Dealing with complex projects often leads to losing track of roles and responsibilities. At times managers end up assigning tasks without holding anyone responsible. It ends up in loss of task accountability and confusion. To combat such issues, the concept of the RACI chart is effective. Read on to know more about the RACI chart and how it saves time in project management!

What is a RACI Chart?

RACI chart can be inferred as a visual tool that assists in understanding the assigned works and expectations to keep from different members. It avoids confusion and increases productivity by recognizing the answerable people. 

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What Does RACI Stand For?

RACI is an acronym for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed, which further indicates the status of these properties concerning decisions, tasks or milestones. It can be referred to as Responsibility Assignment Matrix, which uses a diagram to manage the task project and members' roles and responsibilities. It clarifies the work level and status of each member, bringing transparency. 

RACI Chart Definition Guide

Find below the detailed description of the components of the RACI chart:

Responsible

It ensures the responsibility of someone to oversee the completion of the task and make it happen. Generally, a responsible person can be one, but there can be more people involved depending on the need.

Accountable

A responsible person can act as accountable. Their role is to segregate the tasks and tag them as complete or incomplete after the performance. There can be one accountable person for a task.

Consulted

The consultation invites feedback and criticism, which can be utilized for improvement. Experts or directly impacted people can review the task. The number of consulted members does not hold any limit. 

Informed

It includes a person who should not be involved in details. Rather an overview of the work is enough for them. The number of informed individuals also does not hold a limit. 

Understanding Responsible vs Accountable in the RACI Model

We previously mentioned responsible, and accountable people could be the same. However, their functions differ. The responsible person or people focus on the task and ensure its completion. Each employee performing the task can be deemed responsible. 

Accountable people focus on results and check their validity. They emphasize status and quality. In case of problems concerning the delivery, accountable people will be answerable. 

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RACI Alternatives

The RACI chart can be replaced with the below-mentioned models without compromising the results. 

RASCI Matrix

Besides Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed, the RASCI matrix includes S for Supportive. The supportive person is expected to assist the responsible without being accounted for the task's result.

DACI Chart

Another alternative to the RACI chart, DACI, is an acronym for Driver, Approver, Contributor and Informed. DACI chart mainly deals with and assists in decisive parts of the project or team. They guide the team towards taking the correct decision based on the factors. 

RAPID Responsibility Matrix

RAPIC is an acronym for Recommend, Agree, Perform, Input and Decide. It is also associated with decision-making. The recommender can suggest an opinion, while the Decider solely holds power in making decisions. 

How is a RACI model Used in Project Management?

The RACI model enables you to segregate and assign roles and responsibilities to different members. Viewing this through the RACI chart helps in not reassigning the task or overburdening the employees. It further ensures ease of finding the responsible and accountable person. 

When Should You Use a RACI Matrix?

RACI chart or matrix can be used in the following situations:

  • Tasks running interdependently or requiring multiple resources
  • Unclarity concerning task ownership or decision making
  • Requiring new employees due to high turnover
  • Uneven distribution of project tasks 
  • Requirement of approval or decision-making process

Best Practices for Using a RACI Chart in Project Management

The RACI chart serves the best purpose when mentioned conditions are followed:

  • Confirming the complete understanding of job roles and responsibilities by every individual present on the RACI chart
  • Assigning Responsible team members to tasks 
  • Getting hold of each aspect of RACI
  • Emphasize decisions, tasks and milestones in the RACI chart 
  • Be project specific when outlining to-do lists, meetings, due dates and other details 

RACI Matrix Rules

RACI chart or matrix requires a few rules to be followed for better efficiency:

  • Assign one Responsible person for a task
  • Assign one Accountable person for each task
  • Do not overload responsibilities on a single person
  • Incorporate the participation of each member in each task 
  • Ensure regular updates to consulted and informed persons

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Steps To Create an Excel RACI Matrix with a Template

RACI chart in Excel can simply be created by working on these five steps:

Step 1: List project deliverables/tasks in column A

Enlist all the work needed for the project. Label the group of tasks, decisions, milestones, or relevant tags. Name it column A. 

Step 2: Add team members or project roles across row 1

Column A is the list, so begin from Column B. Label the first row of each column with the project role or team member. Specify each participating member for different tasks such as stakeholders, reviewers, subject matter experts or executer.  

Step 3: Insert a fresh worksheet for RACI roles and definitions

Add a new worksheet and the acronym in each row. Add the definitions in the next column, which will act as a reminder whenever required and help assign the roles. 

Step 4: Add a drop-down list of roles

Add a Data Validation option on the first open cell of the main worksheet. It will add a drop-down menu for RACI roles. Add a reference from the second sheet containing RACI letters and further settings.

Step 5: Assign a RACI value to everyone on every task

The above settings will help easily assign tasks according to the RACI chart. 

Pros and Cons of RACI

Sticking to the RACI chart holds pros and cons discussed below:

Pros

  • Prevents overburdening individuals with work
  • Helps in open communication with employees and stakeholders
  • Provides necessary and concise information based on requirements
  • Assists in understanding the future impact on work

Cons

  • It requires time to create RACI chart, which may often be utilized for other productive works
  • It will be useless if members do not stick to it or do not use it for reference
  • No flexibility in roles
  • Requires education of RACI chart and definitions to every individual else it will be incomprehensible
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