What is a RACI Chart?

Updated Oct 5, 2020

A RACI chart is a useful tool in determining roles within a project and assigning tasks that correlate with each role to the right person at the organization. It promotes buy-in from each member of the project team. This matrix maps out a range of information about a project, including workloads, assignments, roadblocks, and results. RACI charts serve to simplify project management and provide clear expectations of what each member of the organization must meet for the project to be successful. It is also often referred to as the “responsibility assignment matrix.” In the PM community, the RACI chart is typically established by the end of the planning phase and published in the Project Charter document. The RACI team is typically key stakeholders.

This little Project Management gem was originally called the “Decision Rights Matrix” and put into play in the mid-1950s. The fact that this system is seventy years old speaks to the solid foundation and global popularity. There are several other versions of this tool but at its core, it is the only project management tool that deals exclusively with roles and people. The RACI Chart uses a very simple process to work through very complex subjects within organizations to generate the best results.

Overview of RACI Chart

R – Responsible: Shows what each team member is expected to do for tasks and when their part of the project is due. Typically, they “do” the work but don’t always have authority over the final result or approval. It also communicates who “owns” the project.

A – Accountable: Identifies who has the final say on completed tasks. This is the decision-maker who takes appropriate action in notifying others or approving work when tasks are completed. This is best if it is one person only and not a group to avoid confusion of accountability. They are also sometimes referred to as the Approver.

C – Consulted: The person (or persons) who will be made aware of changes, problems, task completions, and other issues. They provide feedback and opinions when sought out and are a source of reliable information throughout the progress of the project. These are also usually SMEs.

I – Informed: Identifies who must be notified of updates to the project, from budget changes to progress on the timeline and overall results. They are not usually asked for feedback or opinions on the tasks or outcomes, but they can be affected by the deliverable(s).  Many times, there are several stakeholders in this group.  Communication is also one-way to this chart category.

Take a look below for what a typical example of a RACI chart can look like.

What are the benefits of using a RACI chart?

Clear overview of employee responsibilities:

RACI charts serve to limit confusion and wasted resources on a project. This includes workload management making sure there are not overloads or gaps. It can serve as a platform for conflict resolution and redistributing tasks when necessary. In addition, new employees can use this information to see where they fit in an organization, and what is expected of them in their roles which can actually help reduce employee turnover.

Big-picture snapshot of how a company functions:

A RACI chart is a great way to take a top-level look at how an organization operates. These tools also are key in identifying roadblocks in communications, stunted workflows, and issues that continually arise by showing clearly where the breakdowns in efficiency are occurring. Many times this tool can help with inter-departmental conflict providing an exercise to document and alleviate issues. It can also ensure that key processes and functions are not overlooked.

Simplifies project management:

From the perspective of a project manager, a RACI chart shows clearly who’s accountable for what and who reports to who. This limits confusion for the teams they are managing. It also helps streamline efforts of managers with a lot on their plates. It enables them to focus on their work and avoid distracting questions. Bonus: it also often eliminates the need for so many meetings!

Modern Uses and Platforms for RACI Methodology

As we mentioned this age-old method has stood the test of time. With the modern office moving more into SharePoint or Cloud environments, finding resources to set-up your organization with easy-to-use RACI templates is faster than ever. There are so many enabled features on SharePoint like the look-up feature or the filter capability to highlight gaps or overlap. In this collaborative environment, you can also see comments that team members leave.

Which Chart is Best?

There are several templates and versions of RACI Charts out there. Of course, we feel that ours is the best (wink). But what really matters is that you and your team see all the details in a clear, concise diagram or matrix. The chart should have each task, milestone, and step, clearly defined in the column on the left side of the matrix. Then each member of the team is assigned a role to each task. In a basic RACI Chart, there should be no empty boxes. There have been cases where an entire team was assigned a role. While this can work, it is not recommended as a general practice.


This seemingly simple tool is critical when trying to wrap your arms around the project’s scope and ownership. It keeps records of agreement and accountability giving equal access to information.

There has been historic confusion between the “R” and the “A” when it comes to determining the core definitions of the “doer” and the “approver.” As long as your team establishes those role interpretations and rules when building your RACI diagram and plan, you will be fine. But you MUST all be clear on what each role means to the outcome or scope.


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