Working on complex projects can make you lose track of tasks. You might have worked your project plan to perfection and have a stellar team to support it, but if you aren't clear about assignments and involvement, demotivation and confusion can creep into your project team.
However, with the help of the RACI chart, you can avoid most of these issues. Laying out roles and responsibilities will set up your project for success. This chart is designed to ensure smooth workflow and clear communication across all parts of your team.
In this article, we will explain what the RACI chart is and how it's used in project management!
What Is a RACI Chart?
RACI is an acronym and stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed. This chart is a useful tool that shows the roles and responsibilities of team members for project tasks. It is also referred to as a RACI model, diagram, or matrix.
In practice, a RACI chart is a simple table or spreadsheet containing all stakeholders and their level of engagement, denoted by the letters R, A, C, or I. It clarifies who is doing what in the project to avoid confusion that could slow down production and increase costs. Once you define these roles, you can attribute the assignments to the roles, and work can start.
Usually, RACI charts are designed for complex projects; however, role confusion can also happen in small projects. Therefore, implementing RACI charts for small projects can be beneficial.
RACI Model Explained
The RACI model brings structure and clarity by describing stakeholders' roles within a project. It clarifies responsibilities and ensures that someone is always assigned to your project needs. As we mentioned earlier, the RACI model stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed, and we will explain each of these.
- Responsible: A task is directly assigned to a particular person or group. This responsible person is the one who does the work to create the deliverable or complete the task. Each task should have at least one, or it can have several responsible people. Responsible parties are usually developers or other creators.
- Accountable: The accountable person in the RACI equation reviews and delegates the work involved in a project. Their job is to ensure that the team or the responsible person knows their project expectations and finishes work on time. A task needs to have only one responsible person and no more.
- Consulted: These people offer feedback and input on the work performed in the project. They have stakes in a project outcome because it can affect their current and future work. Team members and project managers should consult these individuals before starting tasks to acquire input on their needs and feedback on the outcome. Only some milestones or tasks require a consulted person; however, a project manager should include as many consulted parties as they consider appropriate.
- Informed: The informed people aren't decision-makers, they aren't consulted or overwhelmed with details, but they still need to be looped into project progress. Informed parties usually work in different departments outside the project team, and they might include the senior leadership of the company or the head of the affected team.
RACI Matrix Rules
Using a RACI chart becomes a lot easier if you follow simple rules. Once you complete the RACI chart, review it to ensure it meets these criteria:
- Each task needs to have at least one responsible person.
- There is only one accountable person assigned to the task.
- Teams aren't overloaded with too many responsible tasks.
- Each team member has a role in each task.
If you have plenty of informed and consulted roles on your matrix, you need to design a lightweight and easy way to keep them informed. For example, give them access to your project plan so that they can follow the progress.
How Does a RACI Chart Work?
The RACI matrix helps you set clear expectations about project responsibilities and roles. You can avoid having too many team members working on the same task or against one another because tasks weren't clearly defined from the start.
This model also encourages team members to assume responsibility for their work or ask for help when needed. A RACI chart can be applied to any project, and it is especially helpful when a task demands multiple resources, depends on other tasks, or runs concurrently.
RACI Chart Example
To create a RACI chart, you need to list tasks, milestones, or deliverables for your project. Then you identify responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed persons for each.
For instance, you want to update your company's website. Project stakeholders are the web developer, head of the website, designer, and copywriter. You wish to create a RACI chart covering five tasks and deliverables:
- Updating homepage CTAs.
- Adding more customer stories.
- Focusing more on design and trying to change some things.
- Improving loading speed.
- Updating the homepage design.
To illustrate, let's take a look at only one task: updating homepage CTAs. In this case, your RACI chart will look like this: Responsible: copywriter, Accountable: web developer, Consulted: head of the website, and Informed: designer. You can use ActiveCollab to create a RACI chart that will meet your project needs and easily put workflow in order.
RACI Roles and Responsibilities
On top of your RACI chart template, you need to list people involved in a project. For instance, if you are building an addition to your home, you must include everyone, including the homeowner. There is also an architect responsible for plans, a project manager who oversees the entire project, a contractor and their team responsible for the actual building, and many other subcontractors.
Under each person on the project team, you should add R for responsible, A for accountable, C for consulted, or I for informed. This will depend on the type of tasks they are performing. For instance, an architect will be an R (responsible) team member because they deliver the complete project plan. On the other hand, a project manager will be A (accountable) since they ensure that the plan complies with regulatory issues.
Rapid vs. RACI
Rapid and RACI are two essential tools for project managers and organizations. However, they have different functions. While Rapid focuses more on the decision-making process and the organization's activities, RACI focuses on the task, deliverables, and people responsible for each process stage.
Organizations often use Rapid to decide what to do and RACI to delegate responsibilities and execute that decision. The key differences between these two include the following:
- Rapid – helps companies with the decision-making process.
- RACI – helps companies design an action plan for specific tasks.
- Rapid – includes big-picture thinking.
- RACI – focuses on small decisions.