The better team members know their roles and responsibilities, the better a project is going to run. Therefore, communicating role distinctions early on in the project is crucial. But how can a project manager make those definitions clear and obvious to the team?
There’s a tool called RACI, or a RACI chart or matrix, which helps to define project team roles and responsibilities. It’s an efficient way to make sure everyone is on the same page and understands what they have to do. The last thing you want when you’re executing a project is confusion.
What Is a RACI Chart?
RACI is an acronym for responsible, accountable, consulted and informed. A RACI chart is a way to assign responsibility and roles to team members who are tasked with creating deliverables in a project. It defines their roles and responsibilities in the team and the overall project.
It’s a simple tool that takes each task in a project and assigns the roles and responsibilities attached to it. This makes it clear who is doing what in the project and avoids any confusion, which can slow down production and eat into costs.
Related: Free RACI Matrix Template for Excel
Let’s take a closer look at what RACI stands for the significance of each of those words.
Each task must have at least one responsible team member who is the one who does the work to complete the task. There can be, however, more than one responsible party.
This team member is in charge of delegating work and is the one who approves deliverables before they can be deemed complete. Sometimes the responsible team member is also the accountable one. But every task must have one accountable person attached to it, and it’s not always the project manager.
This team member will review a deliverable, providing feedback that puts the deliverable in context to the whole project or just within its own expectations.
These are the team members who must know what’s happening with the execution of tasks, but are not wedded to them with the same level of responsibility as those listed above. They can be given a general report on progress, rather than having to dip into the weeds with them.
How to Make a RACI Chart
All projects can benefit from the set expectations provided by using a RACI chart. But it is really helpful when managing multiple resources or having task dependencies.
To fully flesh out the process of making a RACI chart, let’s create a project. Let’s say you’re building an addition to your home, these three steps will outline how you create a RACI chart.
Step One: Identify Roles
Across the top of your spreadsheet list all the people involved in the project. This would include the client or homeowner who is having the construction done. Then there is the architect, who is responsible for drawing up the plans. The project manager is overseeing the whole project from start to finish. There’s a contractor, who, with their team, is responsible for the actual build. There are likely to be many more subcontractors, such as electricians, roofers, et al., but we’ll keep it simple.
Step Two: List Tasks and Milestones
Next, you want to have a thorough list of all the tasks, including milestones, and any decision-making that would be needed list them on the far-left column. This includes reviewing the plans by the architect, estimating the budget, getting permits, preparing the site and doing any excavation that might be necessary. You might have to lay a foundation, add plinth beam and slab, masonry, flooring or roofing, doors and windows, electrical and plumbing, fixtures, etc.
Step Three: Assign Each Task to a Role and Responsibility
Under each person on the project team add the R (Responsible), A (Accountable), C (Consulted) or I (Informed), depending on their relation to the tasks on the left column. For example, architect would be the responsible team member for delivering the completed project plan, while the project manager would be accountable for making sure that plan is compliant with any regulatory issues. The client or homeowner would be consulted, to make sure the plans meet with their specifications, but for much of the actual build would only be informed of the progress.
Why Make a RACI Chart?
The more structure, direction and clear definition you can give your team, the better suited they will be to get their work done on time and without wasting valuable resources. A RACI chart is setting expectations, so everyone is aware of what they and the rest of the team do. This avoids redundancy or having team members work against each other. Tasks, roles and responsibilities are made clear, so there are no misunderstandings about who is doing what. This will also imbue your team with a sense of responsibility for their work and know when it is their job or when they need to seek another’s guidance.
An added bonus, is these definitions remove much of the personality issues and office politics that gets in the way of productivity. You’ve given your team a framework, so they know where they stand and where other team members stand. Teams are happier this way, and it streamlines communications. Team members can look back at the RACI chart at any time during the project and know who is responsible for what, instead of having to pull everyone away from what they’re doing.
How ProjectManager.com Helps with Accountability
Basically, a RACI chart is a tool to define accountability for the project team. This is a key step in project management. But once the roles and responsibilities have been determined, you want to have a way to facilitate those roles and responsibilities throughout the life cycle of the project.
ProjectManager.com can help keep team members accountable. For one thing, we make it easy to upload your task list and create a project. From there, the project manager can assign each of the tasks on your RACI chart to a team member. Each task has a comment box where directions can be added. ProjectManager.com has unlimited file storage, so add as many relevant documents and images as needed.
Team members can also use the task to communicate and collaborate with other people assigned to the task or @ the project manager, who is then notified by email and brought into the conversation.
Everyone on the team can keep track of their own tasks on the my work section. Their tasks are listed and can be checked off as completed. The project and due date is also listed. Just click on an individual task and get even more details. Team members can add their own to-do list to the task to manage their work and keep them on track.
Project managers can keep up on the team’s progress with the real-time dashboard, which follows six project metrics that are updated instantly when team members update their work. For more in-depth analysis, ProjectManager.com has one-click reporting that provides detailed data on task progress, costs and workload, among others.
There’s a workload page that allows project managers to make sure that no one team member is under- or over-allocated. ProjectManager.com helps you better manage your teams, make data-driven decisions and optimize your project resources in real-time.
ProjectManager.com is a cloud-based project management software that takes the roles and responsibilities defined on your RACI chart and turns them into a dynamic tool to manage teams and workload. Project managers get transparency into the project to monitor progress and reallocate resources to keep team members from getting blocked. See how ProjectManager.com can keep your team members accountable and productive by taking this free 30-day trial today.