A RACI matrix is a straightforward method for defining and documenting project roles and responsibilities. Using one will increase your chances of project success significantly. RACI was first introduced in the 1950s as the “Decision Rights Matrix.” It is the only project management tool that takes roles and people into account. RACI variants include RASCI, ARCI, and DACI. This article will discuss a raci matrix, its goals, benefits, and drawbacks.
What is the RACI Matrix?
A RACI matrix is a responsibility assignment chart that defines and documents the tasks, milestones, and critical decisions necessary to complete a project. This is one of the preferred task and responsibility assignment methods in project management as it assigns tasks and reduces unnecessary confusion on tasks.
The acronym RACI represents the four roles that stakeholders might play in any project. That is, responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed.
The people who work are responsible. These are the people who must complete a task or make a decision. Several people can be jointly Responsible.
An individual must sign off or approve when the task, objective, or decision is complete. That person is accountable. Note, however, that not more than one person can be accountable, which means that the buck stops there.
There’s always that person who needs to give his input or contribution before the work can be done and signed off. That person is consulted. These are active participants who are in the loop.
Updates on progress or decisions go to the informed. These people are not formally consulted. They only contribute directly to the task or decision. For someone to create a RACI matrix, it is essential to identify all the tasks involved in delivering the project. List these tasks on the left-hand side of the chart in the order they need to be completed.
Next, pinpoint all the project stakeholders and list their names at the chart’s top. After this, fill in the cells of the model, and know who is responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed. After all, these have been done, the final step in creating your RACI matrix is to share it with your stakeholders, resolve any conflicts or ambiguities, and get an agreement.
For each stakeholder, ask these three questions:
- Does one stakeholder have many projects assigned to him?
- Does the stakeholder need to participate in many of the activities?
- Can Responsible be changed to Consulted, or vice-versa?
- Does each stakeholder concur with the role that they are assigned?
That should be included in the project’s charter and documentation when such an agreement is achieved.
Creating a RACI Matrix
Here are the basic steps you’ll find helpful in creating a RACI matrix:
Pinpoint the project roles.
Select everyone that should be involved in the project. It could be a team member working on the tasks or a stakeholder who needs to be updated on progress. Traditionally, you would define the roles’ job titles along the top of the matrix. Some prefer to use roles if a single person fills various roles in other cases. However, you should specify the person’s name if multiple people are filling similar roles, or sometimes, you may find it more accessible.
Identify tasks and deliverables
List all the tasks and deliverables that need to be accomplished in the project. Place all these tasks on the far left column of your chart. Actually, there can be as many tasks on the chart as you want, but try to avoid going too granular to keep your chart as simple to read as possible.
Assign a RACI to each task
Consider each task on your chart and assign a person or role who should be responsible and accountable for them.
Each task should have only one role/person accountable, although it doesn’t have to be the same person accountable for every task. Also, decide who should be consulted or informed throughout the process and after completing tasks or deliverables.
Share the matrix with your team
Discuss with your team. Share your matrix with your team. Explain and let everyone know their roles and responsibilities. Request feedback to resolve any potential conflicts or ambiguities among tasks or assigned roles.
Share the matrix with stakeholders
Please share it with any significant stakeholders once your team has approved the matrix. Secure the stakeholder’s approval and decide who should be communicated with or consulted throughout the said project. This helps to manage expectations moving forward and eliminates confusion.
RACI Matrix Rules
If you stick to a few basic guidelines, working with a RACI chart will be less of a hassle. Once your RACI chart is finished, you should review it to ensure that it satisfies the following criteria:
- Have at least one Responsible individual assigned to every task.
- Ensure that everyone represented on your RACI chart is aware of and has acknowledged and agreed to the roles and responsibilities that you have outlined. Most importantly, you need to make sure that your matrix clears up any additional confusion regarding the project.
- Pay attention to the responsibilities, accomplishments, and decisions outlined in the RACI matrix. Stay away from tasks that are too general or too administrative, such as attending team meetings or providing status reports.
- Each task has a single (and only one) accountable party assigned to it to facilitate unambiguous decision-making.
- No team member is overburdened with an excessive number of Responsible tasks.
- Every individual on the team contributes to the completion of each task.
- Make sure you have a simple and unobtrusive method to keep those who are consulted and Informed roles on your matrix informed if you have many of these roles. It might be as easy as ensuring that everyone has access to your project plan so that they can keep track of the progress being made all along. It’s an excellent option for bringing people outside your organization into the loop.
Advantages and Disadvantages of a RACI matrix
There are several benefits to creating a RACI matrix before starting a project. These benefits of the RACI Matrix include:
- Streamlined Communication: With the RACI matrix, you can streamline communication and involve the appropriate people at the proper time. This can help to expedite and simplify decision-making.
- Stakeholder input is streamlined: How? By distinguishing between key stakeholders who must be asked for input and key stakeholders who must be informed, you reduce the likelihood of feedback delays. You can ensure that only those who should be kept informed are kept up to date.
- Facilitate delegation: Creating the RACI matrix ahead of time defines everyone’s roles. There is also a clearly defined person in charge of the project to whom others can turn for advice, questions, or feedback.
- Expectations are clear: There is no confusion because everyone involved in the project understands who is responsible for completing each task. It also assists key stakeholders in understanding their respective roles.
RACI Matrix Disadvantages
- It isn’t easy to define all of the relationships between project participants.
The matrix responsibility chart does not describe people’s interactions in a project.
- This chart only serves as a mechanical aid.
This chart is merely a mechanical tool for determining responsibilities; it does not clearly define the relationships between project participants. The authority-responsibility relationship is defined in general terms. It isn’t easy to express the extent and state of a relationship.
- Customer-imposed constraints may limit its utility.
How Detailed Should a RACI Chart Be?
Sometimes, it could be tempting to make your RACi Chart as detailed as possible. Still, the industry best practice recommended by Project Management Institute is that the ideal RACI chart should be between 8-10 project activities. This breaks the project down into manageable bits. Here are a few different approaches one can take:
- Do not mistake attempting to list every person who will be involved because a RACI chart allows you to organize individuals into groups or departments. Instead, you should list a department or a group. Who is responsible for making contact with the customers? Marketing.
- If a high-level chart provides you with a general division of labor by department, you should create more specific RACI charts for the individual activities you require. In this particular illustration, the RACI labeled “Contact Customers” could be broken down into a more granular set of eight to ten activities involving a different group of individuals.
- A complicated undertaking can also be cut into manageable pieces by dividing it into distinct periods. For instance, make a RACI chart for the work that needs to be completed in the next two to three weeks. After you’ve finished with that stage, move on to the next group of things to do and repeat step one
Remember, cognitive science has demonstrated that even the most intelligent humans are only capable of keeping 5–7 things in their minds simultaneously. Because of this, we need to make sure that our RACI charts are easy enough to remember.
Alternatives to RACI Matrix
The RASCI chart is an alternative to the RACI that is probably used more frequently. RASCI is an acronym that stands for Responsible, Accountable, Supportive, Consulted, and Informed. The roles on the team that assist the member who is ultimately responsible for completing the task are referred to as Supportive. The distinction between Supportive and Consulted lies in that Supportive will take an active role in the task at hand, whereas Consulted will provide information.
Taking RACI one step further, proponents of the CARS model claim that it gets rid of information that the RACI provides that is unnecessary. It is an acronym for:
Making sure to consult while also informing others.
The individual who approves is known as the approver.
As in the RACI, which refers to the person carrying out the work
This includes all of the individuals who are assisting the Responsible Person with the work
Some people believe that the RACI model assigns pretty obvious terms, such as “Accountable” being the Project Manager or Product Owner, and “Inform” being, well, isn’t this a more comprehensive range of project stakeholders that you haven’t defined?
CARS becomes more specific to actions, and similar to RASCI, it adds the Support role when a single role or person can’t finish tasks independently.
The terms Responsible, Approve, and Support are left after this one has been simplified, and I think that’s a good thing. However, it does not consider the person responsible for the task, which may lead to confusion.
Comparable to the RACI chart, except that Responsible for Drivers has been replaced by Accountable for Approvers. As a result, the descriptions have become more focused on action-based terminology. This clarifies any confusion regarding the responsibilities associated with those roles, which can arise when using the RACI matrix.
A variant of the DACI that again places a greater emphasis on the actions involved instead of the roles played includes the terms Contributes, Leads, Approves, and Monitors.
In general, most of the different iterations of the RACI focus more on defining the terms in a more precise manner or specifying the action in greater depth to remove any ambiguity between the roles. Since there is not a significant amount of difference between the models in terms of what they are attempting to accomplish, it is common practice to simply review the types and then choose the one that you prefer or the most appropriate for the project.