Chasing that elusive client feedback

Co-creation and collaboration are increasingly central to successful designer/client relationships. Problem is, these processes introduce added complications when gaining client approval.

Previously there was one presentation and one client approval. Co-creation introduces extra people in the ideation phase – that means many more opinions to consider and appease during deliverables.

Introducing RASCI

RASCI or RASQUI or RASQI – is a process known by a mixture of acronyms. All of them label a framework/tool used to identify roles and responsibilities in a project team. It’s not new by any means, infact many clients may be familiar with the process.

The advantage

The main role of RASCI is to identify team members, delegate roles and allocate responsibilities at the start of a project. It means right from the beginning everyone understands what they need to do, with whom and by when.

That helps:

  • clarify the steps needed to complete a project: which in turn helps identify scope creep
  • avoids confusion about who is responsible for what: avoiding ‘I thought you were taking care of that’ scenario
  • helps set expectations for everyone involved: helping time management, and
  • makes the decision-making hierarchy clear: who owns the problem, who reports to whom, when and how often.

The disadvantage

The disadvantage of RASQUI is that it is traditionally used by larger teams. It is less useful in design studios because many are less than five people – so instead of using it inhouse, why not suggest clients use RASQUI to streamline their decision making process?

The What Clients Think survey identified clients like designers to be proactive — to take the role of an advisor. RASCI could be recommended as an approval process – something many clients struggle with – during the planning or discovery phase of a project.

How RASCI might work

The letters stand for derivations of: Responsible, Accountable, Support, Consulted and Informed. (Some deriviations include a Q for Quality.)


The person who owns the problem and is responsible for delivering the complete task. It could be your client contact – someone with access and experience managing all the internal stakeholders. It is not a junior role – hopefully it’s someone in, or with direct access, to the c-suite.

Accountable (also approver).

The person that approves decisions and can make a call when things get messy. There must be only one accountable person specified for each task or deliverable. This may be the end client.


People and resources allocated to provide a supporting role to helps complete a task (such as writers or the IT department).


People whose opinions are sought – often subject matter experts – who can provide the valuable advice or consultation before decisions are made. They don’t physically help complete the task, they just provide advice. If working with a client’s HR department it may be the comms team (as brand police) or the legal team (to approve T&C’s of a competition).


These are people that are affected by the outcome of the tasks, so need to be kept up to date with progress. It is usually a one-way conversation keeping them up to date with progress. This could be the someone further up the client foodchain, or media buyers or printers.

How to use RASCI

The simplest way to demonstrate RASCI is via a matrix populated during the discovery and planning stage. The process identifies who is needed (roles and responsibilities), and helps clients plan their time. It stops ‘additional’ players inadvertently coming to meetings and then feeling they need to offer an opinion. I’ve never liked orange.

The added bonus is it’s a great way to identify scope creep in a project – it soon becomes apparent if the decision-making process ends up more complex than initially planned.

This is what a RASCI matrix might look like:

Why introduce RASCI to a client:

Because it helps identify the decision-maker.

Assembling a RASCI matrix identifies the real decision-maker – something that often only gets uncovered well into a project. For example, a brand manager might have to admit it’s actually the CMO that has the final decision. That gives you the opportunity to suggest the decision-maker’s time might be better spent early in the process during strategy to ensure the project starts with complete agreement from all parties.

Because it helps when working with untrained clients.

Most client’s are not educated at responding to creative – that’s why responses are often subjective ‘I don’t like that font’ rather than objective ‘does the solution meet the business objective’. A RASCI process asks opinions of the right person at the right time. It means designers can focus their time and energy in the right direction.

Next step

A client approval matrix is a simple tool that works brilliantly with RASCI to streamline client approvals. Introduced early in the discovery/planning stage, it helps frame your client’s feedback. More next week …

Take away.

Client approvals can be the most difficult, frustrating part of a project but keep in mind they may be as equally frustrating for your client. Introducing this simple approval tool early in the project may save you both grief.

Want more information like this … take a look at The Business of Design, a publication including all the information you need to start, manage and grow an Australian design studio. Written by Australian design practitioners for Australian design studios.


Carol Mackay

Want more information like this delivered to your inbox every Wednesday?
The Design Business Review is Australia’s only online design management magazine. It’s professional development information written specifically for Australian designers by Australian designers. Best of all, it’s free.


After 30+ years running a graphic design firm, Carol pivoted from client-focused projects to consult to the design industry. Now with the Design Business Council she uses her experience, and research, to help designers build robust, sustainable businesses, and help businesses integrate, and profit from, design.

The core of the DBC is the building a design community – over 85% of designers work in businesses with less than 5 employees, many less than 3. That means designers don’t have the same support network of other professionals. The DBC’s solution is supplement paid gigs with mentoring breakfast meet-ups, informative UNseminars and practical workshops in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

In 2019 Carol co-founded the Business of Design Week. The next one is scheduled for early 2020.

An archive of her design work at
Her current work can be viewed at and

Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.