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The RACI chart has long been a popular tool among project managers around the world. Also referred to as the RACI matrix, it is used to clarify employee roles and responsibilities for each task, milestone, and decision that occurs during the course of a project.
The chart is designed to ensure clear communication and smooth workflow across all parts of a team. RACI charts can help prevent that sinking feeling when a key decision maker arrives at the end of a project and complicates things with a large number of changes because they were not consulted throughout the project.
What is RACI chart?
A RACI chart, also known as a RACI matrix, is a type of responsibility assignment matrix (RAM) in project management. In practice, it is a simple spreadsheet or table that lists all stakeholders on a project and their level of involvement in each task, denoted by the letters R, A, C or I. Once these roles are defined, assignments can be attributed to the roles and work can begin.
RACI stands for:
Here is the meaning of each designation:
Responsible Specifies the work assigned directly to this person (or group of people). The responsible person is the one who acts or creates the deliverables to complete the work. Each task must have at least one responsible person and there can be several.
Responsible parties are usually in the project team and are usually developers or other producers.
Responsible The parties in the RACI equation delegate and review the tasks involved in a project. Their job is to make sure that the responsible person or team knows the expectations of the project and completes the work on time. Each job should have only one accountable person and no more.
Accountable parties are usually in the project team, usually in a leadership or management role.
Counseling Parties provide input and feedback on the work being done in a project. They have a stake in the results of a project as it may affect their current or future work.
Project managers and teams should consult with these stakeholders before starting work to get input on their needs and again throughout the work and upon completion of work to get feedback on the results.
Not every task or milestone requires a consulted party, but the project manager should consider all potential stakeholders and include as many consulted parties as possible when creating the RACI chart.
However, you should limit it to only the required inputs. For example, one consulting party per affected team is generally considered best practice to avoid blocking the process with too much input.
Consulted parties may be individuals on the project team who are not working on a given task but whose work will be affected by the outcome. They often also have teammates outside the project team – even in different departments – whose work will be affected by the project’s results.
informed Members need to be involved in the progress of a project, but should not be consulted on the details of each task. They need to know what is happening because it may affect their work, but they are not the decision makers in the process.
Informed parties are usually outside the project team and often in different departments. They may include heads of affected teams or directors and senior leadership in a company.
When should you use the RACI matrix?
The RACI chart framework is useful for almost any project, although some teams may find it more useful than others.
For example, I know that I am the responsible party in creating this article, because I am the one doing the writing. My editor is responsible for assigning and reviewing work. And they’ve probably consulted and informed others around them, like managing editors and SEO experts.
But this project is very simple. It only takes a few steps and involves a few stakeholders. A formal RACI chart comes in handy for complex and long-running projects involving lots of stakeholders, tasks and milestones, especially if there is overlapping work.
For example, redesigning a company’s website would require the design, copy, and development teams to work on tasks concurrently. Each function will affect work in sales, marketing, finance and business development. Structural changes, timelines and major costs will require input and approval from senior management.
In complex projects like this the requirements are easily overlooked and requirements are left out.
A project manager typically creates a RACI chart to avoid missing those important details and ensure clear communication throughout the project.
Using RACI with other project management methodologies
Agile is a very popular type of project management, especially for technical staff. While RACI applies to agile project management, schools of thought differ on whether it is necessary for an agile context.
Additionally, the Scrum and Scramban project management methodologies build project ownership (accountability) into their framework and are designed to facilitate regular communication between project teams and external stakeholders. This makes the RACI chart redundant for this method and possibly a poor use of the project manager’s time.
However, the additional communication and clarification – in a systematic way – is more of an advantage than a disadvantage for any project, so some SCRUM project managers find RACI useful for clarifying roles for individual projects or their overall process. .
Example RACI Chart (and How to Use It)
To create a RACI chart, list all of the project’s tasks down the left-hand column and the stakeholders in the top row. For each task, enter an R, A, C or I to specify the level of involvement for each stakeholder in each task.
For example, in the above matrix:
- The Senior Analyst is responsible for completing the work in the econometric model.
- The SVP Finance is accountable for that work – they delegate it to the Senior Analyst and review the work.
- The team will consult with the SEO lead for inputs before the task and for feedback after the task.
- The team will inform the Project Manager, Head of Design, Sales Director and Senior Management of the progress of the project.
Color coding tasks can be useful to see at a glance whether a team member is responsible for multiple tasks within a project and to ensure that you have at least one responsible and one assigned. Responsible Party for every job.
Breaking down the chart by project phases also lets you see how many tasks are responsible within a given time frame, which can help distribute work more evenly and avoid overwhelm.
Pros and Cons of RACI
As the purpose of the RACI chart is to ensure that a project is efficient with clear communication, its benefits outweigh any drawbacks in most cases. However, teams should take into account the initial time investment in creating the RACI chart and any potential rigidity of the roles documented on it.
- Maintain clear and open communication with all stakeholders
- Avoid bothering team members with tasks or unnecessary information
- Avoid the “Too Much Cook” Scenario
- Help stakeholders prepare for the future impact of the project on their work.
- The investment of time may not be worthwhile for simple projects
- Roles are rigid and may not fully depict a team member’s stake in a project.
- Stakeholders may not understand the difference between the terms, particularly ‘responsible versus accountable’ and ‘consulted versus informed’.
RACI matrix option
Some teams get assigned roles through the RACI model that aren’t right for their projects. You might find better options in these less common options – all use a chart like RACI with functions and stakeholders, but they use different wording in an attempt to more clearly define the roles.
This option from RACI uses the RACI Model Plus S for the servo. It is a person who participates in carrying out the work of a work by supporting the responsible parties.
This model designates the stakeholders as:
- Communication: These are consulted and informed parties
- Approve: It’s the decision maker
- Responsible: This person works
- Support: These parties support the responsible person in doing the work.
This model simplifies CARS with only the Responsible, Approved and Support roles. This eliminates communication outside the project team, which would otherwise need to be accounted for in the project management methodology.
This model includes the following roles, similar to RACI:
- drivers: people who work
- approver: decision maker
- Contributors: People who are consulted on the work
- Informed: People who are informed about the progress of the project.
In this model, the stakeholders are assigned the following tasks:
- Contribution: People who are consulted and who do the work
- Lead: People who assign and manage work
- Approved: Decision Makers
- Monitor: People who are informed about the progress of a project.
Projects can be complex, confusing and chaotic. That’s why we rely on team members with the project management skills necessary to govern the separate parts of a project and focus directly on keeping them organized as the project progresses.
A RACI chart is a tool that helps project managers keep a project on track.
By listing all stakeholders and specifying the level of involvement for each task, the chart helps teams communicate clearly and keep the right people in the loop.