RACI charts are a widely used project management technique that helps assign individual roles and responsibilities as it pertains to specific tasks. Oftentimes projects are hampered by a misunderstanding of who is doing what, where responsibilities lie, and timeline, and a RACI chart helps to solve for these issues. At it’s most basic, a RACI chart is a way to ensure people at your organization know who is responsible for what.
RACI stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed, which are the four different roles that people can be assigned in the chart. Each RACI chart breaks down individual tasks by assignee and function, to help teams better understand just how involved each person is with a specific task and what they’re responsible for.
How Do I Create A RACI Chart?
To understand how RACI charts work, let’s break down the chart’s components. First, on the Y axis, you’ll list all of the tasks your team or organization needs to get done. On the X axis, you’ll start by listing out each job description that people have at your organization, i.e. Marketing Manager, VP of Marketing, CEO. Your chart will look something like this:
The next part of building a RACI that you want to consider is the different roles you’ll be assigning. As the name RACI suggests, the roles are as follows:
- Responsible – The person who is responsible for completing the task. There is typically at least one R in each RACI chart.
- Accountable – This is the person who signs off on work that the R provides. They are accountable for the work being done correctly and on time. There is only one accountable person for each task.
- Consulted – This person is used for consultation on the task or project should their help be needed.
- Informed – The person who oversees the task but only follows along from a macro-level. Informed of any major roadblocks, issues, or successes along the way. Every team member must have a role on each task, so if you’re in doubt about where a team member fits, it’s probably informed.
Within each task bucket, a letter will be assigned to each role designating their involvement with the task itself. Here’s what that would look like:
How Are RACI Charts Used In Project Management?
RACI charts are a part of the overall project, but they’re not the only thing you need to plot out before you get started. RACI charts work best with a project timeline, including milestones, tasks, and all involved team members.
To create a project timeline, it is easiest to use a project management tool to help you plot out all actions, assignees and milestones throughout the project. Hive is a great option for project management and project timelines, as it allows you to summarize overall project plans in Gantt, Kanban, calendar, portfolio, and summary views, which can be shared and collaborated on with your team.
Once you’ve got your project timeline and tasks in your project management tool, transferring them over to a simple RACI in Google Sheets or Excel is easy. If you want to use a project management tool like Hive to create a RACI-like chart in-app, you can find some tips on how to do that in this article on our Action Matrix.
By having both a project timeline and overview as well as a RACI chart, you’re providing clear marching orders for the team before a project even begins. This is a recipe for long-term project success.
What Are The Benefits of A RACI Chart?
Let’s talk a little bit more about RACI charts and why you should spend the time creating one. The biggest benefit is that your team members will have clear and defined roles on every project and task. This is important because most of us are currently remote, and miscommunication can become more frequent as we’re not in-person. RACI charts give incredible clear instructions as to individual involvement with a project, which helps avoid duplicative or delayed work.
Another major benefit of a RACI chart is that it enforces accountability across the team. If everyone can see which tasks are assigned to them, you’re probably more likely to make sure they’re on track. If not, everyone will be able to see that you’ve slacked off. This is motivation enough to keep yourself on deadline.
Finally, the RACI chart helps prevent burnout and overworking of individual team members. When you lay out all project tasks and properly assign them, it’s easy to see if there’s one team member that is doing the bulk of the work and is at risk for burnout. When you see this, it’s important to identify the potential problem and reassign work appropriately.
How To Operate In RACI Roles
RACI roles can be confusing at first, but once you’ve tackled a few tasks with this methodology, it’ll become much easier to understand your task role and function. Perhaps the easiest role to understand in a RACI is the responsible role — you’re the one leading the charge on this initiative, and will be responsible for kicking the project off, managing the moving parts, and ensuring that you cross the finish line. For this role, using a project management tool where you can set due dates, like Hive, can be really helpful.
For accountable parties, it’s best to have a system where you can watch over any work being done without having to dig around for information — this slows down the process and is a waste of time. You can always ask to be CC’d into emails, but that’s a bit archaic. Instead, you can be added to a task or project in your project management tool, which allows you to see each subaction that is being checked off the list, and you can easily check in on overall progress.
If you’re consulted on a task, using a tool that has a quick chat feature is really helpful. You can integrate with Slack in Hive, or just use Hive’s native chat functionality. When the responsible party needs to call on you for assistance, they can quickly drag a task into the chat window to prompt a conversation. Need to have a more in-depth conversation? Start a Zoom meeting right from a Hive chat with the “/zoom” command.
Being informed in a RACI probably requires the least amount of effort, and project management tools make it even easier. All you have to do in Hive to ensure that someone is informed of project progress is add them into a project or add them as a follower on a task. They now have access to project progress and will be alerted when it is completed, and if anything major changes.
Overall, RACI charts don’t take that much time to create, and should be a key part of your project management toolkit. If there was a way to spend 10 minutes and ensure a project stayed on track, individuals avoided burnout, and communication was decreased wouldn’t you do it?