The RACI matrix, or the RACI chart. You've likely used one of the terms before or heard of them while working on a project. Or maybe you're here because you recently joined a project, and a project team member just mentioned one of the terms, but you're not quite sure what they are talking about.
No matter whether you've heard of the RACI matrix or the RACI chart (they are the same), it should be terms you're familiar with.
You might have the most effective project plan and a rockstar team to back it up. However, if you're not crystal clear about task assignments or roles and responsibilities on a task level, you'll eventually experience confusion, which will result in trouble for your project.
Whether you're an expert or a newbie, we at TrueNxus will share everything you need to know or want to know about a RACI matrix in this article.
Below is everything we will cover. Feel free to skip ahead.
- What is a RACI matrix?
- RACI matrix roles and responsibilities
- How to create a RACI chart: example and template
- Tips to optimize your RACI chart
- RACI matrix best practices
What is a RACI matrix?
The RACI matrix is a simple and effective tool used to map out project roles and responsibilities. Within a RACI, you can align stakeholders by documenting who is accountable, who is responsible, who should be consulted, and who should be informed. It is also flexible to map responsibilities to any level of detail that makes sense to you and your project team. You can map responsibilities across buckets of work (i.e., workstreams), deliverables, decisions, or even activities.
As a best practice, it is best to create a RACI during the project planning phase, the second of five project management phases.
RACI matrix roles and responsibilities
The RACI model brings a sense of order by mapping out the roles and responsibilities of every stakeholder. Below are the four roles that stakeholders might play in any project:
- Responsible - People or stakeholders that are on the hook for executing the work or making the decisions. These individuals are the actual doers of work.
- Accountable - People or stakeholders that are required or expected to justify actions or decisions. These individuals are the "owners" of the work and are expected to assign out the work's responsibility to other stakeholders. An easy way to think of Accountable individuals is "the buck stops" with them. A best practice is only to identify one Accountable resource.
- Consulted - People or stakeholders that should be asked for input on the work being done. These individuals should be kept "in the loop" during the work being completed.
- Informed - People or stakeholders that should be kept "in the know." Unlike those who are consulted, individuals who are informed do not provide advice; rather, they should be kept abreast of what's happening.
How to create a RACI chart: example and template
A RACI matrix can be flexible in that it is really up to you and the project team to decide at what level of detail you want to document project roles and responsibilities. Once you decide how granular you want to write a RACI, whether it be workstreams, deliverables, decisions, or even activities, it's easy to create.
Below are a few simple steps on how to create a RACI. For simplicity's sake, let's assume we are creating a RACI matrix for project deliverables.
- Document all deliverables the project plans to create and document them on the left-side.
- List all project team members and list them on the top of the matrix.
- Fill in the matrix identifying who is responsible, who is accountable, who is consulted, and who is informed for each deliverable.
- Ensure every deliverable has at least one responsible stakeholder.
- Make sure no deliverable has more than one accountable stakeholder.
RACI chart example
This is a sample RACI chart that gives you a quick glimpse at how everything fits together.
Download a free RACI matrix template in excel
Are you looking for a RACI chart template? We've got you covered. Try our free RACI template in Excel to help you save time and effort on setup.
Tips to optimize your RACI chart
In an ideal situation, you will sit down with your entire project team and agree on each teammate's role and responsibility. However, we all know that this is not always possible. Everyone's busy balancing multiple priorities.
However, we recommend ensuring that everyone who has a designated role on the RACI chart is aware of their role and has provided their buy-in. The purpose of a useful RACI matrix is to document who's doing what. By doing so, you'll avoid confusion during execution.
Below are some tips to ensure you make sure your RACI chart is useful:
- Concentrate on project tasks, critical milestones, and key decisions in the RACI chart. Avoid generic or administrative activities like stand-ups or recurring meetings.
- Align your RACI matrix with your project plan. By doing so, you'll avoid confusion about due dates and any other details.
- Include your RACI definitions in your RACI chart. We advise you include the definitions as a legend. By doing so, you'll avoid any subjectivity.
- Include your workstreams directly in the RACI matrix. You can do this by grouping the tasks in your RACI chart. Grouping tasks will be an easy way to direct the stakeholders to their workstream.
RACI matrix best practices
The RACI matrix is a useful tool for the project team to ensure alignment on project roles and responsibilities. However, it would help if you kept in mind that it is merely a tool to help the project team eliminate any conflicts or ambiguities in the plan. As a result, you should leverage the RACI early in the project.
Below are a few best practices when building a RACI matrix.
- Check that every stakeholder has a role in at least one of the cells. If they are not responsible, accountable, consulted, or informed, it is worth questioning whether they need to be a project team member.
- Confirm that there are blank cells. If you have every cell filled in, then you likely have too many cooks in the kitchen.
- It's ok if not every cell has someone who is consulted or informed. We advise that you try to be as lean as possible and avoid giving people too many roles.
A RACI matrix, or RACI chart is a great basic tool to make your project easier to manage by creating less confusion and more accountability.
However, just remember, you need more than just laying out your project team's roles and responsibilities in planning and executing your project. You still need to build out a project plan and monitor and report progress.
TrueNxus understands what it's like to perform project management. Whether you need help with:
- One or multiple projects
- Planning projects (i.e., project charters, project plans)
- Executing projects
- Monitoring and controlling projects (i.e., status reports)
- Visualizing all of your work in one central location
- Collaborating with your colleagues, clients, consultants, contractors, and other third parties
TrueNxus has got you covered!
Here's a look at some of its features:
1. Multiple views
Your employees and clients require different ways to visualize work across time. Not only that, but each individual specializes in a specific domain, and as such, each thinks about work differently. To ensure successful planning and execution, you need software that provides personalized views that make sense everyone involved in executing the actual work. These views need to be in sync as well.
TrueNxus provides you with the following views:
A list is a table that allows you to manage your cross-functional projects easily. You can organize your project work into groups such as workstreams or any logical way to categorize tasks.
With TrueNxus's Timeline, a Gantt-chart like view, you can visualize your project plans across time. It lets you understand how all of the work fits together. You can make updates to the project plans through an interactive interface.
3. Automated project status reports
No matter everyone’s role within the RACI matrix, or RACI chart, we understand that each member of your team is busy balancing multiple priorities, from your day-to-day responsibilities to various programs and projects. Therefore, TrueNxus successfully executes monitoring and controlling projects by automatically analyzing the project's health in real-time, giving senior leadership and the team the insights they need to make decisions and move the ball forward.
4. My Work
Another essential thing for everyone involved in project management is understanding what you're on the hook for delivering. With TrueNxus, you can view every task and every dependency vital to you, across every project, in one location, ensuring success.
Additionally, we know that you don't want to let your colleagues down or be let down. You can ensure the successful delivery of programs and projects through collaboration and documenting task dependencies. By doing so, you can be accountable when others are reliant on you. You can understand dependent tasks, change implications, and adjust course as needed.
6. Automated notifications
No matter where you fit in your project's RACI matrix, or RACI chart, you can also successfully execute work by leveraging software to notify when changes occur. With TrueNxus's 20+ out-of-the-box automated notifications, you will have the transparency you need to stay in-the-know.
Additionally, the entire company can ensure project plans are successful by collaborating directly in the app. With TrueNxus, you can communicate with colleagues, clients, consultants, and contractors in one place.
8. Project charter
Lastly, you can leverage OKR and create a project charter. You can ensure the successful execution of projects by documenting and aligning the project's objectives, benefits, and risks from the very beginning. TrueNxus is the only software that has a project charter directly in the app.
Again, once you've got your RACI covered, it's time to really get planning and executing, and we have you covered. See for yourself, and sign up for a free trial today (no credit card required).