Sharpening the Edge – Using a RACI Matrix

By Stuart McRae
City Administrator
City of Sheridan, Wyoming

I was in some training recently and the speaker mentioned a RACI matrix for managing projects. I had never heard of it, so I looked it up. What I found was an effective and simple method for identifying and categorizing stakeholders and participants in a neat and organized fashion.

One of my Good Rules for Leaders is, “Who else needs to know?” I suppose a corollary to that would be, “what information does each of these people need to know or do?” This is all about effective communication across the team, project and tasks. A RACI model is perfect for this – because it seems to be an effective ad clear communication-focused project management system.

RACI Matrices break stakeholders into four categories:

Responsible: The main person responsible for a task or deliverable(s) of the activities associated with the larger project (i.e. an architect for a design component or a contractor for the construction portion) This person needs to know everything regarding the project: often, this would be an executive sponsor.

Accountable: This is the person or party who ultimately has to make sure that the project or activity stays on its timeline up to and including completion of the project; and hits objectives and milestones in association with the project goals. This is the usually the project manager. This person needs to know everything that affects the project and be intimately familiar with all the players, and all the tasks.

Consulted: This can be a large group of people, with various roles depending on the amount and variety of inputs you need on a project. Their opinions need to be considered as they relate to the project, and they need to know about the things that have an effect on their recommendations or activities and tasks within the project.  These are often vendors or tertiary project participants.

Informed: These are many of the same stakeholders, but depending on the activity taking place, they may not be in a responsible, accountable, or consultant category, but they still need to have some level of knowledge of the other activities. They are going to get information to help them remain abreast of the activity progress. A good example of this role might be an office receptionist in a company launching a new product or service. They should be informed of what’s happening so they can direct and respond appropriately to calls.

I found this to be an interesting and informative approach to project management. It’s also a solid framework for communicating across teams when cross-collaborating on recurring work.  I’ve included an example template from ProjectManagement.com of what a matrix might look like for reference purposes.  For more information on this project management system, and a ton of resources, templates and training around project management – visit ProjectManagement.com.