How to Make A RACI Chart for A Project [Free Template]

Everything you need to know about the RACI chart, complete with best practices, and a free, ready-to-use template
May 19, 2021
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Krishna Kumar

When multiple people come together for a project, they often have varying opinions about their roles and responsibilities.

If the role is not clear to them or the requirements and expectations are constantly changing, team members are at a higher risk of productivity loss and dissatisfaction. This can, in turn, lead to confusion and uncertainty. Therefore, as a manager, you must establish clarity on each team member’s roles and responsibilities. And that’s where a RACI chart can come in handy.

What is a RACI chart?

A RACI chart or matrix is a responsibility assignment chart that chalks out all the key roles and responsibilities of the team for major tasks. It is a simple and effective way to document the responsibilities and levels of involvement of various stakeholders in the project. Using one can significantly improve your project’s success.

What does RACI stand for?

RACI is an acronym that stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed. Each of these letters represents a level of responsibility for a given task.

  1. Responsible: The people who do the necessary work to complete the task are ‘responsible’. They could be responsible for completing a task or making a decision. Hence, you must have at least one responsible individual per task and include more if required.
  2. Accountable: The team member who delegates the work and has to sign off or approve the completed task finally is ‘accountable’. This person must review the task and make sure that it is completed as required. It is essential to ensure that this role is assigned to only one person to avoid any confusion. In some cases, the person designated as ‘responsible’ may have to play this role.
  3. Consulted: Those who have to share valuable inputs before work starts on the project are ‘consulted’. These individuals are usually subject matter experts who strengthen the deliverable by reviewing it and providing their inputs based on their expertise. They can also answer questions that clarify requirements. This role can be assigned to more than one person, and they will help the responsible party with valuable information until the completion of each task.  
  4. Informed: Anyone who needs regular updates on the project is ‘informed’. These team members are the ones who just need to be kept informed about the progress of the project and don’t have to be involved in the details of every task or deliverable.

Benefits of using a RACI chart

The RACI Chart is often an underrated project document and offers a slew of benefits:

Sets expectations: The RACI chart can help set clear expectations regarding the team’s roles and responsibilities. This eliminates confusion and misunderstanding that arise from multiple people working against one another on the same task due to poorly defined tasks and responsibilities.

Encourages responsibility among team members: The RACI chart holds the team accountable and encourages them to take ownership of their respective roles and responsibilities. Additionally, it allows them to defer their work to someone else whenever required. This way, you can avoid any judgment and politics while encouraging your team to act responsibly without micromanagement.

Allows for even distribution of work: One look at the RACI chart will show you how work is being distributed within the team. If you see that a few members are taking on too much and their work can be shared, you can redistribute it to other members.

Ensures that no position or task is omitted: If you find that any position or task is missing or overlooked, adding them in the RACI chart will ensure that nothing is omitted later. 

When to use a RACI chart

A RACI chart works well for pretty much every project out there. However, it would be especially beneficial for large, complex projects with several interdependent tasks.

Here are a few ways in which you can use a RACI chart:

  1. As a planning tool at the beginning of the project
  2. As a point of reference throughout the project 
  3. To clearly define decision-making and approval processes that are critical for the project’s progress 
  4. To evenly distribute the project workload 
  5. To onboard new team members efficiently and get them up to speed quickly
  6. To eliminate any task ownership or decision-making conflicts 
Free Download: RACI Chart Template

How to create a RACI matrix-example and template

A RACI matrix is essentially a table that chalks out and records the roles and responsibilities of various team members to specific tasks and milestones. It is a simple visual tool that can be made using any application. However, the easiest way to make it is on Microsoft Excel.

You can create a comprehensive RACI matrix using five simple steps and the example chart given below. 

Step 1: Identify the key team members involved in the project

This includes team members such as the project manager, sponsor, developers, business analysts, designers, etc. It is always a good idea to have the team members’ names instead of the title or designation as it provides a sense of ownership and commitment to the task. 

Step 2: Identify the major tasks, milestones, and project activities

Depending on the type of project, milestones could include creating wireframes, testing, and designing for a website development project. 

Step 3: Draw the matrix 

Create the RACI Matrix on Microsoft Excel or another software. Mention team member names horizontally and milestones vertically. One row must be dedicated to each milestone, while a column must be dedicated to each team member. 

Step 4: Fill up the matrix and assign value responsibilities

Once the matrix is created, fill up the boxes with corresponding responsibility values- R, A, C, or I to each team member against the given milestones. 

Example RACI chart 

Here is an example of a RACI chart that you can use. Alternatively, you could also check out our free template that works well for any project.

A typical RACI Matrix

RACI matrix rules for reviewing

When you finish making your RACI Chart, make sure to review it based on the following rules:

  1. Only one accountable party is assigned to each task. This will allow for an easy and seamless decision-making process.
  2. At least one responsible party must be assigned to each task.
  3. The matrix cells do not always have to be filled. People have varying opinions about this particular rule. However, it is unnecessary to keep everyone in the project informed as it can lead to unnecessary confusion. Only the core members who are impacted by the project need to be kept in the loop.
  4. Ensure that no team member is burdened with too many responsibilities. If they are, ensure that responsibilities are redistributed evenly among all team members. 
  5. Ensure that there aren’t too many consulted parties in your matrix. If you notice too many of them, ask yourself if the task is clearly defined. Additionally, think about whether all the consultations are necessary. Finally, if you need to keep multiple people informed, including external parties, share your matrix in a view-only format. 

Common mistakes to avoid 

While a RACI chart can be a great tool to simplify your project and its planning process, it can come with its share of challenges if not created correctly. Here are a few common mistakes you need to avoid. 

1. Being too detailed and specific

The RACI chart is not the project plan. So don’t get into too many details about the tasks and milestones. Additionally, ensure that you don’t have daily or weekly tasks listed in your RACI chart. Instead, just include major milestones or activities that require a potential decision to be made. If additional details are required, share the project plan where required. 

2. Confusing accountability and responsibility

Ensure that you keep the ‘accountable’ party and the ‘responsible’ party of your project separate. They serve two different purposes. Although there are rare circumstances where both are the same person, it is best to keep them separate. 

3. Inconsistency 

The RACI chart allows team members to defer tasks to other team members when required. However, it is essential to ensure that this does not happen frequently. Constant deviation from the assigned roles can lead to confusion and lack of credibility of the RACI matrix. 

4. Not editing existing templates before use

While the structure of a RACI chart remains the same across the board, its contents and essence can vary depending on the project. Therefore, even if you are using an existing, convenient-to-use template, make sure you edit it to accommodate your project’s requirements. 

5. Creating the RACI matrix on your own

Ensure that you create your RACI chart after consulting your team and stakeholders to understand what everyone is working on; consider any special requirements for the project. For instance, the project sponsor may want to be the one who approaches the customer for approvals, making them responsible for the task. Hence, consulting with your team and stakeholders while creating your RACI chart can help get their approval. Don’t forget to send everyone a copy. 

How to analyze a RACI chart 

After the RACI chart is completed, it is now time to review and analyze what the chart conveys. To do so, we must proceed with the vertical and horizontal analysis. 

Vertical analysis

Here are some of the questions to ask while conducting the vertical analysis: 

  1. Too Many R’s: Is this individual taking on too much work? Can another team member take on the responsibility? Or can the task be broken down into smaller, more manageable tasks? 
  2. Too Many A’s: Should more people be made accountable for some activities to ensure balance? Should the duties be segregated more efficiently, or are there any bottlenecks in the process? 
  3. No Empty Spaces: Is this individual involved in too many tasks? Can certain consulted tasks be reduced to 'informed', or can they be left blank? 
  4. No R’s or A’s: Is this role necessary? Should it be eliminated or reassigned? 
  5. Fitment and Qualification: does this individual qualify for this role? Are they a good fit to perform the functions of the role? For example, are there too many senior officials involved in the decision-making process, and can it be moved downwards? 

Horizontal analysis 

Here are some of the questions to ask while conducting the vertical analysis. 

  1. Too many R’s: Are too many people involved in getting this job done? 
  2. Too Many A’s: Each task must have only one accountable party. If more than one accountable party is assigned, it can create confusion regarding decision making and who has the final say. 
  3. No Empty spaces: Do all the team members have to be involved in the given task? Are there actual benefits to involving all of them? 
  4. No R’s: Each task must have at least one responsible party. If not, who is getting the work done? 
  5. No A’s: One person must be accountable for each task.
  6. Too Many C’s: Too many people being consulted for a task can slow down the process. Is it necessary to consult so many people for a particular task? 
  7. Too Many I’s: If too many people need to be informed about a particular task, it can slow down the process. Analyze if so many people need to be kept in the loop. 

These tips and tricks can help you create an effective RACI matrix that can add significant value to your project and increase its chances of success. 

RACI chart/RACI matrix template

Here is a free RACI chart template that you can use effectively for any project. You can add more information to the template depending on what is crucial to your specific project and business. 

Good luck!

More resources

  1. Project Management Basics: Risk Management
  2. Project Management Basics: Innovation Management
  3. Getting to the root cause of problems in project management
  4. 10 Project Management Tools You Can Use for Customer Onboarding
  5. Customer onboarding templates for every stage of your onboarding journey

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Lakshmi Venugopal
Content Marketer @ Rocketlane

Loves simplifying and breaking things down through the art of writing.

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