The responsibility assignment matrix or RACI matrix is a useful project planning tool. Yet we often see it used incorrectly.
Let’s keep things simple and offer a concise RACI matrix definition … that makes it clear who does what.
How to Use the Responsibility Assignment Matrix
This is really straightforward! Take a minute, and you’ll get it right every time.
And, people will be certain what role they fulfil in the project or business change endeavour.
The RACI Matrix Definition
We use the the responsibility assignment matrix or RACI matrix when we need to make clear the roles in projects or processes. There are four key roles are included in the RACI matrix definition. These are:
- Responsible – the person who does something as part of their job or role to do a specific task or activity.
- Accountable – the person who is expected to justify actions taken or decisions made to deliver the completed task or activity.
- Consulted – groups or people whose opinions are sought by the person responsible for the task or activity.
- Informed – those groups or people that should be kept up-to-date on progress with the task or activity.
Correct Use of the RACI Matrix
When we prepare a responsibility assignment matrix we need to remember the following rules … every time:
- the roles that are responsible and accountable are only ever assigned to one person,
- sometimes the role that is accountable for a task is also responsible for achieving it ― in such circumstances the responsible role is omitted since it is implied,
- withstanding the previous exception, all roles are mutually exclusive ― for instance, you cannot have roles that are both responsible and consulted or consulted and informed,
- the role that is responsible seeks advice from the consulted ― this involves two-way communication,
- the role that is responsible updates the informed ― this is one-way communication, and
- roles that are responsible may delegate tasks to others in their team.
If you break these simple rules, you create uncertainty and confusion. And, when someone is made responsible for something, be sure they have the necessary authority to make it happen.
To illustrate how a poorly constructed RACI matrix can lead to conflict, take a look at the following images from Wikipedia. These demonstrate both proper and improper use of the responsibility assignment matrix or RACI matrix.
Can you spot incorrect use of the RACI matrix?
Image: Airman Magazine.