Solving who does what in your project can be a challenge. An RACI chart is a project management tool that helps you do just that.
In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about producing a RACI chart for your project.
Does your team call it a RASCI chart? We’ll also cover that extra “S.” There’s a lot to see, so… Start!
What is a RACI chart?
RACI (also called: racy) is a way to categorize stakeholders to define their roles and responsibilities in a project. The letters at the top represent:
- Responsible: These people are responsible for certain tasks. They are the “creator” of a deliverable.
- Approver: This is the person responsible for the job in question who will give your approval.
- Consulted: These people want to know the task and we will seek their opinions before making a decision or action.
- Informed: This group receives one-way communication to keep them up-to-date with progress and other messages after a decision or action.
Remember that people can fall into several categories. Here’s an example.
Knowing what people do and the influence they have is an important part of managing a project.
What’s different about the RASCI model?
Not much, actually. RASCI includes an additional option to mark people as support and “Support” (that’s the S). This figure is someone who can provide resources, information, or who will generally support you to get the job done.
What RACI charts are used for
Predominantly, RACI and RASCI are used as an array of roles and responsibilities. They clarify the relationships between tasks and people in projects. Why bother doing it? Well, people don’t always know what they’re supposed to do. A table that clearly explains what you expect from them in the project.
Include it in the documentation of your roles and responsibilities for the project.
It’s also useful for communication plans because it can give you ideas about which stakeholders need what kind of communications at what points. You can point out what decisions will be made by consensus, which is also useful for identifying them soon.
Another use for this is for process mapping. If you are changing a process as part of your project, you can use RACI to walk through the process and record who will affect any changes in the process.
However, this chart won’t be much helpful unless you keep it up-to-date, as people change roles and move to different positions of responsibility during a project.
The problems of not having RACI graphics
When you don’t document who’s responsible for what, you risk:
- Decisions take longer because no one is clear who will have the last word.
- Guilt when things go wrong.
- A team with overwork because you haven’t balanced the work properly.
- Inactivity: When people aren’t sure if they should do something, they usually don’t do anything.
If these are problems you have, read the article Getting people accountable for their work. It has some good suggestions for people to do what they have to do.
How to produce a RACI chart
The most common way to view the use of RACI or RASCI is in tabular form, with individuals (or groups) at the top and the task list on the side.
The Praxis Framework explains that you create it by:
“… combining two breakdown structures: the breakdown structure of the work with the breakdown structure of the organization. If necessary, the work breakdown structure could be replaced by a breakdown structure of the product.”
Pro tip: This is how RACI links to your WBS, in case you’re wondering what the difference was.
A tabular format is fine for documenting the roles and responsibilities of your stakeholders and it’s quite easy to bring down a RACI template for use over and over again.
So, we do this:
- Identify the job (use your work breakdown structure if you have one, for speed).
- Identify people including suppliers and customers. It’s traditional to use roles instead of names in the table, but I’d personally like to use real names where there’s only one person.
- Fill your RACI template with roles/names and tasks.
- Mark first the people who are responsible.
- Now add the accounts.
- Now add The Viewed, Informed, and Support (if used). Do this as a team if necessary, but it’s easier to start with a draft than a blank table.
- Distributes the RACI box.
- Make changes based on feedback.
- Sign it when it’s complete.
- Don’t forget to check it from time to time to make sure nothing has changed.
An alternative way to think about RACI
If you have difficulty remembering how many you have in each group, think of RACI as a triangle.
There is only one person responsible for the task or project, and they are at the top. Then you have several people responsible for various elements. A larger group is queried and provides information. An even larger group receives regular communications but is not active in any other way.
Checking your RACI matrix
Once the account assignment matrix is complete, it’s worth taking a few minutes to check what you’ve done. To find:
- People without empty spaces: they have too much work assigned.
- People with a large amount of “A”: can you push your authority beyond the organization?
- People with too many “Rs”: they are responsible for many deliverables. Check his work balance.
Also review tasks.
- Tasks that have many “Rs”: Are there too many people involved in this to get the job done on time?
- Tasks that have a lot of “C”: Too many people you’re looking at are going to delay work.
- Tasks that many “I” have: Can you create a rule that says people only receive information for exception, that is, when they need to know that something deviates from the plan? This will save you time to communicate when everything goes as expected.
Finally, check for blanks. Each task must have a responsible person and one responsible person. It is not necessarily necessary for people to be supportive, consulted and informed for each task, but if you have many gaps here, it could be a sign that some stakeholders have been lost.
RACI and PRINCE2
PRINCE2® does not have RACI/RASCI in exactly the same way as described above. The method has three levels of responsibility:
- Producer (this is the equivalent of Responsible)
- Reviewer (as a QA role)
- Approver (same as Responsible)
You document these roles for each work package. It works well as well as well, but its use is limited for communications because it really only defines the responsibilities of the project manager, the team manager, the project guarantee, and the project support roles. You can also assign responsibilities to the sponsor and the main provider, but I think RACI is generally a better and more comprehensive option.
RACI and the PMBOK Guide – Sixth Edition
You can have multiple RACI charts for a project, each with different levels of detail
RACI (non-RASCI) is part of section 9 of the PMBOK Guide® – Sixth Edition, Resource Management.
The book notes that it can produce multiple responsibility allocation matrices at different levels. You may have one high-level one for the overall project and then lower level for particular activities.
Tips and tricks for fantastic RACI graphics
Finally, let me give you some tips and tricks on how to make your RACI and RASCI pictures as useful as possible.
Responsible and responsible responsibilities should take the lowest possible place in the hierarchy.
You only have one person responsible for any activity. The
responsible person must have the authority to be truly responsible.
Have as few people as possible consulted or informed.
Get your RACI letter agreed by the team.
The Accountability Matrix (RACI / RASCI) is a useful project management tool that highlights the type of information that each participant or group of stakeholders will have. But it’s just not enough. You have to engage stakeholders beyond the network to make the project a success.
However, RACI gives you a starting point to identify and categorize stakeholders, so you can then participate and work properly with them.