What is a RACI model? A description with an Excel template

Published on 25/07/2022 by Andrew Blair and Quirine Storm van Leeuwen

Are you working within a team on an important project? Complex projects have a better chance of success if everyone has a clear overview of the different participants and their individual responsibilities throughout the process. A RACI matrix template or linear responsibility chart can be used for just this purpose. 

An employee explaining what is a RACI model to his coworkers

Within companies and organisations, a RACI matrix supports better collaboration between teams and individuals, which has significant implications forproject management. This matrix enables executives to make effective decisions faster, which means projects are less likely to be subject to delays. Allocated roles and responsibilities are crystal clear at all times. 

Advantages of a RACI matrix

Many projects and initiatives begin without any prior agreement about decision-making powers. That’s unfortunate because this can impede communication. According to a study by Gartner, monitoring the consequent impact can often be a disturbing task that takes time and effort, and also causes unnecessary frustration and stress (full report available to Gartner clients). A surprisingly large number of project managers have never used a RACI model. They often have no idea how easy it is to operate and how much it can help. That’s why the RACI model is explained in this article alongside a RACI matrix example. 

What is a RACI model?

The RACI modelis a matrix that represents the roles and responsibilities of different people within a project. This linear responsibility chart provides a perfect overview of all participants right through to the end of a specific project. So everyone involved is always clear about their individual responsibilities. The horizontal matrix axis shows the names of the participants and their roles, while the vertical axis lists the outcomes, tasks and processes. The letters R, A, C or I are entered for each combination of name/function and outcome/task/process. Within any company or organisation, this creates a clear overview showing who is involved in which outcome, task or process. This avoids much uncertainty and helps to promote a more collaborative environment. 

A table displaying the RACI model in project management

What does the abbreviation RACI mean?

The acronym RACI stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed. These four components occur in every project and are defined below: 

  1. Responsible: This refers to a person who performs a task. He or she is accountable to the person ultimately responsible (Accountable);
  2. Accountable: this person is ultimately responsible for completing one or more project tasks. As the person is ultimately responsible, he or she directly approves or rejects a task;
  3. Consulted: this person is asked for advice prior to the execution of a task. Thus he or she provides approval or input for a particular project task;
  4. Informed: this person is kept informed about major updates on the progress of a process and/or on the project itself. Of course, this person cannot influence the outcome of any task.

Advantages of a RACI matrix

Completing a RACI matrix with all those involved provides your company or organisation with all kinds of benefits:

  • Creating clarity about the associated roles and responsibilities;
  • Providing enhanced support for all project participants;
  • Avoiding unnecessary work because it clarifies who does what;
  • Improving team cooperation because everyone can see at a glance who is performing which task.

RACI model example

Are you a program or portfolio manager directly responsible for program and project management? Then a RACI matrix template will certainly prove useful. Download a RACI matrix template here and discover the benefits for yourself by designing and completing a fresh template for your own project.

How do you create a RACI matrix, and what should you take into account?

Provided you work carefully, you can use a RACI model to create clarity amidst a maze of roles. So are you ready to start mapping a project and its associated roles? Then here are a few practical tips to get you started:

  • Create both clarity and agreement about the different roles and their associated tasks;
  • Always fill in an R per activity first because without an R, an activity cannot exist;
  • Start filling in A once every R has been allocated;
  • Ensure an equitable division of R and A roles;
  • Keep in mind one function may have multiple roles;
  • Always check for any functions which may have too many R’s or A’s – this can indicate an overload;
  • It’s a good idea to periodically evaluate the RACI matrix with all those involved. That allows everyone to benefit from the support a RACI business model provides.

The best way to use a RACI matrix in practice

The main advantage of a RACI model is lost if no one uses it. That’s why it is important to get the managers of each program or project to complete a RACI matrix. In addition, it’s important for everyone to always check the RACI model before a decision is made. And naturally, it’s also essential to explain to those involved why it is important to use and consult this model. RACI model project management provides insight into who performs which task at what time and indicates who is responsible for ensuring such activities are performed properly. This avoids ambiguous communication and makes it clear to everyone where particular comments or questions should be addressed. Using a RACI matrix in project management thus allows you to maintain an accurate overview at every stage of your project.

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About the author

As a Content Analyst at Capterra, Quirine highlights the technological possibilities for improvement in SMEs. She focuses on digitization, software and technological trends.

As a Content Analyst at Capterra, Quirine highlights the technological possibilities for improvement in SMEs. She focuses on digitization, software and technological trends.