Getting Things Done: The RACI Matrix

When your company needs to get things done, just knowing what to do isn’t enough. 

You also need to know who will own the work and who will be involved to get the best outcome.

As a fractional CMO, I am frequently charged with project management and oversight of a critical campaign in which a combination of resources – people, money, time, tech, etc – need to be carefully coordinated. Asana project management includes “owners” of tasks, and that is often enough to do the job. 

Sometimes, the situation calls for even more detail about related owners that needs to be documented, and that calls for a RACI matrix.

RACI is a popular project management and organizational tool that helps clarify roles and responsibilities for tasks and activities within a project or business process. 

While these exercises might seem simplistic at first, the impact a RACI Matrix can have is actually quite profound. It is all in the service of a mindset that ensures no ball will get dropped.

What does RACI stand for?

The acronym “RACI” stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed. It is used to define the involvement of individuals or roles in specific tasks. 

Here’s a brief explanation of each role in the RACI matrix:

Who is Responsible (R):

This is the person or role responsible for performing the task at hand. This individual is responsible for the execution and completion of the activity, otherwise known as the “hands on” person. There can be multiple people responsible for different tasks within a project, but there will always be at least one.

Role: “I will do the task and see that it is done.”

Who is Accountable (A):

This is the person who is ultimately accountable for the task’s success or failure. This person ensures that the task is completed satisfactorily and may delegate the task’s execution to others (the “Responsible” individuals). There should be only one person accountable for each task.

Role: “I will make sure the task is done correctly and we get the expected outcome.”

Who should be Consulted (C):

These are individuals or roles that need to provide input or expertise before or during task execution. These stakeholders are consulted for their knowledge, opinions, or feedback. While they don’t perform the task, their input is valuable.

Role: “I will offer advice and feedback before and during so we get the expected outcome.”

Who need to be Informed (I):

These are individuals or roles that need to be kept informed about the task’s progress or outcome but are not directly involved in its execution. They are updated on the task’s status or results after completion.

Role: “I will monitor the progress and results to be sure they stay aligned with my expectations.”

The RACI matrix is seen usually in a table format where tasks or activities are listed along the rows, and the roles (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) are listed along the columns. 

Each intersection in the matrix indicates the involvement level of a specific role in a particular task.

Ambiguity is the Enemy of Growth 

As a fractional CMO, time and time again I observe this truism at work: when ownership of tasks isn’t made 100% clear, the project always suffers.

Witness the typical “I’m waiting to hear back” reason why a project isn’t on track. That is a sure sign that the person doing this task feels their job is “done,” even though this might mean the task might not get done at all.

When there is no clarity of ownership, there is a risk of duplicated efforts and tasks being neglected. Team members may assume someone else is responsible for a task, leading to gaps in execution or unnecessary redundancies. They may wait forever for the “hearing back” that never happens.

Ultimately, the RACI means that the “doer” will be empowered to take action. If not, the Accountable person will know and take appropriate steps to clear roadblocks and put the Responsible person back on track.

Without a RACI matrix, there may be ambiguity about who is responsible for specific tasks, who needs to be consulted, and who has the ultimate accountability. This lack of clarity can lead to confusion among team members and stakeholders.

The Five Steps of Creating a RACI Matrix:

Creating a RACI matrix involves the following five steps:

  1. Identify Tasks:
    • List all the tasks or activities associated with a project or business process.
  2. Define Roles:
    • Clearly define the roles or individuals involved in the project. Ensure that each role has a distinct responsibility.
  3. Assign RACI Codes:
    • Assign RACI codes (R, A, C, I) to each role for each task, indicating their level of involvement.
  4. Review and Validate:
    • Review the RACI matrix with the project team and stakeholders to ensure clarity and alignment. Make adjustments as needed.
  5. Communicate and Use:
    • Share the RACI matrix with the team to ensure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities. Use it as a reference throughout the project to improve communication and accountability.

Integrate the RACI Matrix into Your Planning Process

The RACI matrix is a valuable tool for improving communication, clarifying expectations, and avoiding misunderstandings about who is responsible for what within a project or business process.

If your company is seeing tasks slip and outcomes missed, consider adding a RACI matrix into your next 90 day planning process.

Founder, Fractional CMO