A RACI chart is a matrix that outlines the roles for each person or group relating to a specific step in a business process. RACI stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed. A RACI chart is often used by project managers to ensure responsibilities are understood across stakeholder groups. RACI charts are also helpful when performing work assignments, conflict resolution and process re-engineering.
Determine the process or function for which you will be creating a RACI. A RACI is best used for specific projects or business processes. Attempting to create one RACI for the whole organization is probably too ambiguous.
List all the actions related to the determined business process. The steps should be created using action verbs, such as evaluate, develop and approve. For any step that requires judgment and isn’t binary (yes/no, complete/incomplete), it is best to detail the expected outcome and the criteria that should be used to perform the action.
List all the departments or roles that have some level of involvement in the determined business process. Depending on how high-level or detailed your business process, you may be listing departments or individual roles. Do not list individuals in a RACI chart, but the role for that individual. For example, if John Doe, the vice president, needs to approve a purchase order, your RACI chart will list the vice president, and not John Doe.
Create a table/matrix with your roles listed in columns at the top and steps listed in rows along the left. You can create a RACI in a spreadsheet, a word document or on paper. The tool doesn’t matter, but use something that can be easily shared across all the roles/departments listed on the chart.
Add the applicable RACI step in the appropriate fields in your matrix. You should list an R, A, C or I at the intersection of the role and step being performed.
R = Responsible: The person who actually performs the work. A = Accountable: The person who is accountable to the step being performed and has veto power. C = Consulted: A person who should be providing feedback or in some way contributing to the step. I = Informed: A person who needs to know of a decision or action.
You should not have more than one role as Responsible or Accountable for a step in the process. Many Rs or As could point to inefficiency in your process. It’s possible that you may have multiple roles as consulted or informed, depending on the action. As a general rule, the most efficient processes will have only one R, A, C and I for every step being performed.
The most effective RACI charts are the ones that are created with involvement and approval from all the stakeholders.
Based in Orlando, Fla., David Parker has more than 15 years of technical and business experience. He has worked in project management and strategy with corporations such as AT&T, Cingular Wireless and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Parker earned a Bachelor of Science in business management from Troy University.