Have your team members ever been clueless about who to consult when there’s an ongoing crisis on a project?
In many cases, organizations might not keep solid track of the roles and responsibilities of team members involved in a project.
The practice raises frequent dilemmas and errors on an ongoing basis and ends up restricting the team from giving their A-game in their work performance.
When C-level executives are on a project, it’s usually beneficial to keep those stakeholders in the loop about the work status and avoid last-minute tantrums.
And to coordinate all of these under one frame, a RACI chart can come in handy.
In this article, we’ll walk you through what is a RACI chart- its definition, benefits, when, and how to create one.
What is a RACI Chart?
In simple terms, RACI Chart is a visual representation of the duties of all the team members related to an ongoing project.
The core purpose of the RACI chart is to map out and visualize the roles and responsibilities of team members or stakeholders involved in a project or process.
Not every project requires you to create a RACI chart; however, projects involving decision-makers and vast teams call for a RACI chart. This project management tool eliminates confusion and gaps within a team that the project managers often overlook.
Most importantly, RACI charts eradicate the inability to know who performs which task. Often, project managers rule out specific tasks because they assume they are delegated to someone else; however, in reality, they remain untouched.
You see, stress is common in the corporate world. 😓
But in situations like these, RACI charts come to your rescue.
RACI is the abbreviation of the terms Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed. Each project stakeholder or team member is assigned a letter – R, A, C, or I in the RACI chart.
The goal of this practice is to define their work extent and their responsibilities clearly.
A person responsible for completing a specific task delegated to them will be referred to with the letter ‘R,’ which stands for responsible. The assigned person is the “doer” of the work.
To maintain clarity throughout the workflow, every task is meant to be done by one responsible person.
However, sometimes you might need two or more members to complete a task. In that case, clearly defining the roles of each responsible person is a better way to avoid overlaps.
The person overseeing all allocated tasks is assigned the letter – ‘A,’ which stands for accountable. Sometimes, depending on the nature of the work, the person who is responsible can also be the accountable person.
This accountable (A) person has the final say on the outcome, and they might not be the performer of the work but someone who overlooks if the work is being completed on time without fail.
The person to whom the task performer should consult before making any decision will be assigned the letter ‘C,’ which means Consulted.
This particular person usually has subject matter expertise and insights into the outcome and is typically one among the decision-makers.
The person to whom the work status is constantly updated will be assigned the letter ‘I,’ which stands for informed in the RACI chart. Unlike a Consulted person, this person doesn’t necessarily have to provide feedback or revert back regarding the progress.
They are not directly involved in the task or decision; however, they are to be kept informed for purposes of transparency.
Benefits of RACI Charts
While the RACI charts could come in handy for the project manager at the time of need, it also holds various benefits. Here are a few reasons why you should use RACI charts:
- It can measurably increase accountability, communication, and overall efficiency.
- Using RAC charts to map out projects in which stakeholders are involved simplifies the entire workflow and streamlines the communication between authorities.
- RACI charts contribute to efficacy and allow project members to know their roles and duties. During a crisis, the project manager or concerned authority will know who to contact immediately to sort problems out.
- RACI charts ensure the decision makers are in the loop and know what’s happening in the project, eliminating the chances for bulk changes at the end of the completion of work.
- Clearly defines who is responsible for what tasks, reducing confusion and misunderstandings.
- The chart makes tracking progress easier and holds individuals accountable for each task.
- A RACI chart helps streamline decision-making and avoid delays caused by conflicting opinions by clearly identifying who has the final say when making business decisions.
- By clarifying roles and responsibilities, a RACI chart can help reduce duplicated effort and increase efficiency.
When to Create a RACI Chart?
You should create a RACI chart when a team or organization wants to clearly define roles and responsibilities for a specific project, process, or decision-making scenario.
It’s helpful in ensuring that all stakeholders know their roles and responsibilities and can help avoid confusion, duplication of effort, and ignored deadlines.
It’s best to create a chart at the beginning of a project and regularly review it to ensure that it remains relevant and practical.
Some example scenarios that require RACI charts are:
- Launching a New Product: A RACI chart can clarify who is responsible for various tasks related to product development, launch, distribution, and marketing.
- Implementing a New Process: A RACI chart can ensure that everyone understands their role in implementing a new process, from designing and testing to rolling it out and monitoring its effectiveness.
- Implementing a Cross-Functional Project: In case there is more than one department involved in a project, a RACI chart can help each member of every department to know their role, position, and duties.
How to Create a RACI Chart?
Now that you know the benefits of using RACI charts, it’s time to understand how to create a RACI chart from scratch.
Here’s a step-by-step guide for it: 👇🏻
#1. Understanding the Project
The first step in creating a RACI chart is to define the project’s objectives for which you’re planning to make a chart. This lets you know the workload and distribute it evenly among your team.
#2. Gathering Stakeholders’ Insights
The second step is to know who is taking up a certain project. Count on all relevant stakeholders, team members, departments, and other internal and external individuals involved in the project or process.
#3. Identify Tasks And Decisions
Note down all the tasks and decisions you and your team will deal with in the project but don’t mention the recurring and obvious tasks like daily meetings in the RACI charts.
#4. Assign Roles and Responsibilities
For each task or decision, assign an acronym of the RACI model. Assign every stakeholder or team members their relevant role by representing them through the letters.
#5. Create the Chart
Use a spreadsheet, Excel, or diagramming tool to create the RACI chart. List each task or decision and the roles and responsibilities assigned to each member.
#6. Review and Refine
Review the chart with all stakeholders to ensure that everyone understands their roles and make any necessary adjustments if needed.
Finally, once you’ve made the RACI chart, clearly explain it to all stakeholders and ensure that everyone understands their part.
Most importantly, ensure that you communicate the purpose and function of the RACI chart effectively. Many organizations fail to put the chart in proper action just because they failed to monitor and update it as needed to ensure it remains relevant.
Some Common Mistakes When Creating RACI Charts
Some organizations use RACI and fail to be effective because of poor implementation. Here are a few tips to avoid the common mistakes committed while creating them.
- Understanding the clear definition of terms in RACI is essential. Misinterpretations can ruin the entire project.
- There is a significant misconception of the terms – Inform and Consult. Informed is a one-way communication, whereas consulting is a two-way communication. There should be a clear classification of the actions that you consult and things you need to inform.
- Don’t miss out on any relevant stakeholders. It’s important to ensure that all relevant stakeholders are consulted and included in the RACI chart creation process.
- The roles and responsibilities described should be clear, specific, and easy to understand.
- Irregular reviewing and updating of the RACI chart is a common mistake. The chart should be reviewed and modified regularly to make sure it remains relevant and effective.
- The chart should consider cross-functional dependencies and the role of each team or department in the larger picture.
- The RACI chart should be flexible enough to allow for changes as the project evolves.
RACI Chart Templates Providers
You don’t have to create a RACI chart from scratch all by yourself. Instead, you can adapt the different templates available online for free. Here are our top favorites for you.
Joni Hoadley RACI chart template for Google Sheets that shared on medium. This RACI chart is a basic one compared to the other two templates mentioned in the article later. If you want to customize a template and add major sections to it, this worksheet is a perfect chart for you to begin with.
KPIs You Can Track Using the Template
- Status of each task
- Details about the task performers
- Deliverable insights
Smartsheet provides a downloadable free RACI chart template named Simple RACI matrix template, leaving you with a ready-to-use excel sheet.
In addition to the role and task details, with this template, you can track the work progress and categorize the tasks based on their urgency.
KPIs You Can Track Using the Template
- Project activity
- Priority and Status
- Roles of team members or stakeholders
You can use this RACI chart template by Spreadsheet within the webpage, yet it leaves you with varied options to play around with.
This RACI chart lets you go into the details and offers different filtering options. You can view the charts by refining the information you don’t need at the moment by leveraging their filter option. Moreover, you can view the task in different formats – status and owner views are available.
KPIs You Can Track Using the Template
- Status of each task
- Owner and their roles – Project leadership/Project team/External resources
The RACI chart can be a handy project management tool that can help you track the work progress and know the roles and responsibilities of each team member within minutes, even if you’re managing a big team.
Additionally, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Instead, you can download the ready-to-use templates and start using the RACI charts immediately.