Who Holds The “R”, The RACI Chart

March 26, 2009

Who Holds The R, Exploring the RACI model

The RACI model is a powerful tool utilized to define roles and responsibilities. In general, you match up roles and responsibilities with processes. The tool is extremely useful when rolling out a new change management program, or just uncovering the processes that make your organization function and identifying the participation in those processes. First let’s discuss what RACI stands for:

RACI Legend

RACI Legend

R–Responsible-The buck stops here. Whoever is responsible needs to make sure that the process works as planned. The R owns the process/problem or project.

A–Accountable-This is the person who is delegated the task of completing the Activity. They support the person who owns the R.

C–Consult-This person usually have in depth knowledge of the process in question and all major decisions need signed off by this individual.

I–Inform-The people who need informed of activity taken, but not necessarily consulted.

Each individual who is involved in a process is either identified as an R, A, C, or I. No two individuals in one process should both have the R.

RACI Chart

RACI Chart

Typical steps in designing a RACI process:

  1. Identify the process in question completely. Start from a top down approach viewing the large picture and map out the process in enough detail to support your requirements. You may only need the top level processes, but in order to define or accomplish the task at hand defining the sub processes, tasks, or steps may be required. Each program is unique. List the process steps horizontally down the left hand side.
  2. Identify the roles that will be impacted by the program/process, and those that will implement the program/process change and list these vertically across the top.
  3. Each role will have an owner. You can list the person here if you want, but in order to make the process timeless you should list the role and assign the role to an individual.
  4. No identify who has the R first and then complete the ownership of A, C, and I. Remember, no two people holds the R for a single process. The buck needs to stop somewhere….This is where the phrase who hold R comes from.
  5. Review any gaps in the process, make sure only one R is in each process, make sure each process has an owner. Sometimes when you have arguments of who holds the R for any given process, the resolution usually resides in looking into the process further, maybe you need to explore the sub-processes, the roles, or the tasks associated with the process. Once you get to a point that only one person holds the R you have dove deep enough into the process.
  6. One exception to multiple R’s in one process may entail the difference between who is responsible for the Initiative, and who is responsible for the Process. This at first seems like the difference between the Responsible and the accountable party here, but with the correct boundaries set up this can be a powerful concept especially when considering the interaction of a Program Management Office PMO with a large organization. I have included this as an example in the RACI chart view. Be careful with this concept!

An example of a RACI chart for the top view of a sales process is shown to help visualize the RACI diagram. Note how colors are used in the matrix, this makes it easier for others to quickly understand the relationship of the process. An excel template you can use to start you next project, or process improvement initiative is attached here.

One very important step in any project or improvement initiative is the understanding and mapping of the underlying process that support the program being implemented or enhanced. Check back soon for an installment of defining and implementing a process map.

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10 Responses to “Who Holds The “R”, The RACI Chart”

  1. LUCIA REYES on July 16th, 2009 11:41 am

    Logically A will be above in hierarchy then R, though for some objectives they could be the same person. Do you agree?

    I have seen other analysts describe the R as the “doer” = people who are responsible for the execution of the activity and for preparing the materials related to the activity
    I find the above contradictory to your explanation below but maybe it is the famous confusion with R and A

    “R–Responsible-The buck stops here. Whoever is responsible needs to make sure that the process works as planned. ”
    A–Accountable-This is the person who is delegated the task of completing the Activity. They support the person who owns the R”.

  2. Sam Walton on January 5th, 2010 8:02 am

    I agree with Lucia Reyes. Another way to put it is to say the “R’s” get the credit for the “A’s” efforts. If the task isn’t completed, the R’s blame the A’s. If the task is completed, the R’s take the credit without mentioning the A’s.

    Basic management 101. We see it everyday.

    We use this model but with some refinement. In our model, the R’s and A’s are the same person. They are defined as the following:

    A–Accountable. This is the person who completes the activity. The buck stops here. Whoever is responsible for the activity needs to make sure that the process works as planned.”

    So, our model is based on ACI – not RACI.

    It works very well and eliminates deadweight management.

  3. admin on January 7th, 2010 3:12 pm

    Sam, Lucia,

    Both of your points are valid. I usually add the R to the person who I go to if something is not functioning as planned. Being responsible (holding the R) does not mean you are doing the work, and it is usually the person who is accountable (holding the A) who actually performs the tasks and implements the project.

    As an example, if you were implementing a new CRM system, the R would be held by the executive sponsor or the president of sales and the A would be held by the program manager. I would work through strategic direction with the holder of the R and would get the work done with the person who hods the A.

    I agree with both of your comments in the context they are written.

    Thank You!

  4. Jeremy Taylor on March 28th, 2010 8:53 pm

    No no no.
    The order or authority is A > R > C > I.
    The Accountable individual is where the buck stops and where decision making and veto power lies.
    The Responsible individual or group actually do the work. Unlike Accountable, where there should only be one person, the implementation may be done by many. The work is delegated to them by the Accountable person.
    See also:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Responsibility_assignment_matrix
    http://www.pmforum.org/library/tips/pdf_files/RACI_R_Web3_1.pdf
    http://itmanagement.earthweb.com/columns/article.php/3623611

    Do NOT be confused by the ordering of the letters in RACI which is irrelevant, simply to make the acronym pronouncable as a mneumonic.

  5. Jeremy Taylor on March 28th, 2010 8:55 pm

    excuse me:
    order OF authority

  6. Tom Brettin on January 4th, 2011 12:21 pm

    Did we decide on the order of authority and who does the work?

  7. Brian Hunt on February 2nd, 2011 7:15 am

    Jeremy’s correction is needed. The lack of accountability is one of the main reasons why project fail. There can be only one person accountable – one ‘head on the block’

    The person accountable makes it all happen. He delegates to R who then involves C and I

  8. Vinay Kumar on March 11th, 2011 10:40 am

    Yes I agree with Jeremy. Accountable is an individual is where the buck stops. Accoutable will have a group/team who is Resposible to execute the task.

    On a larger perspect, Accountable decision driving the TASK is a key for success.

  9. JIRA: ENERGY STAR Web CMS on September 29th, 2011 12:02 pm

    [ESWCMS-79] Determine who our EPA stakeholders are….

    Holly, thank you for creating this. After doing a little reading into the RACI charts, I don’t think its going to cover what we need. We need something that has some agile spice to it. I think if we can depict in our own way (which we sort have alre…..

  10. Mike Lanyon on August 7th, 2012 9:02 am

    Although everyone refers to the acronym as RACI when it was first created the order was ARCI which doesn’t scan (or sound) so good in some countries.

    Accountable is the person who has the ‘A’ and is the one whose head is on the block for getting the job completed.
    Responsible/s do the work
    Consultants provide information
    and usually someone senior is Informed.

    it is possible for the same person to be both accountable and responsible.

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