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What is a RACI matrix?

CIO | Jul 25, 2019

A RACI matrix is a simple, effective way to define and document project roles and responsibilities. Using one will significantly improve your changes of project success.

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A RACI matrix is a simple, effective way to define and document project roles and responsibilities. Using one will significantly improve your changes of project success.
The acronym RACI stands for the four roles that stakeholders might play in any project.
The people who do the work are responsible. This includes anyone who must complete a task or make a decision. Several people can be jointly Responsible.
The person who must sign off or approve when the task, objective or decision is complete is accountable. Only one person can be accountable, which means that the buck stops there.
Anyone who needs to give input before the work can be done and signed off on is consulted. These are active participants who are in the loop.
Anyone who needs updates on progress or decisions is informed. These are people who don't need to be formally consulted, nor do they contribute directly to the task or decision.
To create a RACI matrix, you first identify all the tasks involved in delivering the project and list them on the left-hand side of the chart in the order they need to be completed.
Next, identify all the project stakeholders and list them along the top of the chart
Then fill in the cells of the model, identifying who is responsible, accountable, consulted and informed.
The final step in creating your RACI matrix is to share it with your stakeholders, resolve any conflicts or ambiguities, and get agreement.
For each stakeholder, ask these three questions:
Does one stakeholder have too much of the project assigned to them?
Does the stakeholder need to be involved in so many of the activities? Can Responsible be changed to Consulted, or Consulted changed to Informed?
Does each stakeholder totally agree with the role that they are specified to play? When such agreement is achieved, that should be included in the project's charter and documentation.
For each task, look for these 7 red flags:
At least one person needs to be doing the work in each step.
Having too many people doing the work for each step can slow progress.
There must be one person accountable for every step of the project. The buck stops with this person
Having multiple people accountable for a step invites slow and contentious decision-making.
Look carefully. Do all the stakeholders involved in each step really need to be involved? Are there justifiable benefits for involving them?
Too many Cs really slows down the project. Do all the stakeholders need to be routinely Consulted, or can they be kept Informed?
Determining whether all stakeholders are included can be challenging because it is an error of omission. This is often best addressed by a steering committee or management team.
Taking the time to do this analysis delivers the real benefit of the RACI model. It will expose problems with the structure of the project management process – before they derail your project.
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