RACI Matrices Come With Benefits

by Gabriella Martin

Responsibility Assignment Matrix, or RAM for short, is a matrix/table project management artifact. It describes the participation of teams or team members in completing process steps or actual tasks. This tool has proved its usefulness mostly in a typical waterfall-style project management paradigm to overcome an empirical truth: “No Accountability = No results”. RAMs come in different flavors, the most popular being the RACI format (R=Responsible, A=Accountable, C=Consulted, I=Informed). If you need to learn more about RACI follow this What is RACI? post.

RACI matrices are either templates that map generic activities and processes to business roles,

RACI Matrix Template – ALM activities and processes mapped to business roles.
RACI Matrix Template – ALM activities and processes mapped to business roles. By David Morris

or actual project management artifacts that assign activities to real people in the development team

RACI matrix example

Benefits of having a RACI matrix template are two fold:

  • RACI templates help project managers (PMs) create RACI matrix artifacts that assign actual activities to actual development team people, making all peoples’ responsibilities and accountabilities crystal clear.
  • Allows PMs reflect on the application lifecycle management processes (ALM) used in the enterprise. No two businesses are alike, and neither are their ALM processes. The template reflects also the portfolio of skills and roles which exist/or should exist in the enterprise.

The project’s specific RACI matrix artifact is the one that ensures that each work package has an unambiguous owner, and that all the team members have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities. Some of the claimed benefits associated with using this tool are:

  • Without clear responsibilities and accountabilities there is an increased risk for team under-performance;
  • Without the matrix chances are there will be gaps, duplication and confusion in tasks executions and completions. Even when thinking task delegation, this must be clear for all parties involved.
  • Overall, the team will be less frustrated and more likely to perform well.

You can learn more about RACI roles in this RACI Roles post and some guides for creating this matrix can be found in the RACI Matrix Analysis post.

Of course, there are other tools and techniques aimed at human resources planning like using hierarchical charts, or filling text-oriented role-responsibility-authority forms, but RACI remains though the most visual and intuitive technique. A PM must update the RACI matrix at least once a week, and here is where the Allegra Project & Task Management software comes in handy, by providing RACI Matrix functionality out of the box.

RACI assignments to a task in Trackplus
RACI assignments to a task in Allegra

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