What is a RACI Chart?

The RACI model is a matrix used to assign responsibilities and roles, bring clarity and structure to roles played by the team for project management. RACI is an acronym for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed. Each letter in the letter represents a specific level of task responsibility. By clear and strategic mapping of the roles involved in each project task, along with their task level, you can eliminate confusion.

Let’s learn more about these four responsibilities used in the RACI matrix in detail.

  • Responsible; stakeholders or people who will do the task. They should complete objectives or tasks or make a certain decision. Various people can be mutually ‘Responsible’.
  • Accountable; stakeholder or the individual who is the owner of the work. They must assign off when the decision or task or objectives are completed. Further, this individual should ensure that responsibilities are assigned in the matrix for all relevant tasks. 
  • Consulted; shareholders or individuals who need to provide input before the tasks can be done and approved. These individuals are active participants and “in the loop”.
  • Informed; shareholders or people who will be kept up to date about the deliverables and deadlines.  This may include details about project progress or when a certain task or deliverables are fulfilled. However, these people will not be formally consulted since they do not contribute directly to the project.

Advantages of a RACI chart

RACI charts can help you:

1. Streamline Communication:

RACI helps to refer back to during the project lifecycle. Moreover, you can streamline communication by including the right people at the right time as opposed to including every single individual in every decision. Therefore, you can speed up the decision-making and sign-off process.

2. Set Clear Expectations:

A RACI chart can improve your project efficiency. Creating this matrix at the project initiation will assist you in setting clear expectations about the roles and responsibilities. Further, your team will be in the loop about who’s responsible and for which tasks.

3. Ensure Better Transparency and Accountability:

As a project manager, you might be aware of how incredibly complex it is to integrate every team member’s point of view into the project. This is where RACI can be your best bet. RACI allows you to have a clear distinction between Consulted and Informed, allowing you to separate those updated about project progress from those involved in feedback.

4. Avoid Work Silos and Burnout:

The Project administrator often wears many hats as they have a lot of responsibility and may need to cover various roles in a project. The RACI matrix can help you avoid burnout along with effectively delegating the project responsibilities. Additionally, it can also help in mitigating a single point of failure if every responsibility and knowledge were to rest on a single individual, creating silos.

When to Use RACI Charts?

RACI charts should not be used for every project since adding complexity and process to a fast-moving project can slow things down. Therefore, if your team is small or roles are clearly defined or a similar structure has been used then you should just assign tasks to the team members. You don’t need to specify every team member’s involvement in each deliverable. Conversely, on large projects with various stakeholders, not integrating the RACI matrix or clearly defining responsibility can result in problems down the line. For instance, when certain team members ask why they aren’t involved, or you discover there is another layer of approval needed for every task.
The RACI matrix is a great way to avoid or manage scope creep. Additionally, it can also help you avoid excessive involvement from stakeholders throughout, which not only slows down the project but the decision-making process as well. Not only that, you can use RACI to specify roles upfront, thus avoiding confusion about who is involved and in what task. 

A RACI chart can be useful for tasks that require various resources or depend on other tasks and those that run simultaneously. Some of the scenarios where a RACI matrix can be useful include:

  • When there is conflict about decision making or task ownership.
  • When you experience turnover on a team and need someone on board to join the new role.
  • When the decision-making process can slow down the project.
  • If the project workload is not evenly distributed.

Certainly, not all projects and teams are created equally but if you’re lucky, your team might communicate well while staying on top of things.

RACI for Agile Projects

An Agile project refers to a project management approach that is based on fulfilling requirements iteratively and incrementally throughout the project life cycle. An agile project depends on vision, starting in a broad direction, along with adapting to conditions. You should use the RACI chart wisely on agile projects. 

Agile projects and the RACI chart provide clear issuance of responsibility and accountability: The aspect of responsibility being the team working on the project, and Accountable being the Product Owner. Then you just need to identify those you share information with and the contributors.

A lot of fundamentals of Agile warrant close and systematic communication with the team, so the people that need to be consulted are there and don’t necessarily need to be told that they are a contributor. It’s therefore not the case that every Agile project should use the RACI chart.

If you are following an Agile methodology, such as Scrum, you’ll notice that many roles are implicit. Assess your needs before going ahead with RACI charts—remember, they are not necessary for every project.

Final Thoughts:

Using a RACI chart should help you effectively plan, manage and execute your next project. Similarly, using the right project management tools can also help you be more efficient, and with ClientBuddha, you can have all of them under one hood. To see the platform in action, start your FREE trial of ClientBuddha today!

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