Understanding Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RACI Matrix)

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Introduction

In project management, it is very important for all the stakeholders to understand the responsibilities and accountabilities of each person. While smaller teams can have more informal rules to keep track of responsibilities, in bigger teams with cross-department and inter-organizational collaboration, it is very important to create a more formal process to track responsibilities. This helps reduce confusion and leads project to faster completion.

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RACI Matrix

One of the important tools for tracking roles & responsibilities is the Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RACI matrix). RACI stands for:

  • Responsible – Who is responsible for the execution of the task?
  • Accountable – Who is accountable for the tasks and signs off the work?
  • Consulted – Who are the subject matter experts who to be consulted?
  • Informed – Who are the people who need to be updated of the progress?

raci-matrix-responsible-accountable

The difference between Consulted and Informed categories is that in the former case there is a two-way communication (getting their inputs in the process too) and in the latter case there is just a one-way communication (just letting them know).

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Example Usage

Let us take a simple example. John is developing a feature X that would be integrated with feature Y developed by Jess. Mike is the project manager and Irina heads the quality control. For feature X, in this case, John is “Responsible”, Mike is “Accountable”, Jess needs to be “consulted”, since her features have to work with John’s features, and Irina needs to be just “Informed”.

Why is a RACI matrix useful?

  1. It lets the organization know if some people are assigned with too many or too few responsibilities.
  2. It keeps everybody on the same page on who is accountable for a particular task.
  3. Keeps all the necessary people in the loop and reduces miscommunications.
  4. It helps you develop a simple communication system to keep those in the “I” category informed (through email or IM), while involving only those in the “C” categories for meetings and interactive communication. This saves everybody’s time.

How to make the RACI work better?

  1. Make sure that every task has at least one person assigned for “R” and “A” roles. In some cases both the roles might be taken by the same person (if the task is simple and non-critical).
  2. Make sure that every task has only one person assigned as “A”. Though responsibilities can be shared, accountabilities have to be fixed to a single person.
  3. If there are too many people in the “C” category, figure out if all of them need to be in the loop. Consider moving some of them to the “I” category. Also keep the “I” category to a minimum to reduce the noise in communication.

In summary, RACI matrix is a great project management tool that greatly improves the communication within the team and helps getting the tasks done faster. If used right it would reduce the amount of email noise (getting emails for tasks that you don’t need to be informed of) and helps the whole team to stay productive.

Book Suggestion

Effective Project Management: Traditional, Agile, Extreme

  • RACI Matrix: Section #I, Chapter #2

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We Reviewed this Book | Buy this Book on Amazon

RACI explained its simple yet powerful

RACI is an acronym for Responsible Accountable Consult and Inform. It is a great way to sort out roles and responsibilities in an organization. We Reviewed this RACI Youtube Channel.

 

 

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Balaji Viswanathan

Balaji Viswanathan

Balaji Viswanathan is the founder of Agni Innovation Labs that helps startups and small businesses with their marketing and management strategy. He has been blogging for the past 8 years on technology, finance and business related topics.

5 Responses

  1. Suzanne Garner says:

    Nice article, and I have a question. How do you keep the communication with the I’s to be one-way? In my organization I see I’s often trying to shift into the C role and provide comments etc. that distract the R’s from doing the work. Any advice?

  2. Ange Moore says:

    Hi Suzanne,
    there are two possibilities, either the I’s should really have been C’s in the first place (as in they have genuine information about how things work that needs to be taken into account), or, they are offering feedback as part of the process of accommodating change, in which case you may need to undertaken some sort of change management activity to help them with ‘what it means to them’.

  3. Suzanne Garner says:

    Thanks Ange. They are truly I’s. I suspect it’s more corporate politics that is driving them to try to elevate their importance to the project when they really don’t have anything to add – trying to posture themselves as subject matter experts without the subject matter expertise.

  1. June 7, 2012

    [...] Assign roles, responsibilities and accountabilities for the major stakeholders. Make sure all the stakeholders are on the same page regarding who is waiting for what task and who is responsible for getting that task done. One way to do this is by drawing a RACI matrix. [...]

  2. July 30, 2014

    Successful transformation requires clear structure and ownership. Helping your teams discuss and document accountability, decision-rights, and roles allows cross-functional teams to understand each other better and take action. A tool that can help provide that structure and ownership and develop the capacity for successful change is the RACI matrix.

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