It’s not unusual to lose track of tasks, especially when managing complex projects. You might have an air-tight project plan and a stellar team to back it up. But, if team roles and responsibilities are ambiguous, you’re setting the stage for project failure. In comes confusion, crankiness, and demotivation within your project team.
Create a RACI or RASCI chart to avoid these issues and set your project up for success. A RACI/RASCI model is the simplest and most effective approach project managers can use to define and document project roles and responsibilities. Let’s take a look at why.
RACI/RASCI Chart Explained
Some project managers use other variations of this method, such as RASCI. RASCI adds the 5th role, Supportive, to the matrix. This role covers anyone who lends the Responsible person a hand with completing the task but isn’t responsible for the outcome. While they are very similar, the lesser used RASCI is probably slightly outdated and less relevant, so for the remainder of this article we’ll focus on RACI.
So, a RACI chart is a simple visual tool used in project management to map task roles and responsibilities. The diagram clarifies who is doing what in the project and avoids confusion—which can slow down project execution and increase costs.
A RACI matrix lets you set clear expectations about project roles and responsibilities. It helps avoid having multiple people working on the same task or against one another because tasks weren’t clearly defined from the beginning.
Additionally, a RACI matrix encourages team members to take responsibility for their work and stay accountable. And when they encounter difficulties, they know who to turn to for assistance.
The acronym RACI stands for:
This is what each component means:
- Responsible: This person is directly responsible for successfully completing the task or deliverable.
- Accountable: This role has the final authority over successfully completing the task or deliverable. They assign tasks or deliverables to the responsible role and is the last one to review them before they’re deemed complete. While you can have many people under the responsible role, you can only have one accountable person assigned. It’s also important to note that you (the project manager) may not necessarily be the accountable person.
- Consulted: This is someone who acts as an adviser to a task. They’re subject matter experts who have unique insights valuable to the project. Refrain from having too many consulted people as they may have differing opinions causing project delay and poor performance.
- Informed: This can be a client or executive who isn’t directly involved in the project but needs to be updated on its progress.
When to Use a RACI Chart for Your Project
You can use a RACI chart to manage just about any project. But it’s most beneficial in projects where tasks require multiple resources, run concurrently, or depend on other tasks.
You can use the RACI matrix for projects:
- That are large-scale and have clear-cut deliverables.
- With static roles and responsibilities.
- That are complex and long-lasting and have a wide variety of stakeholders, tasks, and milestones.
- Spanning multiple departments.
- In highly regulated industries.
Using RACI with Other Project Management Methodologies
The RACI matrix can also be used with other project management methodologies such as Agile. But, before you start using the RACI matrix for your agile projects, remember that not all agile projects require a RACI matrix.
When incorporating RACI to Agile or Scrum, you’ll need to add an extra role, F (facilitator). This is because agile projects often already have predefined roles and responsibilities. The product owner makes the final product decisions and gives approvals. Hence, they’re Accountable. The development team is Responsible for completing tasks.
As you can see, these roles are already clearly defined. However, Agile and Scrum projects sometimes need a Facilitator role, which can be incorporated into the traditional RACI model. The facilitator role organizes activities for the projects.
Pros and Cons of the RACI Chart
Implementing a RACI model comes with a couple of advantages and drawbacks. First, let’s take a look at the benefits of RACI.
- Maintains clear and open communication with all stakeholders.
- Eliminates role confusion.
- Sets clearly defined roles for all the people who fill them. This makes the project move smoothly and reduces the need for conflict resolution later.
- Avoids overwhelming team members with tasks or unnecessary information.
- Helps stakeholders prepare for a project’s future impact on their work.
- Ensures no task is overlooked when resources are allocated.
While there are plenty of great reasons to use a RACI matrix, there are a few cons to keep in mind too.
- The RACI model won’t necessarily work for simple projects.
- Roles in a RACI matrix are rigid and may not always fully demonstrate a team member’s stake in a project.
How to Create a RACI Chart
To create a RACI matrix, follow these steps.
Step 1: Identify roles
Start by listing all the people involved in the project, including the client. List the names at the top of your chart.
Step 2: List tasks and milestones
Next, review the project and break it into straightforward tasks and deliverables. Don’t forget to include milestones for each task and deliverable. List everything in the far-left column.
Step 3: Assign each task to a role and responsibility
Look at each task and think about the different roles and what they should be responsible for. For each role, add the R (Responsible), A (Accountable), C (Consulted), or I (Informed), depending on their connection to the tasks on the left column.
RACI Chart Example
Here’s an example to better illustrate how to use a RACI matrix in project management.
Let’s imagine you’re redesigning your company’s website. The website needs design, copy, and development teams to work on tasks concurrently. Each task will impact work in sales, marketing, finance, and business development. Senior management needs to approve structural changes, timelines, and major costs.
Design, copy, and development teams are the Responsible parties for corresponding tasks.
As the project manager, you’re Accountable while the senior management is Consulted.
The sales, marketing, finance, and business development managers simply need to be Informed.
Best Practices for RACI in Project Management
Want to get the most out of your RACI chart? RACI has a set of best practices to help you get started.
- Have only 1 accountable per task or deliverable.
- Have only 1 responsibility type per person to avoid having a confusing chart.
- The Accountable person must have the power to help finish the task.
- Only the Responsible and Accountable roles are mandatory for every task. The other roles depend on the project’s complexity.
- Prioritize effective communication with the Consulting person.
- Always keep all stakeholders informed.
- Focus on project tasks, milestones, and decisions only in the RACI matrix. Avoid generic or administrative to-dos like status reports and team meetings.
- Clearly understand the RACI definitions to use them correctly.
The RACI chart is an excellent tool for assigning responsibilities and keeping stakeholders engaged throughout the project lifecycle. It clarifies what everyone should prioritize and makes it easy for team members to take charge of their tasks.
Project management software can make creating, sharing, and implementing a RACI chart easier. Mission Control—a powerful project management software—is packed with features that will make your RACI matrix more impactful.
The Gantt chart makes mapping task roles and responsibilities simple. It allows you to build your RACI chart right into your project plan. This makes your chart easily accessible to everyone.
The Role Utilization feature allows you to identify individuals available to take on work. This feature is handy when determining the roles and people to add to your RACI chart.
Ready to maximize the power of a RACI chart? Contact us today for a demo.