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Project Management

How to Clear Project Confusion with a RACI Chart [Template]

Brett Harned
September 16, 2019

It’s a fact: Complex projects make it easy for teams to lose track of tasks.

You might have an air-tight project plan and a stellar team to back it up. But if you’re not crystal clear about assignments—or even involvement—on a task level, confusion, crankiness, and even demotivation will creep into your project team.

Lucky for you, avoiding those issues is as simple as creating a RACI chart.

Download our free Excel RACI chart template, and get started right away!

What is a RACI chart?

A RACI chart is a simple matrix used to assign roles and responsibilities for each task, milestone, or decision on a project. By clearly mapping out which roles are involved in each project task and at which level, you can eliminate confusion and answer the age-old project question, Who’s doing what?

What does RACI stand for?

RACI stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed. Each letter in the acronym represents a level of task responsibility.

Let’s take a moment to define the 4 responsibilities used in a RACI matrix.

RACI definitions

RACI chart definitions

Benefits of a RACI chart

At its core, a RACI matrix helps you set clear expectations about project roles and responsibilities. That way you don’t have multiple people working on the same task or against one another because tasks weren’t clearly defined on the front end.

A RACI matrix also encourages team members to take responsibility for their work—or defer to someone else when needed. Essentially, you’ll remove personal judgment and politics from your process and focus on your team’s ability to act responsibly within a framework you’ve created. Sounds pretty sweet, huh?

Learn how to improve project clarity and accountability even further by joining us for Plan Up: How to Create and Sell a Winning Project Plan.

When to use a RACI matrix

A RACI chart serves just about every project well. But it’s especially helpful when tasks require multiple resources, run concurrently, or depend on other tasks.

Here are a few scenarios when a RACI chart comes in handy:

Of course, not all teams and projects are created equally. You might work with a team who just happens to communicate really well and stays on top of their own work. (Lucky you!) Or maybe your project is small enough that it would be silly to take the time to go through this exercise. In cases like these, don’t worry about taking the extra step.

How to create a RACI matrix: Example & template

You can make a RACI matrix quickly and easily in your favorite spreadsheet app. Simply follow these 3 steps, using the RACI chart example below as your guide:

  1. Enter all project roles or team member names across the top row.
  2. List all tasks, milestones, and decisions down the left column.
  3. For each task, assign a responsibility value to each role or person on the team.

RACI chart example

This sample RACI chart gives you a quick glimpse at how all the pieces and parts come together.

RACi matrix example

Download a free Excel RACI matrix template

Ready to make a RACI chart of your own? We built a totally free RACI template in Excel to help you save time and effort on setup. 

Download our free Excel RACI chart template, and get started right away!

free Excel RACI matrix template screenshot

Quick tips for optimizing your RACI chart

In a best case scenario, you’d sit down with your team to walk through the role assignments on each task. But let’s be real: That’s not always possible.

Just be sure everyone represented on your RACI chart has acknowledged and agreed to the roles and responsibilities you’ve laid out. More importantly, you want to check that your matrix eliminates any further project confusion.

These tips can help you get the most out of your RACI chart:

RACI chart task assignments

RACI matrix rules

Once your RACI chart is complete, review it to be sure it follows these simple rules:

Keep your team in sync with TeamGantt

A RACI chart is a simple tool that makes projects easier to manage by creating less confusion and more accountability.

But you’ve got more than roles and responsibilities to keep straight.

TeamGantt makes it easy to build a project plan your whole team can contribute to and collaborate on. And because everything happens online, you can stay on top of deadlines and keep up with project progress in real time.

Watch the video below to see how TeamGantt works, and try our free online project management software for free today!

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