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RACI Matrix

By Duncan Haughey, PMP
RACI Concept

Delegation is an essential part of a project manager's role, so identifying roles and responsibilities early in a project is important. Applying the RACI model can help. As project manager it is important that you set the expectations of people involved in your project from the outset.

Projects require many people's involvement, but how do you avoid a situation where people are struggling against one another to do a task. Equally difficult is dealing with a situation where nobody will take ownership and make a decision. How do people know their level of responsibility; when they should involve you as their project manager, or when they should exercise their own judgment?

The RACI model is a straightforward tool used for identifying roles and responsibilities and avoiding confusion over those roles and responsibilities during a project. The acronym RACI stands for:

  • Responsible: The person who does the work to achieve the task. They have responsibility for getting the work done or decision made. As a rule this is one person; examples might be a business analyst, application developer or technical architect.
  • Accountable: The person who is accountable for the correct and thorough completion of the task. This must be one person and is often the project executive or project sponsor. This is the role that responsible is accountable to and approves their work.
  • Consulted: The people who provide information for the project and with whom there is two-way communication. This is usually several people, often subject matter experts.
  • Informed: The people who are kept informed about progress and with whom there is one-way communication. These are people that are affected by the outcome of the tasks so need to be kept up-to-date.

Without clearly defined roles and responsibilities it is easy for projects to run into trouble. When people know exactly what is expected of them, it is easier for them to complete their work on time, within budget and to the right level of quality.

A RACI matrix supports the model and is used to discuss, agree and communicate roles and responsibilities.

Creating a RACI Matrix (step-by-step)

  1. Identify all the tasks involved in delivering the project and list them on the left-hand side of the chart in completion order.
  2. Identify all the project roles and list them along the top of the chart.
  3. Complete the cells of the chart identifying who has responsibility, accountability and who will be consulted and informed for each task.
  4. Ensure every task has a role responsible and a role accountable for it.
  5. No tasks should have more than one role accountable. Resolve any conflicts where there is more than one for a particular task.
  6. Share, discuss and agree the RACI Matrix with your stakeholders before your project starts.
Step Project Initiation Project Executive Project Manager Business Analyst Technical Architect Application Developers
1 Task 1 C A/R C I I
2 Task 2 A I R C I
3 Task 3 A I R C I
4 Task 4 C A I R I

A variation of RACI used by the Project Management Institute (PMI) is RSI, responsible, sponsor and informed.

Other variations are:

  • RASCI: with the 'S' standing for 'Support'
  • RACIO: with the 'O' standing for 'Out of the Loop' or 'Omitted'
  • RACI-VS: with the 'V' standing for 'Verify' and the 'S' for 'Signatory'

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Comments (4)

RACI Matrix iPad App
I have been using RACI charts to manage delegation of tasks in my team for a few years now. It's a great way to get everyone on the same page about who does what, and can be very collaborative as well.

I recently started using an iPad to construct and share RACI Charts called KnowMyTeam. As more and more people seem to be using iPads in the workplace, like me, I thought this might be others out there who might like to try it. It's a free download.
#1 - Andrew Reid - Saturday 23rd February 2013 - 23:50
How can a role be both Accountable and Responsible at the same time. Otherwise the same person has to admonish themself when they fail?
#2 - Tim Reeks - Sunday 4th August 2013 - 10:21
I find this a useful definition: Responsible is the person that does the work, and Accountable is the person to go to if the work is late, over budget or fails to meet quality expectations.

I only want one person accountable for each activity in my RACI chart, but the same person can be responsible. If both, they do the work and is the person to go to if there are problems.

Example: A manager is asked to produce a set of financial reports for their director. The manager is accountable for producing the reports on time to the required standard. If the manager creates the reports himself, he is also responsible for getting the work done. In this case the manager is both accountable and responsible. However, if the manager delegates the report creation to an analyst, they are responsible for getting the work done. In this case the manager is accountable and the analyst is responsible.
#3 - Duncan Haughey - Monday 5th August 2013 - 15:46
How can you avoid the most senior person in org chart (eg CIO or CFO being 'accountable' for everything?
The CIO or CFO is ultimately responsible... therefore they will have an 'A' for every single task or process.

Is there a definition which somehow acknowledges that they have delegated the 'authority' and so are no longer 'A'. Where do you draw the line?
#4 - Paul - Wednesday 14th August 2013 - 04:29
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