Definition: What is a RACI chart?
Definition of RACI Chart

If you have ever heard the proverb ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’ you would know it means that if too many people are accountable for completing a task or deliverable it is highly likely to have issues. In Projects there are different ways to mitigate this risk, which will look slightly different depending on your approach. A single ‘boss’ concept might help but can’t work in Scrum for example and even in Waterfall will immobilise the project by creating a decision bottleneck with one person as well as create a key person risk. The RACI chart was developed to clearly identify who is responsible, accountable, informed and communicated to in any given process rather than for one person for everything. It will help give the team clear information on who the ‘cook’ is and how the rest of the team will interact to support the process completion or outcome.

What is a RACI chart?

A RACI analysis helps a project to define roles, assignments and responsibilities in a project and who will do what. It is up to the Project team what level they will go to in assigning responsibility. For some projects it might be necessary to assign at task level, for others at process level or perhaps only at milestone or phase level (the critical tasks related to achieving a milestone or completing a phase).

A RACI chart is a table or grid the Project Manager or Project team can create which will have the required attributes down the left hand side and roles across the top. In the cells which intersect for the role and the task, assignment can be given which shows responsibility, accountability, who needs to be consulted and who needs to be informed. It is an ongoing reference and assurance tool for the Project team and, if used correctly, will mitigate confusion and enable rapid decision-making.

What RACI stands for

Responsible

Identifies who will be doing the work or completing the task. This will help validate whom to assign tasks in a Project Management tool where it is used.

Accountable

The person (or in Agile may also be the Project or Scrum team) who owns the outcome and is therefore accountable to make decisions and take ownership should the team fail in completing the task.

Consulted

The Project team members or stakeholders who are required to provide input or feedback in order for the task to be completed.

Informed

The stakeholders who will need information throughout however will not be a dependency for task completion.

The RACI chart should ideally be completed in a collaborative manner however there is no reason why a Project Manager cannot draft one based on their own experience or preference.

Example of RACI chart
Example of RACI chart

The RACI chart will provide clear visibility should you have too many responsible or accountable parties or even if you have excessive consulting in a task i.e. you have too many ‘cooks’. As an additional benefit it will therefore allow the team to streamline task management and clear a path for progress.