An introduction to the RACI Matrix

It has been a busy lockdown. We have just finished the delivery of our latest programme and have some spare time. We thought ‘why not use this opportunity to get a new video out?’ As we finished with a module looking at stakeholder engagement, an introduction to the RACI Matrix seemed ideal. You can watch the video here:

Or if you prefer, you can read about it now…

Introducing the RACI Matrix

The more complex a task or project, the more people you are likely to involve. We may have larger delivery teams or need to involve with more project stakeholders. Ensuring that we engage with everyone at the right times can be the difference between failure or success.

For teams to be agile, everyone will need to understand both their role and the roles of others; to make decisions quickly and do what needs to be done efficiently. When this happens, the effectiveness of the organisation is improved.

The RACI Matrix is a simple tool that:

  • Clarifies roles
  • Helps to define team structures
  • Helps to plan effective communication.

It documents and clarifies the role and responsibility that each person has in relation to project activities and decisions.

What does RACI mean?

RACI is an acronym that stands for:

  • Responsible: the person who makes sure that a job is done. There should only be one person responsible for each job. When more than one person is responsible for something… no one is. If it really is a team of people that is responsible for a specific job, then perhaps the team leader should be named in the Matrix.
  • Authority: the person with the “final say” when a decision is needed. It’s their neck on the line. They are ultimately Accountable for a task and provide Approval on whether or not a project can proceed, or a budget be spent. Use whichever term makes most sense for your organisation: Authority, Accountable or Approver.
  • Consulted: these are the people that need to be included when performing the work. They may be required to help the Responsible person to complete their tasks successfully, or they may provide relevant advice, help or opinions as subject matter experts.
  • Informed: these are the people who need to be “kept in the loop”. They may need to know when specific tasks have been completed or be kept updated on progress.

The RASCI alternative

There is an alternative iteration of the Matrix that extends RACI to RASCI. The S stands for:

  • Supportive: those people that provide help or resources and actively working with the Responsible person to complete work.

It can be helpful to include Supportive in your matrix if you wish to specify team members who will complete jobs but are not be held responsible. However, I prefer to keep things simple, including them under Consulted when needed.

The benefits of using a RACI Matrix

By listing all of the key tasks associated with a project, or the steps needed to complete a complex task, and identifying all of the people who will be participating in the project, the RACI Matrix helps us to assign proper roles and responsibilities to everyone involved.

The RACI Matrix

It helps us to:

  • Manage projects or complex tasks efficiently,
  • Remove potential confusion by allocating work clearly
  • Document the distribution of responsibility.

When used correctly, the matrix can help to resolve conflicts within a group, reduce the impact of blame cultures, help smooth project work allocation, and ensure that no single person is overburdened.

In this way, the RACI Matrix helps to create agile organisations that can make decisions quickly and respond with action swiftly.