RACI charts, also called radar charts, are an effective method of displaying multivariate data in a two-dimensional chart with a radial axis. They are a fantastic tool to communicate processes, structures, flows, networks, and much more.
They are a great way to visualize information and ideas quickly. This article breaks down everything you need to know about RACI charts, the process of creating them, and some valuable tips & tricks that will help you with the design and the use of RACI charts in your visualizations.
What is a RACI Chart
RACI chart refers to an easy and straightforward matrix for assigning roles and responsibilities for every task, decision, and milestone on a particular project. A clear map of the functions and duties eliminates confusion in an organization and answers who is doing what.
RACI charts are a great way to communicate complex data. They break down information into bite-size chunks, allowing the viewer to understand it easily. They are perfect for metrics or data to convey incremental progress or a pattern, like a goal with ten steps. RACI is an abbreviation for responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed.
Every team member has to have one task to handle, and they should perform their tasks effectively to ensure completion of the project.
Refers to the individual who issues out the tasks to each member and has the final view on the tasks the members partake. in some scenario, every responsible individual is also accountable for their work.
For a project’s success, the team members must consult the manager who has expertise in the project. The people consulted give inputs depending on how it will affect later projects and work on the project’s domain.
The project manager informs the team members how the project is progressing and not roped into every deliverable’s details.
RACI charts are a great way of representing complex data through a simple, visual chart. It is possible to represent hierarchical relationships and set operations between two categorical variables using node-like diagrams. These can be easily represented in a RACI chart as there are no restrictions on what can be displayed.
Step by Step to Create a RACI Chart
1. Identify the project roles
The project manager needs to meet all the stakeholders and discuss the project’s critical tasks, milestones, and decisions. In creating a RACI, a project manager can list the roles or specific people depending on the organization.
An organization can specify by a role if:
- One person is handling multiple tasks
- It eliminates the need to update with a change in the personnel
- It doesn’t have a mix of broader groups and names
The organization can also specify the name of the member if:
- It’s easier to identify the person involved in the project
- Multiple people are doing the same task
2. Identify project deliverables and task
The project manager checks the project and breaks it into smaller deliverable tasks. These are displayed on the left-hand side of the first column. Ensure the table isn’t granular since this may make the project more complex.
3. Assign RACI to every task and role
In assigning the role, ensure only one person is accountable. Before giving these roles, the project manager should evaluate all the parts and set individuals according to their expertise to ensure success. He should keenly think before assigning a member the task to be consulted.
4. Agree with team members
After creating a RACI, the project manager should inform the team members of the decision and ensure everyone is happy and comfortable with their role.
You don’t want a scenario where a member isn’t satisfied with their position and ends up performing it poorly. That’s why the project manager should ascertain the willingness of the members to take up their roles.
5. Agree with the stakeholders
Summon all the stakeholders of the project to discuss the RACI. Ensure the discussions are lean and try to get rid of unwieldy feedback, confusing and wasting time.
Making RACI Useful Throughout the Lifecycle of the Project.
A project manager can make RACI useful by:
- Referring back to RACI whenever they are activating a deliverable and highlight the person responsible according to RACI
- Ensuring all the decision and roles set at the start of the project are still applicable
- Hosting the version of the RACI online using either confluence or google docs
- Evaluating the RACI at the end of the project to see if it worked and if members accomplished all the projects
Examples/Application of RACI Charts
For a RACI chart to be effective, an organization has to consider the following:
- Ensure every task has both a responsible and accountable member allocated. Only allocate the correct number of people and avoid many people in the scheme. Assigning the tasks prevents confusion and inefficiencies, which result from overcrowding.
- For larger projects where many processes are going on, it’s necessary to reduce a lot of consultations that may slow the project. For this case, an organization can incorporate RACIO, O stands for out of the loop. RACIO is a designation for those processes which don’t fit correctly in the RACI model.
A fashion brand company created a RACI for the role each member is supposed to accomplish, as shown below:
|Project task||Business owner||Financial lead||Business analyst||Design lead||Design director||Head of CRM|
For this fashion brand company, there are several fair deliverables and tasks. The company had numerous stakeholders both at the agency and internally in the company. To avoid creating a large RACI, the company mainly involved stakeholders from the client’s side. The project manager analyzed the RACI at the beginning of the project and concluded that it is vital for managing external stakeholders.
The client-side had a decisive say in the project, and it could be easy for the project manager to declare them accountable for the project. However, the manager didn’t do so to avoid failure in the project. He assessed all the stakeholders based on their expertise and distributed the roles effectively to avoid conflict and ensure success of the project.
RACI is commonly applicable when:
- There are disagreements on the decision-making process and the distribution of tasks
- Members feel that the functions are not evenly distributed
- New members join the team and need to add more members to the RACI
- The approval process can hold up the project
Pros of RACI Charts
- Streamlines communication
RACI involves few members who take up their respective roles to complete a project. It helps streamline communication since only the right people are involved and at the right time. It is also helpful for reference as the project continues.
- Avoid people overload
A project in which every member takes part in decision-making can be hectic since everyone would want their views to be heard and used in the project. However, RACI differentiates the person who is consulted from the person informed on the project progress.
- Sets clear expectations
RACI is beneficial, especially at the start of a project. It helps manage the project as it identifies the role of each individual as the project progress. The involved parties should know what they are expected to do
- Eliminates confusion
An organization where the roles aren’t distributed, and every member decides on what task they want to do, can have a lot of confusion. RACI eliminates the disorder. It clearly shows the role of every individual in the project.
- Avoid work overload
In most projects, project managers are usually overloaded with tasks and can wear them out when the project is done. RACI, however, allows them to distribute this role to their team members, making it easy to handle the project, and no one is overburdened with a task.
- Makes delegation easier
An organization that creates a RACI chart at the beginning of a project ensures every member knows their roles. RACI clearly defines the roles and informs members on who to consult while working on their tasks.
- Streamlines stakeholder’s inputs
RACI enables a project manager to differentiate between critical stakeholders that provide input to the project and the only informed ones. Hence, delays may occur when key roles aren’t defined, and a project manager doesn’t know the stakeholders to consult.
Cons of RACI Charts
RACI matrix has a few disadvantages, which include:
- It doesn’t state clearly the initiative the members need to take
- May increase complexity of some projects
- Not appropriate for all kinds of projects
Best practices on how to use RACI charts
There may be some pitfalls while using RACI, and therefore a project manager needs to be careful to avoid all these. Here are a few things to consider to ensure the success of RACI.
- Project manager as Everything in the project
The assumption in most organizations is that the project manager is responsible for everything the project requires. It mainly fails a task, hence it is crucial to use RACI to distribute some of the roles to developers, heads of departments, designers, etc.
- Confusing accountable and responsible
Accountable and responsible are very close and can result in confusion. Accountable refers to the person responsible for the deliverable while responsible is performing the task. The project manager should clearly distinguish the two for the members to understand them and avoid confusion.
- The tension between informed and consulted
Consulted people may think that they are exceptional, and their feedback is very vital for a project. On the other side, the informed may feel left out and that their feedback isn’t significant in the project. Therefore, the project manager should communicate this role upfront to ensure every member is comfortable with their positions to avoid future disagreements.
For RACI to be effective and give positive feedback in a project, the members, together with the stakeholders, should:
- Keenly think on how to use the RACI and ensure it is going to be impactful to the project
- Select a model they clearly understand its terms and have a clear definition of these terms as they work on the project
- Ensure only one person has the accountable role and not all the members, which can result in confusion
- Ensure every member is informed on their role and the decisions made towards the project
- Involve the stakeholders and team members in yielding the input
Some other types of RACI charts can also be used to ensure the success of a project:
- RASCI – Responsible, accountable, supportive, consulted, and informed. The RACI incorporates supportive in its definition, which means there will be a supportive individual who supports the members responsible for completing a task. Supportive differs from consulted because the supportive will actively participate in the job while consulted will only offer information.
- CARS – Communicate, approve, responsible, support. Communicate covers both informing and consulting. CARS are more significant than RACI because it is more specific to details and incorporates the support role when a person doesn’t accomplish their task.
- RAS – It’s a simple version of the terms Responsible, Approve and Support. The disadvantage is that it doesn’t account for the owner of a particular task, which may confuse the members.
- DACI – It’s relatively the same as RACI, only that Responsible is substituted with drivers and Accountable with Approvers, thus, it’s more of action in regards to the terms. DACI eliminates confusion as it clarifies the roles of each member.
Delegation is a crucial section of a project manager’s responsibility. It is vital to identify and allocate the roles and duties at the beginning of a project, and RACI is the tool each project manager needs to have. RACI is a straightforward tool that identifies the roles and responsibilities of respective members and avoids the confusion that may arise over the member’s roles and responsibilities. Incorporate RACI charts in your organization to save you the struggle and inefficiencies caused when people don’t know their roles in an organization.
Click here to download RACI chart Template.