Not having project roles and responsibilities set in place leads to a myriad of project management-related issues—schedule delays, scaling costs, and lower performance, just to name a few.
That’s when the RACI matrix, also known as the RACI diagram or responsibility assignment matrix, comes into the picture. 🖼️
The RACI model helps with mapping all of the stakeholders’ roles and responsibilities, bringing structure and clarity, and engaging everyone from the team in the successful project delivery so that miscalculations are out of the question.
Here’s why many people from the corporate world across various industries, from healthcare to construction, swear by RACI charts. 🙏
What is a RACI Matrix Chart?
RACI matrix is a simple approach to defining project roles and responsibilities that help produce desired outcomes.
This term is an acronym that stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed. RACI essentially describes the different roles assigned to team members involved in the project and details who does what.
Responsible: As you can already suggest, this person is responsible for taking action and ensuring that tasks on the project are being worked on.
Typically, this is a team member or a project manager that reports to an A. You can have more Rs in a RACI, and some of them can also be involved in the decision-making process.
However, it is highly advisable not to blow things up out of proportion and over-assign the number of Responsibles in your responsibility assignment matrix.
Accountable: That’s someone who ensures all the responsibilities are assigned properly, approves or rejects work or decisions (basically, this person is a decision maker), and ensures that everything is successfully and timely delivered. According to the RACI matrix, there should be only one A.
Consulted: This is the person the team consults about various topics and actions, an expert. This person, or multiple persons, provides feedback and evaluates so tasks can be performed.
Informed: Someone who should be updated on progress once everything is done and dusted but isn’t directly involved in the process. This person doesn’t contribute to making decisions or delivering tasks nor is consulted on any matter.
We know project management teams love abbreviations: PMP, KPI, SOW, and SME. The list goes on and on, but the RACI matrix chart makes it a breeze to scheme out key decisions, tasks, milestones, and roles.
Advantages of the RACI Chart Model
When it comes to large project management teams, where team members are distributed across multiple departments and reliant on other teams, it is kind of natural to suffer from role confusion.
In a situation like this, it’s up to a project manager or the leading project team to step up and make sure that every member of every team is well aware of what’s expected from them. Things can get even more challenging if the work is remotely managed and done. However, that’s when the RACI matrix comes to the rescue! 🚀
The RACI chart model provides a myriad of benefits in this regard:
- It eliminates role confusion and confusion about who makes decisions (it could be that the Accountable or Responsible party is the decision-maker, so it should be made clear from the beginning)
- It encourages teamwork and communication between everyone involved in the project, which leads to setting expectations straight
- It prevents over and under-allocation of resources of a team member and ensures a smooth reallocation of resources when needed
- It can guarantee that even in case of resource reallocation, no task is overlooked
- By using it, you’ll streamline communications, eliminate conflict resolution, instill trust and ensure a high level of engagement
- Ultimately, it improves project efficiency and saves time
It’s worth mentioning that the RACI chart can ensure that every relationship is managed appropriately, whether it be with customers, sponsors, VIP clients, internal users, suppliers, investors, executives, analysts, or government regulators.
That’s why this model ticks all of the boxes for both B2B and B2C businesses. ✅
When to Use the RACI Chart Model
RACI matrix can be used for all-things-project-management, from clarifying team member roles and tasks to eliminating any sort of confusion and stalled processes.
The great thing is that it is unbelievably flexible, and you can use it no matter which industry you are in. 🤩
Here are some of the examples of when the RACI chart model can be helpful:
- Role confusion typically gets in the way of progress and bogs down the approval process or when decisions are made seemingly arbitrarily, again, because of the lack of transparency around the roles
- When authority, responsibilities, roles, and tasks are not clearly defined
- When there is no clarity on who should be performing tasks, which either results in multiple people working on the same task or none of them working on the project tasks they should be working on
As an example, any project manager or product owner is somehow (wrongfully) seen as responsible for every little detail and the success of a project team in general.
The RACI chart takes the burden of these roles. It allows developers and designers to be responsible for their scope of work.
However, note that RACI is not the one-size-fits-all solution.
It works wonders with larger, complex projects that involve multiple stakeholders. On the other hand, it simply doesn’t cut the mustard for smaller project management teams and fast-moving projects since it can only slow down the decision-making process and the project as a whole.
How To Create a RACI Chart Model
Before you actually start creating a RACI chart, take these factors into account:
- Ideally, one person should have only one type of responsibility
- The Accountable person should have the authority and be able to provide guidance and help with completing tasks
- Assign a single Accountable party per deliverable
- Every task should be associated with Responsible and Accountable roles while it is not mandatory to ask for outside input if the task is not overly complex
- Stakeholders should be informed even about minor changes and updates on the project
Now, here’s how to create a RACI chart:
1. Define deliverables
Define and list the main project tasks that need to be completed and list them all on the left side of the RACI chart, one under another.
Do not include all of the project deliverables in the chart, or else you’ll go too granular and make it too complex to use and understand.
2. Identify project roles
Identify members of the project team and their roles (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed ) and add them to the top of the chart, one next to another.
For instance, you can go for something like this: project executive, project manager, business analyst, technical architect, and application developer.
Alternatively, you can specify roles by name. This is particularly useful since it clarifies who does what and if multiple stakeholders are assigned similar roles.
3. Connect the dots
Now is the time to connect tasks and roles. ♻️
Assigning Responsible and Accountable per task is a must, while you should also think carefully about who needs to be Consulted and who is Informed about the deliverables.
4. Resolve any conflicts if they occur
Ideally, one team member should be assigned to only a few responsibilities (two to three maxi).
If there are many empty cells, try reallocating resources (change Responsible to Consulted).
Also, if there are too many Accountable roles, this could slow down the decision-making process, so aim to have just one Accountable person per task.
Too many Cs can also cause delays for project managers since some under the consultant role can often be switched to Informed. Having no C and I roles usually points to a lack of communication within the team.
RACI Matrix Examples and Use Cases
For our first batch examples, we’ll be using our beloved tool, ClickUp. You can customize every part of the platform, making it easier than ever to create your ideal RACI matrix. When you need inspiration or guidance, take advantage of the ready-to-use and editable RACI Planning Template in ClickUp to help get you started.
Let’s see how much flexibility we can have when creating RACI charts in ClickUp.
Simple RACI Chart in Doc View
Here’s a perfect example of what we’ve explained above. ClickUp’s Doc view can be used for making a RACI chart without overcomplicating things.
Stakeholders to the left, roles to the top and right. Jack, Sabrina, and Selena are Responsible for program management, Caroll is Accountable, Samatha is Consulted, and Ahmed is Informed.
It’s a great thing that there’s only one responsible person who holds the role of Accountable when it comes to program management. That’s the thing with campaign marketing, design, product marketing, data analysis, brand marketing, and customer success, too!
It’s also easy to spot that no resources are over-allocated. Jack is the Responsible person for program management, brand marketing, and customer success while he is Accountable for campaign marketing, Informed for product marketing, and Consulted for Data Analysis.
Color-Coded RACI Matrix in List View
ClickUp’s List view lets us go more into detail with the RACI chart. It also allows you to bring a pop of color to the whole concept to make sometimes dull project management more refreshing. 🌈
You can actually choose between various role colors. We used blue for Responsible, green for Accountable, and so on. It’s totally up to you to customize the table and roles to your liking.
Here, we also have slightly different positioning of roles and tasks. Project tasks are listed on the left, one under another, while names and responsibilities are located on the top and to the right (if you prefer this kind of visualization, that’s totally cool).
You can also see priority flags that can give everyone direction and point out tasks that need to be taken care of ASAP and the ones that can wait a little bit. 🚩
RACI Model in Table View
The Table view allows getting more nitty-gritty with your RACI chart. Aside from seeing roles, tasks, and priorities, you can also track the status of each task from the chart. Statuses are fully customizable; this is just an example of how you can name and color each.
RACI Chart Example Grouped by Status
Within the Table view, ClickUp also lets you filter and group tasks by name, role, status, priority, etc. This allows you to get more into the nitty-gritty details of your RACI chart and see which tasks are in progress, which ones are yet to be worked on, and which ones are completed.
Finally, as already known, ClickUp views, and the Whiteboard is among our favorites! 😍
RACI Roles in Whiteboard View
The ClickUp Whiteboard makes it easy to visualize tasks, roles, and roles separately, all with a touch of color. It ensures that everyone works as a team. This leaves practically no room for conflicts or low morale.
Next up is the infamous mind mapping tool, Miro. Let’s see what kind of RACI magic we can come up with.
RACI Stakeholder Map
Miro is another excellent tool you can use for assigning roles, responsibilities, and tasks. In this particular example, Miro shows you can easily create a RACI stakeholders matrix for service design teams.
Can you tell that there’s something different here? 🤔
Exactly! Instead of sticking with the regular RACI chart, Miro decided to take a new approach and have everything from roles and responsibilities to tasks neatly organized using the Map view. 🗺️
You can see the stakeholders and tasks on the left, their roles (decision maker, heavy influencers, manage closely) visualized below, and all of them together within a circular-shaped map.
You can see that roles are layered in circles, going from the ones with, let’s say, less responsibility (e.g., Informed) to Responsible.
I don’t know about you, but we love digital sticky notes! The names of everyone on the team are written on these sticky notes, while their roles are indicated by using emojis.
RACI Marketing Team Model
This RACI chart is specifically built for the needs of marketing teams. Project management, campaign, product, and brand marketing, as well as customer success, a.k.a deliverables, are positioned on the left.
Responsibilities and roles are clearly defined per task, while team members are grouped and arranged accordingly, so everyone knows what they are doing, and what everyone else is doing.
There’s a single Accountable person for each task, while the number of Responsible persons is relatively balanced.
Last but not least in the tools lineup, we have the new kid in the project management block, Coda. Let’s see how it stacks up against our previous RACI templates.
RACI Matrix Example by Task Breakdown
Coda gives a practical example of what it looks like to create and use a RACI chart, even if you are not necessarily working on an overly complex project.
All of the tasks are clearly defined, as well as all of the roles (CEO, CTO, VP of product, product manager, UI designer, content writer, and financial analyst) and responsibilities that are displayed in vivid colors. This allows for better visibility and differentiation, and we can also integrate it with third-party software to schedule consultancies or even track the progress of each project.
RACI Chart Example by Task Status
Coda also lets you track the status of each task (not started, in progress, done) on the RACI chart, color-code each status, and add notes to clarify who is working on which task and how many resources are available.
Instead of starting from scratch, you can choose among several other absolutely rocking RACI chart templates that will save you valuable time and set your team up to speed from the very first second!
Who Benefits From Using a RACI Chart?
Project Managers: A RACI chart is a useful tool for project managers who need to track the various tasks and roles associated with a project. By tracking these roles, it helps to ensure that everyone involved in the project is held accountable for their individual tasks.
- Project Management RACI Chart
- Project Deliverables RACI Chart
- Construction Project RACI Chart
- Agile Projects RACI Chart
Business Leaders: A RACI chart is also useful for business leaders who need to clearly define the roles and responsibilities of each team member. This chart can also be used to identify gaps in roles and responsibilities and help develop an effective plan for allocating resources accordingly.
RACI Is the Way to Go!
RACI is not a project plan but rather a document used for defining roles and responsibilities—it provides more than a clear outline, so your job is to ensure that work and responsibilities are fairly allocated. It also describes the project tasks that need to be completed in advance to eliminate confusion and bottlenecks.
Now that you know more about the RACI Matrix, it’s your turn to try it for yourself! Load one of the templates like the ClickUp RACI template, for example, customize it to your liking, and start delegate tasks and responsibilities more effectively.
Good luck! 😊