The RACI Matrix, sometimes know as the Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM) or RACI Model, is a simple tool that is useful for highlighting roles and responsibilities during a project, program, or indeed any organizational change. I first came across the RACI Matrix whilst on an ITIL training course a few years ago and find them particularly useful for clarifying roles and responsibilities in cross-functional or cross-departmental projects spanning a matrix environment.
RACI is an acronym for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed. The RACI Matrix enables you to identify who is responsible, accountable, consulted, or informed, for every task which needs to be done on a project.
Here is some more detail about what each letter in the RACI acronym means:
|Responsible||This is the person or role responsible for performing the task, that is, the actual person doing the work to complete the task.|
|Accountable||This is the person who is ultimately accountable for the task being done in a satisfactory manner. Essentially, the Accountable person must sign-off the work that the Responsible person produces. Typically the owner of the process will be the Accountable person. There should only ever be one Accountable person per task.|
|Consulted||Those people whose input is used to complete the task, thus, communication with this group will be 2-way in nature.|
|Informed||Those people who are informed as to the status of the task, thus, communication with this group is 1-way in nature.|
To avoid any confusion as to who is doing what, you should have just one participation type assigned to a given person for each task in the matrix. The exception to this is that sometimes the Accountable person may also be the Responsible person, that is, responsible for completing the task.
An example of a RACI Matrix is shown below:
There are a number of rules you should keep in mind when creating a RACI matrix:
The above RACI Matrix example what very abstract and theoretical. The RACI Matrix below should give you a more realistic idea of what a RACI Matrix looks like in real life:
I hope you can see that RACI matrices are simple to create yet especially powerful for clarifying roles and responsibilities across people within different parts of the organization.
If you think about the programs or projects you run, I’m sure you’ll agree that if you don’t spend some time thinking about role that you and your team play in every task which needs to be performed, and clarify this in some way (hint: use a RACI Matrix 🙂 ), then it is likely gaps will appear.
The following visualization can make it much easier to understand how to use the model:
What this visualization shows is that there can be just one accountable person (signing off the work), more than one responsible person (doing the work), potentially multiple people being consulted (giving input), and potentially many people who need to be informed (given status updates etc.).
Pro tip: you can see in the visualization that one R is in bold. It can sometimes be a good idea to use bold to highlight the fact that a single person is responsible for pulling together all the people who are required to complete the task and making sure they do their bit. This way work doesn’t fall down cracks between people and end up incomplete or delayed.
The primary function of a RACI Matrix is to connect people to tasks. Basically, a RACI Matrix lets everyone involved in a project or organizational change know exactly what is expected of them on the project, and when people know what’s expected of them it’s more likely they’ll work on the right things and get them done on time. Thus, a RACI matrix is a great tool to use for managing a change project, particularly where functional boundaries are crossed.
If you’re a project manager it would make sense to keep this document as part of your project communication plan.
The steps you need to take in order to create a RACI Matrix are as follows. It is recommended you do this as a group exercise so that agreement on tasks and responsibilities is reached.
If you’re new to creating RACI Charts then you once you’ve tried to create your first one it can be a good idea to review the following best practice:
By now you should have a really good understanding of how to use a responsibility assignment matrix. There are actually lots of different variations on the RACI Matrix (including PACSI, RASI, RAPID, and RATSI). The most popular is the RASCI Matrix.
As previously mentioned, a big problem with a RACI Matrix is that you can’t determine who has the overall responsibility for getting a task done, as a task can have lots of R’s. A RASCI Matrix solves this problem in a very simple way.
Just as we were able to use a triangle to remember how to use a RACI Matrix, we can use a similar triangle to show us how to use a RASCI matrix:
You can download a free RACI Matrix template here to use in your own projects and adapt to suit your needs.
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