translate it into a matrix like RACI and assign these on a per-task basis.

Takeaways

Consistently defining roles using a system like MOCHAI or RACI is not something our team has used in the past. While we define stakeholders and try to keep people informed on tasks, it is easy to let someone get lost in the process. By explicitly stating roles ahead of time, we wouldn’t have to backtrack to find out where someone was left out. While I’m not sure which acronym we will use, following some combination of these would definitely be useful for our process.

Dan Mall and the RACI Matrix
Dan Mall presenting how his team uses the RACI matrix.