Responsibility Charting with a RACI Chart Template

Posted by in RACI Chart Creator, RACI Chart Tool, raci software, RACI tool

In organizations where a lot is going on, responsibility charting is a way to target ambiguities. It can be achieved by using a RACI chart template. It brings information out in the open that people merely otherwise assume. These assumptions can often lead to misunderstandings, lost time and lost productivity.

raci chart template

It’s a technique to help everybody communicate better by taking responsibility from the management and placing it on the party who is ultimately responsible for it. It’s an excellent delegation tool that gets everybody talking on the same page with everybody knowing who is responsible for any given task.

The Theory Behind Responsibility Charting

Some people might assume that managers and supervisors are accountable for everything that goes on within an organization. To a certain degree that might be true. However, everyone has a role to play and it’s everyone’s job to make sure that the each pull their own weight.
Responsibility charting places the accountability for a task upon either a person or a role (the person in that role). Responsibility charting is a way to ensure that everybody knows what the role is that they play in the organization without anybody assuming that any given task is one person’s job or another.
In any given role or job position, three fundamental assumptions are made by people. They are as follows.

Role Conception

Role conception is what someone thinks his or her job is. Role conception is heavily influenced by how they were trained, influenced, and may carry false assumptions due to misleading titles, being poorly trained and more.

Role Expectation

The role expectation is what other people in your organization think a person is responsible for. Furthermore, the role expectation is how other people think that this person should carry out their responsibilities. Many employees have said, “That’s not my job. That’s their job.” That’s a prime example of a role expectation. They expect that a certain task falls within the job description of someone else.

Role Behavior

Lastly, we come to role behavior. This one is cut and dry as this is what the person actually does when they carry out the job. This is the behavior of the individual who carries the job title.
The theory behind role and responsibility charting is that the differences between the role conception and the role expectation often lead to unproductive role behavior. When everyone in the organization has a good understanding of what a role is, they have a better expectation of what the role should be. When everyone is on the same page, people become more predictable and productive in their role behavior.
It ensures that no one is assuming one thing and actually doing something else. In an ideal situation, what a person thinks the job is should be the same as what others expect out of a job because that will directly affect how the job is actually performed.
When you have an RACI chart, when something is misunderstood, it can usually be traced back to the chart. Continually updating the chart by using a RACI chart template, ensures that fewer misunderstandings actually happen. Common faults in the RACI chart may include actions that are not included on the chart that should be, a position failing to perform any specific task as assigned or if a role is the missing or has an incorrectly applied a responsibility code. As it is a chart, it is a visual document that carries with it all the benefits of being highly visible and collaborative, permitting everyone in the organization to understand what is required, and who is it is required of.

Identifying the Need for Responsibility Charting using a RACI Chart Template

Just because an organization has RACI chart template does not mean that the charting process is complete. In fact, it never really ends. It is an ongoing activity that needs to be continually updated. Supervisors need to learn how to recognize the symptoms of confusion and identify when a process might need to be repeated.

Do you recognize any of these symptoms in your organization?

Certain behaviors are often observed when an organization is confused over who does what. The symptoms may include:

  • concern about who makes the decisions
  • blaming others when a task is incomplete
  • imbalanced workloads – some people are doing more work than others
  • ineffective productivity because of ineffective communication
  • people continually questioning job roles or who does what
  • a separatist attitude such as “we-they”
  • an ignorant attitude that leads to inefficient productivity – “not sure, so take no action”
  • idle or downtime
  • employees creating busy work to pass the time
  • a work environment that is reactive rather than proactive
  • poor employee morale
  • when there’s a question, the employees have to talk to several people to find an answer

Role Definitions

In an RACI chart, everybody has a role somewhere in the decision-making process. As you make the chart by using your Raci chart template, everyone is going to be assigned a letter. Here’s what they mean.

Responsible: “R”

R is for the doer. This is the individual who carries out the task itself. This person is the one responsible for implementation of the task. When you make the chart, more than one person can be delegated as responsible, as responsibility can be shared. For any given task, the person who is accountable (holds the letter A) determines the degree of responsibility for the task.

Accountable: “A”

The person accountable for a task is a person who is ultimately answerable for the task. This includes veto power, or the authority to say yes or no for any task. Only one person can be assigned the letter A.

Consult: “C”

Before any decision is made, certain people may need to be in on the decision. For anyone who plays this role, the letter C is assigned to them. The consult position is critical for cultivating two-way communication before a decision is made. The difference between C and I is that the person you designate as a Consult must weigh in on the decision.

Inform: “I.”

The role or roles of people who have the letter I assigned to them denotes the people who must be informed of a decision after it is made or after the action is already taken. It is a one-way communication as this is usually required for the person to take action as a result of the outcome of the decision. This is simply informing the person of the decision as this person does not have a say in the decision-making process itself.

Responsibility Charting 5-Step Process

Identify the Work Processes

When you go about identifying the work processes, always start with high impact areas first. Don’t include processes that will soon change or those that change frequently. The entire work process must be defined in detail. Make sure that you have between 10 and 25 activities listed to make the chart. If you have fewer than 10, then the definition of the work process is too narrow. If you have more than 25 activities, it implies that the definition is too broad.
Each of these activities will go on the left-hand side of the chart.

Determine Which Activities and Decisions to Chart

As you determine activities, make them specific. Avoid obvious, ambiguous or generic tasks such as “attend a meeting” or “prepare a report.” Ensure that each of the activities starts with a proactive action verb. Examples may include:

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

Prepare a List of People or Roles Involved in Your Identified Tasks

As you prepare a list of people who will be responsible for the tasks, keep in mind that they don’t have to be individual people. They can be groups, departments, or even be tied to a particular job role, such as a regional manager or something like that.
This list of people can include people outside your own department, or even outside your organization, such as customer or vendor.
To reduce ambiguity, it is always better to assign a role or a job title rather than an individual name. That way, anyone who assumes that job title is aware of the responsibilities that go along with it. Also, by assigning job roles instead of names, in theory, you could still have a valid chart if everybody who fills the roles were brand-new and were switched around.

Develop Your Chart

An RACI chart gets its name from the order that you complete the charting. Begin by assigning all of the R’s for each task to a given job title or role. Afterward, make sure each job task has only one role assigned A. In other words, each task can only have one letter A assigned to it, but must have at least one. You cannot have a task that does not have someone accountable for the work. Continue by assigning C’s, followed by I’s.

Obtain Feedback and Buy-In

Once you’ve completed your chart, distribute it. Everyone who is represented in the chart must obtain a copy, even if they weren’t present in the development of the chart. In order for the chart to work, everybody has to have the chance to have their input heard. That puts everybody on the same page with the same understanding of who does what and who is responsible for any given task. This also gives people the chance to dispute the chart so that they know who is responsible for what. If chart revisions are necessary, make sure you revise the chart and redistribute it with all the changes. Always update your chart as required on an ongoing basis.


The easiest way to obtain feedback and your organization on track with an RACI chart template is to have everybody develop it at the same time. This is only possible with software that gives everybody the ability to collaborate on the chart at the same time, in real time. With PlanHammer, everybody can look at the chart whenever they need to. Furthermore, anyone can log in at any given time and see the chart to gain a better understanding of who is responsible for what. This is particularly useful if there are any misunderstandings.
No more wasted paper with printed charts. No more wasted time trying to get the printed chart out to people. Changes to the chart made in real time as the chart is kept online. This is one more way you can get more done with a higher degree of accuracy they can using any other method, so when you’re ready to get started head over here to check out our RACI Software.