When multiple people come together for a project, they often have varying opinions about their roles and responsibilities. If the role is not clear to them or the requirements and expectations are constantly changing, team members are at a higher risk of productivity loss and dissatisfaction. This can, in turn, lead to confusion and uncertainty. Therefore, as a manager, you must establish clarity on each team member’s roles and responsibilities. And that’s where a RACI chart can come in handy.
A RACI chart or matrix is a responsibility assignment chart that chalks out all the key roles and responsibilities of the team for major tasks. It is a simple and effective way to document the responsibilities and levels of involvement of various stakeholders in the project. Using one can significantly improve your project’s success.
RACI is an acronym that stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed. Each of these letters represents a level of responsibility for a given task.
The RACI Chart is often an underrated project document and offers a slew of benefits:
Sets expectations: The RACI chart can help set clear expectations regarding the team’s roles and responsibilities. This eliminates confusion and misunderstanding that arise from multiple people working against one another on the same task due to poorly defined tasks and responsibilities.
Encourages responsibility among team members: The RACI chart holds the team accountable and encourages them to take ownership of their respective roles and responsibilities. Additionally, it allows them to defer their work to someone else whenever required. This way, you can avoid any judgment and politics while encouraging your team to act responsibly without micromanagement.
Allows for even distribution of work: One look at the RACI chart will show you how work is being distributed within the team. If you see that a few members are taking on too much and their work can be shared, you can redistribute it to other members.
Ensures that no position or task is omitted: If you find that any position or task is missing or overlooked, adding them in the RACI chart will ensure that nothing is omitted later.
A RACI chart works well for pretty much every project out there. However, it would be especially beneficial for large, complex projects with several interdependent tasks.
Here are a few ways in which you can use a RACI chart:
A RACI matrix is essentially a table that chalks out and records the roles and responsibilities of various team members to specific tasks and milestones. It is a simple visual tool that can be made using any application. However, the easiest way to make it is on Microsoft Excel.
You can create a comprehensive RACI matrix using five simple steps and the example chart given below.
This includes team members such as the project manager, sponsor, developers, business analysts, designers, etc. It is always a good idea to have the team members’ names instead of the title or designation as it provides a sense of ownership and commitment to the task.
Depending on the type of project, milestones could include creating wireframes, testing, and designing for a website development project.
Create the RACI Matrix on Microsoft Excel or another software. Mention team member names horizontally and milestones vertically. One row must be dedicated to each milestone, while a column must be dedicated to each team member.
Once the matrix is created, fill up the boxes with corresponding responsibility values- R, A, C, or I to each team member against the given milestones.
Here is an example of a RACI chart that you can use. Alternatively, you could also check out our free template that works well for any project.
When you finish making your RACI Chart, make sure to review it based on the following rules:
While a RACI chart can be a great tool to simplify your project and its planning process, it can come with its share of challenges if not created correctly. Here are a few common mistakes you need to avoid.
The RACI chart is not the project plan. So don’t get into too many details about the tasks and milestones. Additionally, ensure that you don’t have daily or weekly tasks listed in your RACI chart. Instead, just include major milestones or activities that require a potential decision to be made. If additional details are required, share the project plan where required.
Ensure that you keep the ‘accountable’ party and the ‘responsible’ party of your project separate. They serve two different purposes. Although there are rare circumstances where both are the same person, it is best to keep them separate.
The RACI chart allows team members to defer tasks to other team members when required. However, it is essential to ensure that this does not happen frequently. Constant deviation from the assigned roles can lead to confusion and lack of credibility of the RACI matrix.
While the structure of a RACI chart remains the same across the board, its contents and essence can vary depending on the project. Therefore, even if you are using an existing, convenient-to-use template, make sure you edit it to accommodate your project’s requirements.
Ensure that you create your RACI chart after consulting your team and stakeholders to understand what everyone is working on; consider any special requirements for the project. For instance, the project sponsor may want to be the one who approaches the customer for approvals, making them responsible for the task. Hence, consulting with your team and stakeholders while creating your RACI chart can help get their approval. Don’t forget to send everyone a copy.
After the RACI chart is completed, it is now time to review and analyze what the chart conveys. To do so, we must proceed with the vertical and horizontal analysis.
Here are some of the questions to ask while conducting the vertical analysis:
Here are some of the questions to ask while conducting the vertical analysis.
These tips and tricks can help you create an effective RACI matrix that can add significant value to your project and increase its chances of success.
Here is a free RACI chart template that you can use effectively for any project. You can add more information to the template depending on what is crucial to your specific project and business.