Rarely does everyone on a team have the same understanding of who is responsible for what. A RACI chart, also known as a RACI matrix, is a simple way to clarify roles and responsibilities, making sure that nothing falls through the cracks. RACI charts also eliminate duplicate efforts and confusion by assigning clear ownership for each task.
The best way to understand RACI charts is to look at an actual example (if you are already familiar with RACI charts and simply need to download a template, visit the RACI templates page). Here is a case where a manufacturing plant manager and is staff are planning to have the plant parking lot repaired.
The first three lines in the above RACI chart illustrate each of the R, A, C, and I definitions:
1. Identify Contractors
The first task is to identify outside contractors to quote on the job. This responsibility (R) falls to the project manager, meaning that she will do the work. The project manager must consult (C) with her boss, the facilities manager, while completing this task. In other words, the facilities manager needs to have a say in how the three contractors are selected for quotes.
2. Arrange for Contractor Visits and Quotes
The project manager is responsible (R) for meeting with the contractors and obtaining their quotes. In this case the facilities manager only needs to be kept informed (I), so the project manager is free to complete this task without any oversight – she simply needs to keep the facilities manager in the communication loop.
3. Select a Contractor
This is a big decision that will result in a large cash outlay going to a contractor. Once again, the project manager is responsible for reviewing the quotes and making a recommendation, but the facilities manager is accountable (A) for the decision. In other words, the “buck stops” at the facilities manager if any problems arise with the contractor who was selected for the job. Also in this case, the plant manger and human resources manager must be kept informed (I) regarding the contractor selection.
Notice also how a RACI Chart encourages strong communication between team members with the Informed and Consulted roles.
RACI charts are simple yet powerful tools for assigning clear ownership and communication responsibilities for any situation – give them a try!