#22 How To Make A RACI Chart To Assign Responsibilities
March 1, 2021
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This week’s digital marketing guru speech comes to us from RACI Consulting in Australia. They have provided a brief summary of a powerful project management concept, the RACI model, and instructions on how to make a RACI matrix, also sometimes called a RACI chart. We will sum it up in a three-minute read. The idea has been around for a long time, but it is getting increasing attention lately. The concept of “decision rights matrix,” also known as “responsibility charting” or “responsibility assignment matrix” was first introduced in the 1950s before RACI Consulting head Michael Carew started his career, but realizing the importance of the tool, he named his consulting company after it. Carew is a plumber turned telecom startup exec who says RACI helped him launch his company Freshtel and get UK market leading retailer Tesco to invest. 


What Is A RACI Chart?

A RACI chart (or RACI matrix, same thing) helps organize activities by showing who has what kind of input – how do they participate – in each particular task. Let’s break that down. 

The “who” in a RACI chart is typically designed at the “role” level. For instance, the author’s role is “copywriter”. So a role is a broadly defined set of tasks that is often filled by a particular person. But different people could perform the same role each day of the week or shared between people. The horizontal access often shows the “who”. In the Guru Video, they use an example of a household – mom, dad, brother, sister. 


RACI Tasks- Who Is Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed

The “whats” in a RACI chart are tasks. For instance, in the video, they talk about shopping, groceries, laundry, and cooking a meal. So under each role, for each task you have a box where you can indicate the way that person participates in the task, by being responsible, accountable, consulted, or informed. So you have the roles (who) across the top, tasks (what) along the side, and in the boxes, how – in what mode do the roles participate in the task. 

The “responsible” role performs the task. The “accountable” role has ownership and ultimate accountability for the results. The “consulted” role should be asked about any uncertain aspects of performing the tasks, and the “informed” role should be told the results. These ways of participating can be assigned to different roles, but they can also overlap.

For instance, you might have one role be responsible, performing the task while consulting another role along the way who is also ultimately accountable and informed. For example, the brother does the dishes, asks mom questions if necessary, reports to her when done, and if it is not done right, mom is on the hook because she was in charge of making sure the brother’s work was good. But maybe mom would like to delegate and if there are any questions, the brother can ask big sis, so now mom steps out of the consulted participation mode. Multiple roles can participate in the same way; the chart could allow the brother to ask the mother or the sister, so both roles would have a “C” in their box. There can only be one “accountable” role though. Ultimate accountability must rest in a clear place. 


Apply The RACI Model And Clarify Your Business Processes 

It is hard to make quick progress when you do not know who is in charge of doing what. When you lay it out all out in a RACI chart, you can make sure everyone understands expectations. You can also respond to change with agility when you understand your starting point clearly. So take a look at your processes and make a RACI chart to establish clarity. Remember, these tips only work if you use them!