What Is a RACI Chart and How Is It Used?

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What Is Chart and How Is It Used?

The RACI chart is known as a responsibility chart. Its role in project management is crucial. It is a visual tool that enables project managers to identify key areas, crucial activities, and decision points where areas of uncertainty may exist. Through the effort of project teams, conflicts of interests and differences can be discussed and resolved.

RACI charts offer a degree of control to project management members by systematically identifying activities that must be accomplished and decisions that must be made. The chart clarifies responsibilities of everyone on the team in relation to the identified activities. It basically tells you who is responsible for what it provides a method and chain of command for the team.

What RACI Stands For

R – Responsible

This denotes the person who is responsible for the activity or decision. If a crucial activity is neglected, then this is the person to look for. This is the individual who completes the task – not necessarily the person who makes the decision for a task to be completed. Responsibility can be delegated to more than one person – there can be more than one “R” person. The degree of responsibility is assigned by the person who is accountable for the decision or activity.

A – Accountable

This denotes the person who is accountable for the decision. They are the ones with the responsibility and power of green lighting a decision or stopping in its tracks. The veto power is given to this person. For each function, only one “A” person can be assigned.

C – Consulted

Before a decision being made, this person must be consulted. No decision can be made without this person’s input. Two-way communication is established with people who are assigned the “C” role.

I – Informed

Once an activity or decision has been made, this person must be made aware of it. This helps to keep people on the same page and to minimize misunderstandings and misconceptions. One way communication is established with people who are assigned the “I” role.

 The Purpose of the RACI Chart

Just like any other project management document, the primary purpose of the RACI chart is to keep everybody on the same page people. To keep the cogs of a project moving, everyone involved in the project must have a clear understanding of who is responsible for what. A chain of command must be established for when issues arise. It is a communication tool so that the organization knows who is responsible for making a decision, how the decision was made, and how the decision was implemented.

The Objectives and Benefits

The RACI chart identifies the roles and responsibilities of decision-makers in a project. Not only does it clarify individual roles and responsibilities, but it also clarifies departmental roles and responsibilities. Its utilization discourages misunderstandings. Fewer misunderstandings cultivate and encourage a culture of teamwork. As a whole, the organization runs more efficiently simply because the RACI chart can eliminate duplicate efforts.

Without an RACI chart, it can be confusing as to who is supposed to be informed and who is supposed to be consulted before a decision is made.

When accountability is defined, productivity within the entire organization increases. Specifications are identified and clarified which eliminates the scrap work and duplicate work. RACI charts eliminate redundancies and overlap which has the result of increasing organizational, departmental and individual capacity. When accountability is placed where it belongs, unnecessary layers are removed within the organizational structure because the structure is streamlined. When the completed RACI chart is communicated throughout the organization, employees feel that they are better trained and empowered because everybody knows their individual role and function. Planning processes become more efficient when there is more participation by the team members as a result of building a network of communication interfaces.

The Issues That RACI Charts Solve

Issue: Roles and Responsibilities

Opportunity: RACI charts help to better understand and clarify communications.

Issue: Accountability

Opportunity: RACI charts help to clarify accountability.

Issue: Responsibilities

Opportunity: RACI charts help to identify authority.

Issue: Job Responsibility

Opportunity: RACI charts help to empower employees with the authority to carry out decisions.

 Issue: Role of Middle Management

Opportunity: RACI charts help middle-management to bring the organization up to speed with organizational structure.

Issue: Decision Approval

Opportunity: RACI charts to reduce uncertainty and the risk of miscommunications when multiple people are reported to.

RACI Chart Creation Guidelines

The matrix of an RACI chart comprises of a grid. Along the left side, you will find a listing of decisions or activities. Along the top, you’ll find a listing of the roles and responsibilities. It is read left to right. Every decision or activity is defined with one of the four letters found in RACI.

There can only be one accountability “A” for each business process.

Place accountability “A” and responsibility “R” at the level closest to action or knowledge.

The number of informs “Iand consultants “C” must be minimized.

Authority must accompany accountability.

Every role and responsibility must be documented and communicated.

The completion of an RACI chart eliminates “checkers checking checkers” by establishing a chain of command. By identifying the responsibility of processes, teamwork and employee empowerment are both encouraged. Furthermore, 100 percent accuracy is not required simply because you’ll now know who is responsible for various business tasks.

Creating a RACI with your RACI Chart Tool

Now we can get to the meat of the task at hand using a RACI chart Creator. Responsibility charting is a six step process.

The Six Step Process to Becoming a RACI Creator

The concept must be introduced to members of upper management informing them of the importance, purpose and requirements of the process.

Lists of key business decisions, activities and business processes are gathered, developed and analyzed before they are collated and merged into one master document.

Workshops and meetings are scheduled and conducted so that everyone can agree on function descriptions and definitions. These meetings also have the purpose of assigning the codes that identify and describe the level of participation each role will have in relation to each function. The output of these meetings are collated and merged into one master document – the RACI chart.

Once the RACI chart is completed and official, copies are produced and distributed to all participants and interfacing organizations.

New role definitions are communicated and reinforced through meetings with all departments and individuals involved.

To ensure that the newly defined relationships are being adhered to and to encourage all participants to participate in their role, follow-up consultations are scheduled and conducted.

Guidelines for the Activity or Decisions List

There are four primary guidelines that members of management can you use when creating the lists of business decisions, activities and business processes.

Each activity must be specific. Generic activities such as “attend meetings” must be avoided.

Every activity should begin with a measurable action verb. Examples include:

  • Evaluate
  • Operate
  • Approve
  • Publish
  • Schedule
  • Monitor
  • Conduct
  • Report
  • Write
  • Prepare
  • Develop
  • Review
  • Record
  • Update
  • Inspect
  • Authorize
  • Determine
  • Collect
  • Train
  • Decide

Add a phrase to the end of the action verb to indicate the desired goal or outcome.

Examples:

“Monitor phone service handling of customer requests to identify training needs.”

“Analyze data to locate the source of delay.”

Each activity or business decision must be brief and apply to a job description or role – not a specific person.

Analyzing Your RACI Chart

In order to understand what is a RACI chart, you have to analyse it. Take a close look at the placement of the letters in the grid. Vertically, make sure each role or responsibility matches the job function correctly. If not, re-delegate the roles and responsibilities of each business activity or function.

An excellent function for the RACI chart is to make sure that responsibilities are delegated evenly so that everyone pulls their own weight. Visually speaking, one look at the chart can tell you how many business functions or decisions fall on each role or responsibility. This provides the opportunity to fix any lopsided business functions.

When you analyze the chart horizontally, you can visually see if you are wasting precious resources on unnecessary business functions and decisions. This gives you the opportunity to create a higher level of efficiency within your business by those processes that are unnecessary. Furthermore, this chart will tell you which processes need to be eliminated or cut.

Every necessary process must be assigned someone who is accountable for it and someone who is responsible for it. Not every decision will need someone who is a consultant or someone who needs to be informed. Play around with various possibilities until everyone on the management team is satisfied.

By delegating responsibilities, not only does it create a chain of command with each business process, but everyone feels that each member of each team has the responsibility of pulling their own weight. When implemented correctly, employees can feel empowered because they have the right and responsibility to take the initiative. This can lead to a higher level of employee morale.

Start Using the RACI Chart in Your Organization

So what is a RACI chart in a nutshell? The RACI chart is an excellent communication tool to be using your organization. The risks of not using this tool are simply too high in terms of inefficiency, redundant activities, and wasted money and resources. Take what you’ve learned and start using the RACI chart tool in your organization.