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.
  • 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.


    Benefits of RACI project management software

    There are different benefits of using RACI project management software, which would help bring your business to come on track of success. It is an ideal program for any manager to stay accountable for any decision regarding business tasks and projects. The RACI project management software is kind of an extra management parameter that would allow the company to focus more on completing the tasks rather than wondering and deciding who would be best for the specific team. The different benefits of RACI project management software include:

    More responsibility, less confusion

    In many cases, people become confused about how to perform various tasks, especially when it is not under their defined job. But when you use the RACI matrix to assign different tasks and roles to different members, it becomes easy to identify who does what. The best feature of RACI project management software is that you can assign multiple tasks and roles to multiple team members. This feature is important to those who work on a large project with other people where they can identify what they need to do and how to make the task easier. It is a practical tool for those who need to stay in communication without creating hindrance to one another constantly. It also avoids blaming anyone for someone else's job.

    Accountability

    Accountability is another best feature of RACI project management software. When it comes to responsibility, it is difficult to hold the company's manager accountable if they don't accept their mistake. Even if it is the manager's responsibility, they may deflect the criticism and blame their lower-level team members. But RACI project management software lets the manager and team members accountable for their responsibility. RACI chart is an ideal way to ensure that the right people are doing the right job, listing everyone in the list starting from bottom to the top. It not only outlines the listed tasks but highlights what they are responsible for. It makes sure that the right team member is accountable for every decision they make and where there is no room for deflecting the blames to others.

    Assess Workloads

    After the assignment of the task, it is important to track every person's workload. You can reassign the task if it looks like the member has got more to handle. Tracking the workload of the employees ensures the efficiency of that person. Using the right RACI project management template tracks which member has taken too many assignments on, and you can reassign new projects that could help them grow and keep them working. It serves as an excellent motivation for employee retention.

    Prioritizing project resources

    The toughest part of running a project is to know where to put the resources. The ideal way of completing the project on deadline is prioritizing the resources; that is, if one area of a project is lacking, more resources can be used in this area, whereas if a part doesn't require much attention, resources can be diverted. The RACI not only helps in prioritizing the resources but helps save money. Besides wasting money on a project that does not require much attention, funds can be diverted to other projects that are slacking. An ideal thought of every company is to ensure that no project goes above the budget, wasting money on its resources.

    The smooth operation of the team

    When a project is taken, it becomes essential that it's every part runs smoothly to ensure that everything gets done. Being on the same page improves efficiency, and the project works smoothly. When everyone is aware of their duties, tasks, and responsibilities, communication becomes easier and faster. It makes the teams work seamlessly as no more vague mails will be sent since everyone is aware of what is going on.

    Checks your staffing level

    The RACI project management software helps you to find out the loopholes in your company and strike them out. When you already know your weaknesses, it becomes easy to hire employees, whether it be temporary workers or full-time employees. This project management template creates a winning situation for the company as well as the employees because all the weak spots can be filled, and employees can apply for promotion. It is one of the most practical ways to stay on top of each department without wasting much time and resources on the areas that need to be corrected.

    Easier communication between teams

    The RACI project software not only helps in easy communication among the team members but helps find the right person for serious complaints. Having someone always available to handle team members' issues and directing them to the right person makes the task easier. It cuts down any prolonging issue that can happen in the company.

    Identifying the irresponsible

    When any team member avoids his/her responsibility, others have to take charge of that, which creates mistrust among members resulting in a toxic environment. It is not good for the company as well as the project they are working for. Knowing who is avoiding responsibility lets the manager step into the problem and solve them. Encouraging the members to be responsible for their project helps the company move forward smoothly.

    Team Communication

    RACI project management software not only provides easier communication, but every individual is aware of his/her responsibilities. It has become an ideal way of ensuring that any project is completed accurately and quickly. Striking off the communication helps the team members work as they can consult with one another when they are having any trouble with the task. RACI project management software makes the project appear to be broken down easily enough for every individual to figure out what is going on, ensuring the smooth functioning of the team.

    Authority is clearly defined

    When the vendor and contractor are in the office, they might not know who to speak in case of problems or issues. Now, this confusion can lead to miscommunication and may result in project delay. Everyone must know who to talk to and follow directions. Knowing where to go and who is the person responsible helps in ensuring that there is no confusion. Even if they have to sign in with the security guard, they may receive improper directions. Preventing this situation is very important, especially when the company is dealing with sensitive materials. A RACI project management software helps in resolving this issue. Moreover, speaking with proper authority is important for security reasons and to make sure that everything is where it should be.


    The Bottomline:

    RACI charts help businesses save a lot of time and money, especially in the long-term. Even new members can catch up to speed quickly, and there will be no more issues of overlap. It is ideal for any company that works on numerous projects at once. In the present scenario, there are many applications and software programs that make work easy and quick. There is no reason that you should continue to use the spreadsheet-based RACI chart template. It doesn't matter how big or small your company is, a RACI project management software can help you run things smoothly.