What is the RACI Matrix?
The RACI Matrix is an operational planning method that assigns responsibilities to those involved in a task by establishing 4 roles.
The main purpose of this tool is to delimit responsibilities and avoid interference.
Its name is an acronym for the 4 roles suggested:
Four Roles of the RACI Matrix
Responsible: It is the Individual or Group that has to carry out the task.
- The one or ones that will get their hands “dirty”.
Accountable: The only person Accountable for the task being done correctly.
- Only one person; Commonly, the boss of the Responsible.
Consulted: The individual or group that will be Consulted.
- Usually, because they have knowledge related to the task.
Informed: The individual or group that will be informed of the progress of the task.
- Commonly, a Coordinator or a Manager.
Let’s see a first example so that you understand it better:
RACI Matrix example
SpaceX is an aerospace company that manufactures space vehicles and offers transportation services.
- Transporting Satellites, Supplies at space stations, etc.
It is like a private NASA.
And who is the Founder and CEO of this company?
- Elon Musk: the “Tesla” guy.
Elon Musk: Founder and CEO of SpaceX
In aerospace projects you need to do things perfectly.
- Otherwise, it will cost human lives and hundreds of millions of dollars.
They surely have huge responsibility Matrices but, let’s imagine what a simplified RACI Matrix would look like in one of their projects:
RACI Matrix example – SpaceX
As you can see, Elon Musk is Accountable for the Rocket Design.
- That is because he is the “Chief Designer” at SpaceX.
However, Rocket Engineers are Responsible of designing the new Rockets.
- They surely Consult other Engineers but, they do the numbers and the design.
In the rest of the tasks developed at SpaceX, Elon Musk is only Informed or barely Consulted.
- He can’t know everything.
As you can see, even if you are the Founder and CEO of a company, you will be only accountable for what you are directly in charge.
- If we had talked about Business metrics such as Profitability, Elon Musk would have been in more “Accountable” positions.
That is why this tool is important.
Because it helps avoiding interference between different departments and professionals.
- These interference can end up killing a project:
- Meddling bosses.
- Responsibilities that fade away.
- Endless retouching.
Now, let’s see how you should build a RACI Matrix:
Steps to create a RACI Matrix
These are the Steps we recommend you to create a RACI Matrix.
They may seem very obvious, but trust us, it is much easier and more effective if you follow this order.
First, you should describe the different Tasks to be done.
- The smaller, simpler and well defined, the better.
Second, you must identify the Professionals involved in the Task.
- Either they play a key or minor role.
Third, you should establish the ones that will do the Job.
- They will be the Responsible.
Fourth, you should look for other professionals that they may have to ask.
- They will be the Consulted.
Fifth, you have to look for somebody that will be responsible for the task being done correctly.
- He or She will be the Accountable.
Finally, you should decide who should be Informed during the whole process.
- In other words, you have to decide who plays the Informed role.
Many people who develop RACI Matrices end up assigning practically all roles to everyone.
- That is almost useless.
Try to assign just one role per person or team.
Before we share more examples with you, we want to mention that, this Matrix has different variations.
The most famous one is the RASCI Matrix.
The RASCI Matrix is the same matrix as the RACI, but adds an additional factor: Support.
What does this role mean?
It is like the Consulted role, but considering that the Support does a real job while the Consulted does not.
We don’t like this definition because we prefer to consider everything within the Consulted category.
- Remember: The simpler the Tool is, the more you will use it.
Now that you know what a RACI Matrix is and how to build it…
… It’s time to see more examples:
RACI Matrix examples
We have chosen 3 examples of real situations in which a RACI Matrix can be of great help.
Design Company - RACI Matrix example
Let’s say you have started a design company with 3 of your friends.
You all 4 have the same studies and skills, so it’s a bit difficult to decide who should do what.
- Besides, you are always arguing about… everything.
That is why you have decided to use a RACI Matrix:
RACI Matrix example – Design Company
As you can see, you all decided to alternate roles.
- You all will play the R, A, C and I role.
This way, there will be a perfect balance in the overall workload.
Opening a Restaurant - RACI Matrix example
In this example, we’ll assume that a group of 4 professionals is designing a Restaurant.
- There is a Chef, an Architect, an Engineer and a Salesman.
In this situation, since everyone has very different skills, it is easier to develop a RACI Matrix:
RACI Matrix example – Building a Restaurant
There are 2 interesting things in this RACI matrix:
- Since the Restaurant is not open yet, the Salesman is not Accountable for any of these tasks.
- When choosing the food suppliers, the Chef had to play 2 roles: Responsible and Accountable.
- It wouldn’t make sense for others to be in charge of either of these 2 roles.
Industrial Improvement - RACI Matrix example
In this example, we’ll imagine that there is an important defect that needs to be fixed in a Manufacturing Line.
There are 4 employees involved in this task:
- The Operator, the Team leader, the Engineer and the Manager.
To solve this issue, the Manager decided to develop a RACI Matrix:
RACI Matrix example – Industrial Improvement
As you can see, the Manager is mainly being informed:
- It is impossible for a Manager to be aware of all the details of all the problems in the Manufacturing line.
The Operator is Responsible of containing the defect…
- … While the Engineer is in charge of designing a robust final solution.
The Team leader (usually, in charge of 5 to 10 Operators) is usually Accountable for the tasks developed in the Manufacturing line.
The RACI Matrix is an operational planning method that assigns responsibilities to those involved in a task by establishing 4 roles:
This tool helps avoiding interference between different departments and professionals.
- And therefore, it optimizes the available resources.
Although there are multiple variations of this method, we suggest the default 4 RACI roles.
- It is better to have a simple but useful tool than a more complex but confusing one.