RACI: how a Responsibility Matrix can help you Manage your Projects

by Ivanna Nösel, on 1/8/21
RACI method

To meet the various challenges of project management, the responsibility matrix, also called the RACI chart, is proving to be an indispensable governance tool for companies.

The success of your projects depends on good management and a clear vision of the responsibilities of the people assigned. Each manager, and especially the project manager, should define an overview of the roles in order to optimize the distribution of tasks to the team members and avoid wasting time.

How to implement it and effectively extend its possibilities in an agile model?

The responsibility matrix: definition and management principles

What is the role and responsibility of the matrix?

This method is an organizational design tool that maps activities and defines the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders by:

  • visually synthesizing "who does what",
  • setting the perimeter of the project,
  • defining the field of action in order to structure it.

What does RACI stand for?

  • Responsible,
  • Accountable,
  • Consulted,
  • Informed.

How to use the RACI matrix?

This organizational matrix is used in the form of a resource allocation table, which indicates the distribution of functions and responsibilities among the different actors in a project using the letters R, A, C, and I:

  • the "R" for the director or the person in charge of the action ensuring the smooth running of the work;
  • the "A" for the actor who assumes, approves, and possibly carries out the action if it is affixed the two letters R and A;
  • the "C" for the subject matter experts to be consulted for their opinion;
  • the "I" for the agents who will be informed of the progress of the actions without necessarily acting directly.

💡In some specific cases, the letters V and S can be added to the RACI model, each designating respectively:

  • the validator, for certain quality validations,
  • the support, person, or authority that can intervene in support.

Why is a responsibility matrix important?

This method avoids any project governance problems, such as role redundancy and dilution of responsibilities. It enables a correct and thorough completion of the project.

All the tasks and their assignments are identified, as well as the need for intervention and information at each stage of the process for good steering of the objectives.

This overall vision also allows:

  • to ensure a follow-up of the deliverables,
  • to avoid any oblivion or dispersion,
  • to easily set up a reminder system that is indispensable in team management.

An example of a RACI matrix

BossProject ManagerArt DirectorDevelopersTrainees
Task 1ARCII
Task 2ARICI
Task 3A/RAC/IAI
Task 4A/RAIAI

RACI Matrix Template: Example to download

Before seeing in detail how to build and fill out a RACI table, we invite you to download our RACI matrix template so that you can fill it out:

responsibility-matrix-excel

How to build a RACI matrix in 6 steps?

To build a RACI matrix, it is, therefore, necessary to list:

  • inlines, the different tasks and activities attached to the project;
  • and in columns, all the individual actors or multiple entities.

At each intersection of the tool, one or more letters of the RACI system are then assigned, each designating a specific role.

#1. Create a list of project tasks

Think about who is involved. This underscores the first decision in creating a RACI: do you list roles or specific people? As a general rule, you should put the functional positions at the top of the list.

Work breakdown structure is very important. Review the project and divide it into clear tasks and deliverables. Record them in the left-hand column of your diagram. It doesn't have to be 100% order, but you should let participants clarify the order of tasks. This has two advantages:

  • First, by establishing order, you will identify missing (or redundant) activities. Participants will notice if something was left out or if two activities may have meant the same thing.
  • Second, this will initiate discussion around interfaces and collaboration. I.e., the process participants exchange ideas in the sense of "I do this and need you to do this but...".

At the end of this phase, the order of the tasks in the process is correct, the list is complete and without redundancies.

#2. Identify the project participants and assign the roles

To make it easier, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who does it (Responsible)?
  • Who is responsible for the proper execution or controls the result (Accountable)?
  • Who supports the role of the executor with advice and action (Consulted)?
  • Who is informed by the executor (Informed)?

#3. Designate an agent and a manager for each task or activity

Each task or deliverable should have one person responsible and one person in charge.

#4. Make sure that there is only one person per task

Make sure there is only one role or name assigned to the responsible person - this is really important. Think carefully about who should be consulted while the task is in progress and who should be informed when the task is complete.

#5. Talk to all agents, managers, and stakeholders

Make sure that everyone understands their tasks and roles!

This is important - align all the assumptions you have made with your team, don't do it alone. Get the community together! If you haven't gone over roles with your project team, have a quick chat about how you set up the RACI. Make sure everyone is comfortable with their roles and responsibilities in the project.

One of the most important things is to agree on the RACI matrix that you have created with project stakeholders before starting.

#6. Use it throughout the duration of the project

When you implement a task or deliverable, refer back to the RACI and make sure you know who is responsible for what.

Make sure that what was established at the beginning of a project, the roles, and responsibilities towards tasks, are still correct. A good way to do this is to provide a version online, using Google Docs or a project management tool like monday.com.

Our Best Tips on the RACI matrix

  • There should be exactly one person responsible (R) in each row. If more than one person is responsible, much of the clear assignment of responsibility is lost. If no one is responsible - then it is even worse.
  • If more than one responsible person (R) has been assigned per row, after all, you should think about splitting the task.
  • If a column (role) has too many A's and R's, it is a potential bottleneck. Here it should be checked if there is too much responsibility on this role.
  • If a role contains hardly any assignments, you can think about whether it needs to be included at all.