RACI Matrix Basics – how to use one

April 5, 2012
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The RACI matrix is a tool used to help project managers better delegate tasks throughout a project and to stop or prevent project members doubling up on tasks and responsibilities. RACI is an acronym standing for

  • Responsible
  • Accountable
  • Consulted
  • Informed

One of the difficulties a project manager can face is having people not take responsibility for one or more aspects of the project. Things can quickly go bad when there is no-one taking responsibility even for a small part of the project. The RACI matrix if applied successfully overcomes that specific problem.

The two steps needed to be taken by the project manager are to define all tasks within the project and then to assign responsibility for each task. If you create a RACI matrix you will achieve these steps and enable the project to proceed.

The creation of the RACI matrix is straightforward. A chart with cells is created. The following steps are completed in order.

The tasks involved in the project are listed down the left hand side of the chart. They are listed in order of when they are to be completed and /or grouped by phase normally.

The roles to be performed in the project are listed across the top of the chart.

Then the cells are filled in showing who is responsible for each task and who is to be consulted, accountable and informed about each task. Every task needs a person who is responsible for said task. No task can have more than one person who is accountable for said task.

The entire matrix is discussed in detail with project members so there is complete understanding and agreement before the project begins. Any misunderstanding or conflict must be resolved at this time. Do not proceed otherwise.

  1. Now there are certain qualifications when enacting your RACI matrix.  Only one team member should be allocated as the person ‘Accountable’, these representatives are the people first in line if something goes wrong. It is essential that each person in this role knows their responsibility and others within their team can refer to them for any problem within their remit.
  2. The people in the ‘Consulted’ section can be more than one. A team could have one, two or more of these experts who are chosen because of their specialist knowledge. Other team members can refer to them for expert advice throughout the life of the project.
  3. And finally the ‘Informed’ people could again be more than one and these people must be kept in the loop whenever any decision of significance is taken or if a document is prepared. This is where the use of regular status reports regarding the project is vital.  By producing such reports and providing a copy to the ‘Informed’ people, any potential problems can be nipped in the bud and the project has a far better chance of finishing on time and on budget.

 

You can find more information and grab a copy of a Free RACI Matrix Template and Role Communication Template by clicking here.

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