RACI Chart

Everything you Need to Know


What does the acronym RACI
stand for?

Let us understand this before we get into the micro details of the RACI Chart? RACI definition is simple; it stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed, and as the name suggests, it indicates how various activities mesh together to accomplish a given task or complete a project or a business activity. It is also known as a Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM) or a Linear Responsibility Chart (LRC). This work methodology was first published by three Norwegians, Kristoffer v. Grude, Tor Haug, and Erling S. Andersen, in the year 1984.

RACI Definition

RACI matrix is a responsibility assignment chart which frames a clear map about every task, milestone, or key decision involved in completing the project and assign tasks and responsibilities to different team members. A team consists of members who are responsible for each action item, accountable for every deliverable, and some members need to be consulted and informed. At the core level, the RACI matrix will help to figure out your clear expectations about project roles and responsibilities. It also motivates team members to take responsibility for their assigned task or defer to someone else needed.

RACI stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed, and each letter of RACI signifies a level of task responsibility.

Responsible

This team member works to complete the task, and every task assigned needs one responsible party who would complete the job. It is fine to assign a task to more members.

Accountable

This team member delegates work and are the only one who reviews the deliverables before it is complete. In some tasks, the Responsible party can also serve as the Accountable one. You have to make sure that only one Accountable person is assigned to each job or deliverables.

Consulted

These team members are typically the ones who would provide suggestions either on how it will impact their future projects or their domain of expertise on the deliverable itself. However, its a fact that every deliverable strengthens with review and consultation from more than one team member.

Informed

These team members are informed about the project's progress instead of being roped into every deliverable's details.

A large number of tasks, if not appropriately assigned, create a lot of mess among the organization. So, it becomes essential that each task or duty is assigned to different team members to avoid any chaos. A RACI chart is a simple matrix used to assign duties and responsibilities of each job, milestone, or decision on a project among members of the team. A clear map about the different tasks assigned to various members at each level of a project eliminates confusion and provides an answer to the age-old question, 'Who's doing what?'

In a nutshell, the RACI matrix is the simplest, most effective method for defining and documenting project roles and responsibilities. Exactly knowing who is responsible, accountable, who should be consulted and informed at every step, helps to improve the chances of success of the task or project or activity at hand.

RACI is a great tool to help in any project or activity. It is especially helpful in such activities or tasks which require no single but multiple resources and run at the same time or are mutually dependant on other tasks. A few areas where RACI can come handy are:

In the decision-making or approval process, which could hold up the project, the right approach would be to categorize on the following grounds:

  • Whether it involves high risk and not general decisions that can do or undo an activity or task.
  • Whether it involves high risk and not general decisions that can do or undo an activity or task.
  • Interconnected decisions that cross-cut decisions of different groups unnecessarily hampering the activity.
  • Low-risk decisions taken individually or by a team with limited inputs from others.
  • Infrequent ad-hoc low-risk decisions quickly resolved at the level of the task activists, itself.

In the decision-making or approval process, which could hold up the project, the right approach would be to categorize on the following grounds:

  • Whether it involves high risk and not general decisions that can do or undo an activity or task.
  • Interconnected decisions that cross-cut decisions of different groups unnecessarily hampering the activity.
  • Low-risk decisions taken individually or by a team with limited inputs from others.
  • Infrequent ad-hoc low-risk decisions quickly resolved at the level of the task activists, itself.

Having understood where RACI can be helpful,
let us try to understand how to
create the matrix quickly and easily:

Step

1

Step

2

Normally, it is not possible always to sit with the team to distribute the role assigned to each task while discussing. Therefore, you need to make a matrix where each task assigned is in the first column; the accountability of each person or team member assigned to is across the first row. You must make sure that every member assigned the role or responsibility agrees to and acknowledges his role as agreed to and laid out for him. There must be no confusion in this role assignment and of the understanding of the task involved in assigning the role. It helps in eliminating any confusion. In case of any ambiguity, the whole RACI matrix can go for a spin.

How a RACI matrix or RACI Chart template would look like is given below:

For creating a RACI matrix, you need to understand the following actions:

  • You must identify all the tasks which comprise incompletion of activity and subsequently listed in the first column on the left-hand side in the order they are to be completed for finishing an activity from top to bottom.
  • Next, you must identify who all are responsible for each task and list them in the first row of the chart from left to right
  • Post defining the steps and those involved in the completion of the task, each cell of the matrix must be filled with identifying responsibility, accountability, and who are the ones to be consulted and informed about each activity of the task.
  • Make sure that every task has one person assigned to it. No task should have more than one person or stakeholder accountable for it. If there is more than one person responsible for a task, then you should immediately resolve this issue to avoid any conflicts.
  • After preparing the RACI matrix, share, discuss and agree with all three persons or stakeholders involved to avoid any conflict or ambiguity at a later date.

Here is an example of a simplified RACI model:

In the preparation of a RACI matrix to resolve conflicts and ambiguity each row and column must be carefully studied for the following issues for each step or stakeholder:

  • One stakeholder or person responsible should not have many tasks assigned to him, implying that there should not be too many 'R's' in the matrix. It simply gives an adage to the saying, "Too many cooks spoil the broth."
  • Make sure no cell is empty; otherwise, it would mean that the team member is free from all responsibilities, or no one is catering to that particular task in the completion of the activity, which leaves a gaping hole in the action for an activity.
  • Each accountable person should accept and agree to the responsibility or role assigned to him in the process of completion of the task. Also, if there is more than one person accountable for a task, it would confuse and slow down the decision-making process.

It is not essential that all the stakeholders or those involved be consulted or informed of every task in the completion of the activity. Those closely associated with the task may be consulted or informed. It also otherwise would result in listening to everyone, which in the long run would slow down the activity.

Another example of RACI Chart is of a site map activity which gives a better insight into the RACI charting, enabling understanding of the various tasks involved in this activity:

In the above discussion, we have tried to understand what RACI Chart is, in detail, and how this chart or matrix can help to structure a project or an activity to lead to its rightful completion without getting bogged down amid things. There are many versions of the RACI matrix. The alternative version of RACI used by many practitioners helps get rid of the confusion between the terms responsible and accountable, which many people find difficult to differentiate. This alternative version modifies the 'R' and 'A' version keeping the 'C' and 'I' version the same as the original. In this modified or alternative version 'R' stands as responsible for carrying out the task implying one person for each task but 'A' changes from accountable to 'Assist' implying those who assist in the completion of the task, Rest 'C' and 'I' remaining the same as in the original version.

How can you make RACI work for you?

The RACI matrix is useful for the responsibility assignment. To understand how you can apply this model, you must analyze it. Balance is the key to success with RACI. If there are not enough or too many people in each role, it prevents or slows down the task completion.

Keep these things in mind to effectively use RACI:

  • One accountable per task: If one more than one person is working on the project, then it would be like having one car and multiple drivers driving it. It doesn't work, but also if there will be no driver, then it wouldn't be possible to move the car forward.
  • The right amount of people responsible: Assigning too many people to the same task would only mean wastage of resources and time. So, if you have a quick and straightforward task, responsible can also be accountable.
  • Do not have too many consults: Having too many consults will slow down the task completion.
  • Keep people informed: Mostly, you don't need to consult with people, all you need is to inform them. Ensure that you have people in this role, or else you could have problems, such as lack of team collaboration.

The RACI matrix is useful for the responsibility assignment. To understand how you can apply this model, you must analyze it. Balance is the key to success with RACI. If there are not enough or too many people in each role, it prevents or slows down the task completion.

RACI Project Management Software

Business becomes challenging to handle when the tasks and role of people become unclear. A business can be brought back on track to success, or if you need more accountability at your management level, then using the right program can keep your business on track. RACI project management software is the most excellent tool for managers and supervisors as it lets them allocate or assign different tasks to different team members. RACI project management software is a practical program for any business who wishes to stay on top of their deadlines.