MOCHA is a project management methodology or framework that helps clearly define the different roles that specific employees occupy during a given project.
There are some situations where MOCHA is really helpful and definitely worth implementing instead of other competing project management frameworks. MOCHA is most easily applied with flexible, customizable project management tools like monday.com, especially if you have team members working remotely.
In this guide, we'll answer the question of “What is MOCHA?” by walking you through what MOCHA stands for, looking at how and when you should be using it, and exploring how to implement it effectively by using project management software.
- What Is MOCHA in Project Management?
- What Does MOCHA Stand for?
- When Should You Use MOCHA?
- The Benefits of Using MOCHA in Project Management
- How to Implement MOCHA Using Project Management Software
- Example of MOCHA Being Used in a Project
- What Is a Cascading MOCHA?
- Verdict: Is Mocha Actually Useful?
- MOCHA FAQs
What Is MOCHA in Project Management?
MOCHA is a project management framework designed to bring organization and clarity to the roles of different team members working on a project, for the mutual benefit of everyone else working on it. MOCHA is actually an acronym, made up of the initials of the words Manager, Owner, Consultant, Helper, and Approver.
MOCHA is similar to the RACI project management framework, which is a little older and more widely used, but MOCHA puts more focus on accountability and there are more clearly defined decision-making roles. Implementing frameworks like this is a great project management skill to have, whether it's MOCHA, RACI, or another.
What Does MOCHA Stand for?
Now you know what MOCHA stands for, here’s a little more detail on what each of the roles referenced in the above acronym means:
Manager: This person effectively delegates responsibility for a project to the owner. Their role consists of holding the owner accountable by asking challenging questions, being on hand to give advice, and stepping in if things are going seriously wrong.
Owner: The owner is, as you’d expect, the person with the responsibility for executing and delivering the project. The buck stops with them, and they will ensure that everyone in the team understands exactly what is required for the project to succeed. They will attempt to delegate tasks effectively to achieve this.
Consultant: This role can be called upon for input at any point in the project. Ideally, individuals occupying the role will have some expertise related to the project or be able to provide a “different angle” when it comes to dealing with challenges and creating solutions.
Helper: Other team members working on a MOCHA project will be helpers. They may have responsibility for executing a specific task, or set of tasks, depending on the size of the project. In really large projects, helpers may have so much to do that they need their own team – as well as their own Cascading MOCHA (more on this later).
Approver: This person may be the manager or owner’s supervisor, an external stakeholder, or an operations manager who sets and tracks budgets. They have little input into the day-to-day workings of projects but will sign off on major decisions.
When Should You Use MOCHA?
MOCHA can be useful in a variety of different situations. You should consider implementing a MOCHA framework if there are multiple external stakeholders involved in a project. They will appreciate the clearly defined roles and responsibilities that come with MOCHA, which will foster accountability and ensure everyone’s contributions are clearly understood.
Another time when it may be useful to use MOCHA is during projects that seem to have, at least at the start, extensive overlapping responsibilities and tasks. MOCHA will bring clarity to situations like this, and ensure team members aren’t stepping on one another’s toes or dividing duties poorly.
In a similar sense, when you have a variety of different teams, functions, or departments working on the same project, implementing a MOCHA framework can help everyone quickly get onto the same page, and avoid any potential issues further down the line.
Finally, MOCHA will be helpful if your project demands constant communication between the parties involved. Uncertainty about exactly who’s carrying out what task or function can result in both confusion and wasted time. Some projects demand minimal communication once roles and responsibilities have been dished out, but the more collaborative yours is, the more MOCHA will help.
The Benefits of Using MOCHA in Project Management
There are a myriad of benefits that come with implementing most project management frameworks, such as Agile or Waterfall, as they provide structure and purpose to projects, particularly software and product development. However, there are some benefits that you'll experience if you apply the MOCHA framework to your projects specifically:
- Clearly defined roles in projects
- Higher levels of accountability
- More efficient communication
- Brings structure to collaboration & discussion
- Expertise is always on hand
- Reduced conflicts & less risk
Along with being measured by SMART goals, having clearly defined roles are perhaps the most important indicator of project success. If individuals working on a project know exactly what’s expected of them – as well as all of the people they’re interacting with – it makes for frictionless working.
How to Implement MOCHA Using Project Management Software
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to implement MOCHA properly is by using project management software.
Most businesses managing projects in 2024 use software to assist with organization and collaboration, and tools like monday.com provide a great platform for the MOCHA framework to be implemented.
Project management software with highly capable workflow creation and task management features, such as monday.com or Wrike, have features that let you assign users to tasks. You could, due to their customizability, also assign project roles if that’s easier. When we tested Wrike recently, it scored 4.7/5 for task management, the highest score aside from ClickUp.
Along with excellent task management features, ClickUp also has a range of collaboration options including a project message board, task comments, and an online whiteboard for ideation sessions. Paired with the clearly defined roles of the MOCHA framework, communication will be seamless.
A program like Asana, which has easy-to-build dashboards for housing project data, naturally scored very highly for data visualization during our most recent project management software tests (although Asana's pricing plans are quite expensive). Having a program like this will ensure that managers, owners, and approvers can glean insights on project progress without having to chase individuals for them or delve through reams of spreadsheets.
Your team’s MOCHA framework could also be used to dictate the automation you build within your project management software. Most of the best project management software providers will let you build automations that facilitate the completion of basic project management tasks and functions without your intervention. For example, a helper could build an automation command that would automatically send an email alert to the project owner once a task status changes to “completed”.
By using your MOCHA framework to determine your automations, you’ll save even more time that can then be spent on other, more useful tasks that require a human touch. Check out all of the providers we test below:
All prices listed as per user, per month (billed annually)
Best for Budget Tracking
Best for Task Management
A great task management system due to strong customizability and support team, with a generous free trial.
A great user experience all round, with an easy-to-use automation builder and great budget tracking capabilities.
Slick software with a highly powerful core and an AI assistant, plus a genuinely usable free tier for individuals.
A simple task-list-based project management platform with an acceptable free tier.
A feature-rich service with two plans for enterprises, and a free tier for new users to try.
A fairly-priced, stripped-down option best for small teams who need a central location for basic task management.
A great tool for spreadsheet-natives, which can take your Excel-based task planning to the next level.
A great value piece of software that's ideal for tech, software development and engineering teams.
A solid project management solution with an attractive free tier for small teams and a very affordable premium plan.
A very basic, relatively limited software that's a lot simpler than its competitors.
Example of MOCHA Being Used in a Project
Here’s a quick example of how you might dish out the MOCHA roles within a project.
Project: An events company has been tasked to plan a fundraising event for a non-profit that saves stray dogs and finds them new homes.
- Manager: Holly (director)
- Owner: Helena (senior events coordinator)
- Consultant: Jess (venue liaison), Lotti (social media consultant), Sam (head of kennels)
- Helper: Charlie (junior events manager), Duncan (junior events coordinator), Amy (publicity), Fernanda (logistics & administration)
- Approver: Julia (accounts), Holly (director), Matt (operations manager)
In this example, the project's manager, Holly, will be advising and overseeing Helena's work as she takes ownership and responsibility of the project as the owner. Helena's task is to delegate work out to the helpers, Charlie, Duncan, Amy, and Fernanda, who have different roles and will “Help” in different ways.
However, Helena may also need to consult Jess – who is a venue liaison – if there are some unforeseen logistical issues with where the event is being held. Similarly, Lotti may be brought in to advise on how the event should be marketed online, but may not be needed once all the tickets have sold out (or if they sell out very quickly). Sam, on the other hand, may be asked to provide some inspiration for marketing campaigns and the delivery of the event because he is a passionate employee who works hands-on with stray dogs.
Finally, Julia will be approving the budget, which Matt is also likely to sign off on and check over. Although Holly is the manager of this project in the MOCHA framework, as director of the company, she is also an approver in this instance.
What is a “Cascading” MOCHA?
A cascading MOCHA is a bit of a fancy term for a mini-MOCHA or a “MOCHA inside a MOCHA”. Still confused? Essentially, if you’re running a large project and the main helpers have so much to do that they have to set up their own task forces or sub-teams, they may want to run their own MOCHA for their team.
In that MOCHA, the helper would become the owner, and so on, and so forth. When this happens, you have what is called a “cascading” MOCHA.
Verdict: Is Mocha Actually Useful?
Whether we like it or not, the business world is now more complicated than ever.
There are more details for managers and companies to consider when running projects, which are increasingly multi-faceted and often involve different stakeholders and contributors from around the globe.
With this in mind, frameworks like MOCHA help provide clarity around responsibility, regardless of the complexities of the project. Clearly defined roles lead to higher levels of accountability, which ensures people show up to be counted.
Along with project management software like monday.com, which seeks to simplify and automate processes and provide a platform for efficient collaboration, the MOCHA framework is one of your best bets when it comes to ensuring project success.