What Is a RACI Matrix? (Definition and When to Use It)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 April 2022

Project managers can use the RACI matrix to organise responsibilities in the team or delegate tasks among employees. This may encourage employees to acknowledge what they're doing in the team and complete their tasks on time. Learning about this organisation tool can help you coordinate your duties and finish work more efficiently. In this article, we define what RACI matrix is, explain what RACI stands for, discuss when to use this delegation chart and provide effective tips on how to create this tool.

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What is a RACI matrix?

Learning the answer to 'What is a RACI matrix?' can help you organise tasks more efficiently when managing extensive projects in the team. A RACI matrix, also known as a responsibility assignment chart, is a diagram that project managers can use to delegate tasks to team members. This can help employees to understand their roles in the project and when they might expect to complete the tasks. Project managers usually list the responsibilities and write employees' names next to the duties they can fulfil in the project.

The RACI matrix is a good way for employees to make decisions based on their skills and capabilities in the team. For example, a project manager might assign the graphic designer with logo creation tasks. This ensures that people have the correct tasks that match their skills. Some people usually require RACI charts to have a visual representation of the project plan and how they might help other team members with their duties. RACI charts may also encourage team members to take full accountability when understanding their tasks.

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What RACI means in project management

The word RACI may help project managers create charts with the correct designations. This might ensure that project managers cover the team's full responsibilities and provide everyone with a suitable role. Matrices also present a table of numbers and or expressions. Here's a list of what each letter stands for in the word RACI:

  • Responsible: Every team member is responsible for their tasks and may complete them before deadlines. Some people can also work on the same task and take full responsibility for completing it together.

  • Accountable: The person who owns the task may be accountable for using resources and finishing the objective on time. They might also approve the task when first being assigned a role in the project.

  • Consulted: Some people in the team may offer feedback and request information about the project's development. This is important for communicating progress and seeking guidance on certain tasks.

  • Informed: Specific team members might request updates or decisions regarding the project and tasks. This can help these team members create progress reports to show to the project manager.

When to use the RACI matrix

Some project managers create the RACI matrix before starting the project. This can ensure team members understand their roles in the team. The RACI chart may also be useful for projects that require multiple resources and skills from different employees. Here are a few scenarios of when you might use the RACI matrix at work:

Helping the team to understand their tasks

A RACI matrix guides team members through their responsibilities in a project. This may ensure that team members work efficiently and communicate their concerns or progress regarding the delegated tasks. Some people might also require clarification on certain obligations, which can encourage project managers to provide detailed steps on the RACI chart. Adding the names of stakeholders at the top of the diagram may help employees locate their designated tasks during the project's development.

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Ensuring a smooth work-flow across the team

Project managers can use the RACI matrix to ensure team members work efficiently. For example, if two employees work together on a single task, they can discuss how to distribute the workload equally between the two of them. This type of communication allows both parties to work smoothly and cooperatively, which may encourage other team members to follow the same process. A smooth work-flow also helps the team to complete their tasks to the best standard and reduce errors during the project's development stages.

Facilitating strong communication

The RACI chart may encourage team members to communicate concerns about their tasks and how they can complete them before deadlines. For example, if over two employees require the same resources, they might arrange meetings as a team to plan the number of resources to buy for the project. A project manager can highlight the objectives on the RACI matrix, which might create conversation among employees about daily goals. With strong communication in the workplace, team members might develop trust and feel more engaged with the project.

Related: Why Interpersonal Communication Is So Important at Work

Assigning work fairly among team members

Distributing work between team members may encourage them to collaborate and achieve high levels of engagement. Project managers usually devote their time to making a RACI chart for the team, which can represent fair workloads among employees. This diagram might also help project managers to split tasks equally between team members and set expectations for each employee. Team members that feel unsure about their workload in the project can arrange one-to-one meetings with the project manager to discuss the delegated tasks.

Understanding what resources to use

Some employees may want to understand the project's resources and how they can obtain them. For example, the RACI matrix might contain additional information about the resources required for each task. This may help the project manager organise materials and resources for the team members, depending on the type of project and workload among employees. Some of these project resources and materials might include:

  • office equipment

  • computer programs

  • modelling tools

  • project budgets

  • design machines

  • office space

  • travelling expenses

  • natural materials

  • new technology

5 tips for producing a RACI matrix

Project managers usually create RACI charts in Microsoft Excel to achieve a neat structure of team member names and their designated roles. You might use a different program that allows you to design charts with columns representing assignments. Here are five tips that may help you produce a RACI chart for the team:

1. Explain the purpose of each role

Team members may want to understand the purpose of each role and how they can devote their resources to the project. You can add definitions for responsible, accountable, consulted and informed roles so that team members acknowledge what to expect. Project managers usually include the employees' names and their designated roles underneath them at the top of the RACI chart.

2. Detail the tasks and milestones

Some project managers may include a description of the tasks and a guide on how to perform them in the left column of a RACI chart. It might be a good idea to reference milestones in the project and how team members can reach those accomplishments. For example, if the project focuses on creating new business products, the milestone may tell employees about reaching the 80% development mark.

3. Share the chart with team members

Presenting the RACI matrix to team members is important for them to understand the project. You can arrange meetings with the team to discuss the RACI chart and answer questions for them. Consider asking for feedback on the chart, as this might help you improve the delegated task system in the future. Some people in the team might request switching roles with somebody else if they want to use their skills in a different task.

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4. Ask the team some questions

Asking questions about the RACI chart is important to notice the areas that require improvement. People might want more tasks or they might request further clarification on the roles. You can ask questions that encourage team members to provide honest feedback about their tasks. Here are some examples of questions you can ask:

  • Is this chart clear enough to understand?

  • Do people want more or fewer tasks?

  • Does everyone think they can achieve the deadlines?

  • How realistic are these milestones?

  • Do you understand the RACI system?

  • Would people rather work together on tasks?

5. Update the RACI matrix accordingly

Some team members or stakeholders might request different tasks halfway through the project. You can change the RACI matrix according to the new requirements and provide employees with the updated version. It's important to stay flexible and keep the chart accurate for each task and responsibility on the team.

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