The RACI chart is one of the important documents in project management and a good communication tool for project managers.
RACI chart (or RASCI chart) is a graphical tool that provides the answer to many questions you may have about your project.
Let us dive in.
What is a RACI Chart?
During a project life cycle, you might have the following questions:
- Why is the issue not being resolved?
- Who should I reach to get the job done?
- Who should approve this request?
- Should the offshore or onsite team look into the issue?
- Who is responsible for the project risks?
- Who has final authority on the production release?
- Will it be okay if I copy XYZ stakeholder in the email?
- Why was I not informed of this change?
The RACI chart can help you answer these questions.
The roles and responsibilities of team members for tasks or decision-making processes are displayed on a RACI chart, which is a matrix chart. It depicts the responsibilities and functions of the team members for a project.
The RACI chart clarifies team members’ roles and responsibilities for each decision and milestone throughout the project. It guarantees effective communication and efficient teamwork.
What Is The RASCI Model?
RASCI chart is the most popular variant of the RACI chart. Here only one extra role is added: “‘Supportive.” This role provides support to the responsible team member to complete the task.
The roles in the RASCI chart are:
Definition of RACI/RASCI Chart
RACI stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed. If “S” is added, it denotes “Supportive.”
Responsible: A person responsible for accomplishing a given task or work package.
Accountable: A person accountable for delivering a task or work package. These personnel have authority and the final say on the decision.
Supportive: This team member supports the responsible team member in completing the task.
Consulted: A person to be consulted for clarifications/feedback for an activity/work package.
Informed: A person to be informed about the progress of a task or decision.
The RACI chart is also known as RAM (Responsibility Assignment Matrix).
A team member in an organization may play several roles. A person might play several different tasks simultaneously, such as project manager, scrum master, business analyst, and business tester.
Proper role assignment is required to define the functions played by an individual or team. A RACI chart facilitates doing such.
How is RACI Matrix Useful in Project Management?
The RACI chart outlines each team member’s duties, tasks, and expectations. This helps avoid conflict; no two team members will fight over any assignment.
Team members will be more driven, take ownership of their tasks, and perform better.
Structure of a RACI Chart
The work packages or activities are listed on the vertical axis, and the team member names or job titles (Project Manager, Scrum Master, Product Owner, etc.) are listed on the horizontal axis.
Best Practices For Creating Your RACI Chart
The following are the rules and best practices you should follow while developing a RACI chart:
- Limit the number of “Responsible” and “Accountable” roles to one for a single activity or work package. This will help avoid conflict or accountability for a task or work package.
- Assign “Responsible” and “Accountable” roles in every row. Each activity must have a “Responsible” and an “Accountable.”
- Share the RACI chart with the team members and ensure they understand it to avoid any issues at later stages. Always keep the RACI chart updated.
- Limit the number of “Consulted” roles. More consultation roles mean consultation will take time and affect the project’s progress.
This triangle shows roles for a task.
Only one team member can be accountable for a task. If the task is big, it can have more than one “responsible” for a task. The number of consulting roles can be more as well. In addition, the number of informed stakeholders can be the highest for the task.
How to Construct a RACI Chart
Step 1: Identify a work package or activities for the project. You can identify the activities with the aid of the work breakdown structure.
Step 2: List the roles in the project and any other parties that require updating or consultation.
Step 3: Assign RACI to the identified work package or activities. To create the desired chart, refer to the general guidelines and best practices indicated above.
Step 4: Present the RACI chart to the team and relevant parties and obtain their approval. If any adjustments are necessary, discuss, come to an agreement, and update the chart. Ensure that the roles and responsibilities outlined in the RACI chart are accepted by all pertinent parties. The success of the project depends on it.
Based on the above steps, let us construct a RACI chart for a project that involves an Agile Scrum Team.
First, to Identify a work package or activities. The activities are as below:
- Scope Definition
- Maintaining Product Backlog
- Sprint Planning
- Backlog Refinement
- Daily stand-up meeting
- Sprint Review
- Sprint Retrospective
- User Story Development & Testing
- Code Deployment
- Sprint Metrics
The next step is identifying the team members, teams, or job titles. The job titles are:
- Scrum Master
- Product Owner
- Development Team
- Project Manager
- Program Manager
- Project Sponsor
With this information, the RACI chart could be constructed as shown below:
After the RACI chart is prepared, perform horizontal and vertical analysis. This will remove ambiguities in assigning roles for work packages or activities.
Scanning horizontally and vertically, we find that no “R” is assigned to the Daily Stand-up meeting. The development team is responsible for the daily stand-up meeting, sharing updates such as the completed work, planned work for the next day, etc. They should be assigned “R” and not “C.”
Likewise, Sprint Metrics has “R” assigned to both the Product Owner and Development Team and no assignment of “C.” This confuses who is responsible for this activity. Since the development team works on the Sprint tasks to help arrive at the metrics, the Product Owner could be consulted. Hence, “R” for the Product Owner could be changed to “C.”
Making these changes, the updated RACI chart looks as below:
It is important to review the RACI chart regularly and keep it updated. You must communicate any changes to the RACI chart to stakeholders, so they know team members’ roles and responsibilities.
Advantages of a RACI Chart
- The Clarity in Work Assignment: Once the roles are defined, no team members step on others’ toes. Work goes within the defined boundaries, making project delivery seamless and less challenging.
- Help Understand Workload: The chart can show if a team member is overloaded or could be assigned more tasks. For instance, a worker assigned multiple duties may not do them well since they will have to juggle their time between them. Thanks to the chart, the project manager would then have the information needed to make changes. The chart should also show whether any team members are working over their limits due to overload.
- Team Organization: When everyone is aware of their duties and responsibilities, the team functions more efficiently. As tasks are assigned to the appropriate team members, achieving a shared goal becomes more feasible. There won’t be any future conflicts because the RACI chart was created collaboratively by the team.
- Smooth Transition: Employee turnover is a concern in any organization, and when it happens, project managers look for a smooth transition of employees going out and coming into a project. A well-defined RACI chart can facilitate smooth handoffs between staff in certain situations.
- Alignment with Organization’s Objectives: The RACI chart can help convey the organization’s overall objectives to the employees at all levels. Each team member is aware of their contribution to attaining the aims and objectives of the organization.
- Improved Stakeholder Engagement: With a clear definition of roles and responsibilities, the team knows which stakeholder needs to be consulted or informed and shares progress accordingly.
- Promotes Self-Organization: Once the RACI matrix is shared with the team, self-organization becomes simple as the responsibilities are clearly defined and outlined, which increases stakeholder participation.
Disadvantages of a RACI Chart
While a RACI chart is useful in providing clarity on the assignment of roles, it has some limitations:
- In larger projects, the RACI matrix might add complexity.
- While RACI helps define roles, it does not demarcate the relations among project team members.
- If a particular task has more than one “R” (Responsible), confusion may arise about who is responsible for the task or action.
- All tasks cannot be captured in the RACI matrix.
- It is time-consuming to break down tasks granularly and assign owners accordingly.
RACI Chart Alternatives
RACI chart is one type of Responsibility Assignment Matrix. You will find many other RAM charts which are alternatives to RACI charts.
Some of them are as follows:
- RASCI Chart: This chart is also known as the RASCI matrix. Here one letter, “S,” is added, which means “Supportive.” This role supports responsible team members in completing the task. They are not responsible for the outcome.
- DACI Chart: DACI stands for Driver, Approver, Contributor, Informed. This chart is mainly used in outlining decision-making roles and responsibilities for projects. Here, the Driver role is mostly played by the project manager to help guide the team to reach a decision.?
- RAPID Chart: RAPID stands for Recommend, Agree, Perform, Input, Decide. This is also a decision-making framework used to define authority vs. accountability. The Recommend role suggests action, and the Decide role has the authority to decide.
- CARS: CARS stands for Communicate, Approval, Responsible, and support. This model categorizes stakeholders as per their role in the project. Communicate people are consulted and informed, Approve role is for decision-maker, Responsible team member does the work, and Support members support the responsible team members in completing the job.
- CLAM: CLAM stands for Contribute, Lead, Approve, and Monitor. Contribute does the work, Lead people are accountable for the task, Approve are decision-makers, and Monitors are monitored.
Some other less commonly known RACI chart alternatives are
- ARCI: Accountable, Responsible, Consulted, Informed
- PACSI: Perform, Accountable, Control, Suggest, Informed
- RACIQ: Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed, Quality Review
- RACI-VS: Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed, Verifier, Signatory
- CAIRO: Consulted, Accountable, Informed, Responsible, Omitted
- RATSI: Responsibility, Authority, Task, Support, Informed
Responsible Vs Accountable in the RACI/RASCI Model
Responsible and accountable roles often confuse many professions.
It is the responsibility of a team member or group to carry out the plan and finish the work.
Assuring that the assignment has been finished is the responsibility of the “accountable” role. The delivery must be signed off on by this position. Only one accountable role may be given to a task.
A single team member can have both roles.
RACI Chart on Agile Projects
RACI charts can be used on Agile projects. Scrum Alliance published the paper on the modified RACI chart. They named it RACI+F. This “F” stands for “Facilitate.”
The facilitator role is suitable for either Scrum Master or the project manager. It adds one additional layer of information to the RACI chart.
RACI Chart Example
Let’s say Henry creates video game software. Some features of this software require integration with other software developed by Dayna and Audrey.
The project manager is Tom, while the marketing manager is Mark.
For this software, Henry is responsible for the particular feature requiring integration, Dayna and Audry are consulted, Tom is accountable, and Mark needs to be informed on the software development process.
How to Create a RACI Chart in Excel
You can develop a RACI chart template in excel quickly.
Follow the following steps:
- Add Team Roles in the Top Row
- Add Tasks on the First Column
- Define RACI or RASCI
- Add a Drop-down List for Roles
- Assign a RACI Value to all Tasks
Step #1: Add Team Roles in the Top Row
From the second column, label each column with your project role.
Step #2: Add Tasks on the First Column
Prepared a list of all project tasks. Add them to the first column.
Step #3: Define RACI Roles
Click “+” at the bottom to insert a new sheet.
Go to your new worksheet, and enter details as shown below. You can add the same information below the RACI chart as I did; the choice is yours.
Step #4: Add a Drop-Down List for Roles
Go to your main worksheet and click the first cell.
Click Data >Data Validation on the ribbon and insert a drop-down list with RACI roles.
On the Settings tab, choose List under the Allow menu.
Click the Source field, and highlight the data range with RACI options from the RACI Roles & Definitions worksheet.
Ensure Data validation settings are correct, then hit Enter to add the drop-down list to cells.
Copy and paste that cell to apply the drop-down list to other cells in the RACI template sheet.
You can do the same process here if you have defined the RACI role on the main sheet.
Step #5: Assign a RACI Value to All Tasks
You can now fill out the RACI chart.
Go to the list of tasks, and assign responsibility to each task.
A project manager should use the tools and techniques available to them and adapt them to the demands of the project. Resource management is a crucial area of management, and tools for data visualization, like RACI charts, give the project manager a clear picture while including the stakeholders.
The project manager should monitor the RACI chart regularly to prevent work overloads, which could lead to a dissatisfied workforce and cause low-quality products. The proper application of the RACI matrix would promote self-organization among the team members and bring accountability and transparency.
Please note that this topic is important from a PMP exam point of view.