RACI matrices illustrate the functional role that each person plays on a project team. In creating these matrices, businesses can effectively balance project workloads and identify a clear project manager. A RACI matrix is a simple and effective means of documenting project roles and responsibilities.
Understanding a RACI matrix
Indeed, a RACI matrix seeks to avoid the inefficiencies that result when a decision-maker is not agreed upon before project commencement.
With roles and responsibilities identified, those involved in the project understand what is expected of them.
To create a RACI matrix, spreadsheets are typically used. Here, project requirements such as risk management and budget approval are listed in a column on the left-hand side.
Project team members are then listed along the top in each column.
Team members are then matched with project requirements according to four criteria: responsible, accountable, consulted and informed. In the next section, we will address these criteria in more detail.
The four task levels of the RACI matrix
Responsible (Doing The Task)
The person responsible for doing the work to achieve a task.
The responsible person should be a single individual who has the power to make decisions.
Sometimes this individual will need support from others or may choose to delegate aspects of the task.
Accountable (Owning The Task)
Who is responsible for finalizing the satisfactory completion of a task?
This individual is often the project manager or the sponsor who is commissioning the project.
Encompassing advisors who have expertise in certain subject matter. Assisting personnel should be kept to a minimum for each project task.
Too many advisors can lead to unnecessary deliberation and process inefficiency.
Informed (Keeping Aware)
Individuals or groups who are kept informed of task progression.
Informed personnel will not be asked to give task feedback, but they can be affected by the outcome of the task.
Determining the information for a RACI matrix
Before assigning information to a spreadsheet, the team must first identify the specific project work process. Generally, each process should consist of 10 to 25 tasks with high-priority tasks tackled first.
Then, it is a matter of following these steps:
Identify the tasks
Be specific as possible by avoiding generically worded or meaningless tasks such as “attend meetings” or “compile reports“.
Consulting with senior project members with relevant knowledge is a good way to ensure no detail is missed.
Assign task responsibility
Who are the people that will be assigned to each task?
At this point, it’s better to assign tasks based on the four criteria listed above and not to specific individuals.
This ensures that the RACI matrix is more adaptable should a member of the team resign or be added on later.
Fill in the matrix
When working through the list of project requirements, assign a letter to each based on the four criteria.
Cells can be filled by using R for Responsible and A for accountable, and so on.
Once the RACI matrix has been completed and handed out to team members, ask for feedback. Does everyone understand their responsibilities?
Furthermore, does everyone have an appropriate workload? Does every task have someone accountable and responsible?
Revise and refine
The RACI matrix is not a set-and-forget tool. It must be continually refined as project requirements change.
- A RACI matrix illustrates the roles and responsibilities of project team members according to their level of expertise and subsequent involvement in each task.
- A RACI matrix matches project team members to four task levels: responsible, accountable, consulted and informed. The somewhat hierarchical nature of each increases efficiency by ensuring that important decisions are the responsibility of one individual.
- A RACI matrix should be created by identifying 10 to 25 specific project tasks. High priority tasks should be tackled first for maximum impact. Importantly, the RACI Matrix should be refined and re-evaluated as personnel or project requirements change.
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