RAPID® is a registered trademark of Bain & Company, Inc.
The RAPID® framework is a decision-making tool developed by Bain & Company, a global strategy and management consulting firm.
The framework is a structured, repeatable process that helps organizations make sound decisions quickly and efficiently by clarifying roles and responsibilities. The framework is based on five key roles in the decision making process:
Recommend, Agree, Perform, Input, Decide
Though the acronym is RAPID®, the natural flow of contributions the process are Recommend, Input, Agree, Decide, and Perform.
First, the team frames the decision with recommended options and the broader team and stakeholders provide input. The group of approvers then consent or reject the decision and document their views. In the final stage, the individual who is ultimately accountable makes the decision and transitions responsibilities to the individuals responsible for executing on the decision.
The RAPID® roles and responsibilities:
- Recommend: This role is typically assigned to subject matter experts who provide their expert opinion on the decision at hand. They are responsible for analyzing the situation and providing recommendations to the decision-makers.
- Input: This role is assigned to stakeholders who have a vested interest in the outcome of the decision but may not have decision-making authority. They are responsible for providing input and feedback on the decision.
- Agree: The person in this role has the authority to make the final decision and is responsible for ensuring that the recommendation is in line with the organization's strategy and goals.
- Decide: This person is responsible for making the final decision based on the provided recommendations and taking into account the input provided by the stakeholders.
- Perform: This role involves implementing the decision made by the Agree person. This person is responsible for executing the decision and ensuring that it is carried out effectively.
Clarifying these roles helps ensure that each member involved in the process knows their specific responsibilities and sets expectations for all contributors, reducing confusion and improving the efficiency of the decision-making process.
Why use the RAPID® framework?
Buy-in to the decision making process
Clarifying roles and responsibilities up front sets expectations for the process and any objections to how individuals contribute can be worked out in the beginning, instead of risking resentment at the end of the process.
The RAPID® framework determines ownership and accountability up front and provides space for dissenting opinions without challenging that ownership. It provides a foundation for teams to disagree and consent.
Defining roles and responsibilities often force the creation of a central document to collaborate on instead of the decision 'thread' getting lost in meetings and emails. Effective framing allows new contributors to get up to speed on the decision quickly and after the decision is made, the thought process behind it is preserved.
It's difficult to learn from and adapt implicit decision making model. The way teams can systematically learn from decisions is by recording. An explicit process can be reviewed, challenged and improved.
It's a great place to start
Roles and responsibility models like RAPID® and DACI are a digestible introduction to an explicit decision making process. Without clear roles and responsibilities, the decision making process can quickly become cloudy and stagnant.
Process getting in the way of speed
Not all decisions need a heavy decision making process. There's a threshold where it becomes overkill and has an adverse effect. In many cases, when sole authority can be delegated, it reduces escalations and moves decisions quickly.
Clear roles and responsibilities are meant to reduce bottlenecks, but an overprescribed process can reintroduce unnecessary chokepoints.
When expectations are set for the level of contribution needed by each role (e.g. input vs approve), it's much more manageable than a large group of people that want to be more involved than necessary.
It can be effective to get input from as many different perspectives as possible, but the core group tasked with converging (Agree, Decide, and Perform) should remain relatively small for the sake of speed.
Anchoring on recommendations
Early in the recommendation phase, if unstructured, it's easy for the group to anchor on initial recommendations and discount other options moving forward. To avoid this, it's helpful to use nominal groups when sourcing and evaluating options.
- Bain & Company (2011). RAPID®: Bain’s tool to clarify decision accountability
- Blenko, M. W., Mankins, M. C., & Rogers, P. (2010). Decide and deliver: 5 steps to breakthrough performance in your organization. Harvard Business Press.
- Rogers, P., & Blenko, M. (2006). Who has the D?. Harvard Business Review, 84(1), 52-61.
- Jeff Weiner talking about how they use the RAPID framework at LinkedIn
- Brian Armstrong at Coinbase talking about how they use the framework at Coinbase
- Coinbase blog: How We Make Decisions at Coinbase