What is a RACI Chart? Learn From an Experienced User

By: Shubham Gupta on October 30, 2023
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If you're a project manager, business leader, or team coordinator, you know how critical emotional intelligence (EQ) is when leading a team—72%* of project managers say that emotional intelligence skills help significantly with team management. But even high EQ alone can't solve the problem if roles and responsibilities are unclear.

Project management tools have come a long way, yet the problem of defining clear roles lingers. That's where a RACI chart comes into play. Your team may have mentioned a RACI matrix in passing—the term may not be entirely alien to you. Beyond just a way to assign tasks, it's a strategic tool designed to eliminate bottlenecks and facilitate smooth communication within your team.

And don't just take our word for it. This blog is backed by Gartner's research [1] and firsthand experiences from a real RACI chart user, Alexander Balladares[2], a paid media and marketing consultant at Marketheir, an LA-based advertising and media services firm. Ready to plug those knowledge gaps? Let's get a comprehensive understanding of this indispensable tool.

Using a RACI chart is like handing out personalized roadmaps to your team. It doesn't just tell you where to go—it shows everyone their unique role in getting there, leading to project success.

Alexander Balladares

Paid media and marketing consultant at Marketheir

What is a RACI chart?

The RACI matrix is a tool that clarifies who does what in a project. Unlike a project plan, which outlines what needs to be done, a RACI model specifies who is responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed (RACI) for each project task. Think of it as the who's-who guide to your project.

Balladares puts it well: “RACI charts have mostly stayed the same. What's evolved is our understanding of their strategic implementation. Today, we know precisely where team members should be placed, not just where we'd like them to be. This fine-tuning plays to each person's strengths and fosters teamwork like never before.”

The genesis of RACI charts

Ever wondered where the RACI model originated? Born out of a need for more organized project management, these charts have been around since the mid-20th century. Though the format hasn't undergone drastic changes, the way we use them has. Teams today use RACI charts with more finesse, thanks to years of understanding team dynamics and communication styles. 

Advances in behavioral science and the growing availability of collaboration tools have equipped project managers to tailor the RACI model to individual strengths and preferences, thus streamlining communication and improving overall project efficiency.

What are the four roles in a RACI chart?

Curious about the four roles in a RACI chart? Let's break down the RACI acronym using this table:




Those who work to achieve the task

Multiple resources can work on a task


The "owner" of the task

Only one person per task

Group roles should not be an "A" 

Sometimes, the "A" can also be the "R"


Those who want to work on the task

Those impacted by the outcomes

Whose opinions are sought

Two-way communication


Those kept in the loop

Usually, one-way communication

Now, what does Balladares think about the importance of each RACI role? Each letter in RACI is a pillar for project success, he explains. “The responsible ensures tasks get done, while the accountable ensures everyone stays on track. The consulted offers valuable feedback and insights that can make or break a project. And let's not overlook the informed—they're like the audience in a play, crucial for the ecosystem but not active participants. All in all, each role adds a layer of depth to project dynamics.”

DACI vs RACI: Is there any similarity?

Ever come across the term DACI and wondered how it stacks up against RACI? DACI is another framework focusing more on decision-making rather than project role clarity. It stands for Decision, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed. While it shares some similarities with RACI, its primary aim is to facilitate quick, effective decisions in your projects. 

Now that you have a bit of context, let's clear things up about DACI vs. RACI:





Decision, Accountable, Consulted, Informed

Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed



Task delegation


Fewer, focused on decision authority

More comprehensive, tackles accountability

Best for

Fast-paced projects needing quick decisions

Projects that require clear role definition

Balladares gives a quick insight: If you're rolling out a new marketing campaign and need quick decisions, DACI is your go-to. For something like a product launch involving multiple departments and complexities, the RACI framework will keep things transparent and accountable.

In a nutshell, choose DACI for quick decision-making and RACI for a more complex project that requires clear roles and open communication.

RACI and other project management methodologies: A powerful combination

The strength of a RACI chart doesn't just lie in its standalone capabilities. The tool morphs from useful to invaluable when you marry it with other established project management methodologies.

Balladares says, “In my experience, RACI charts provide a versatile framework that easily integrates with various project management methodologies. It acts like a common language that every team, regardless of methodology, can understand.”

Here's how you can blend RACI with other methodologies:

  • Agile methodology: In Agile environments, a RACI chart complements sprint planning by quickly identifying skill mismatches. This ensures that the right people are assigned to complex tasks, thus maximizing each sprint's productivity.

  • Waterfall methodology: In Waterfall projects, RACI charts are invaluable for outlining individual responsibilities at each distinct phase. They serve as a guide for the hand-off between phases, ensuring a smooth transition and avoiding bottlenecks.

  • Scrum: For Scrum, the RACI chart acts as a touchstone for role clarification. Scrum masters and product owners can quickly refer to it during sprint reviews to validate that all team members have been correctly fulfilling their roles.

  • Six Sigma: In a Six Sigma setting, the RACI chart helps pinpoint which roles are crucial for specific quality improvements, thus aiding in more precise data collection and analysis for process improvements.

  • Critical path method (CPM): Within CPM, the RACI chart illuminates task dependencies and bottlenecks. This allows the project manager to foresee potential delays, helping prioritize tasks that are critical to the project timeline.

  • Kanban: In Kanban, using a RACI chart can clarify who oversees the Kanban board and specifies roles for moving tasks from 'to do' to 'done.' This helps in managing work-in-progress limits and optimizing flow.

Whether you're new to project management or a seasoned pro, integrating RACI into your chosen methodology can bring clarity and organization to any project.

What are the benefits of RACI charts in your project's success?

Curious about the tangible benefits a RACI chart can bring to your project management? Let's explore its advantages, illustrated with a real-world example from Balladares:

  • Clarity in roles: A RACI chart clearly defines who's doing what. No more second-guessing or overlapping duties.

  • Enhanced communication: Knowing exactly who to consult or inform can dramatically improve project communication.

  • Accountability: With roles clearly marked, holding individuals accountable for their tasks is easier.

  • Streamlined decision-making: Knowing who is accountable for what can significantly expedite the decision-making process.

  • Conflict reduction: There's less room for conflict when everyone knows their roles and responsibilities.

  • Effective delegation: The chart helps you allocate resources where they'll have the most impact.

Alexander shares a mini case story to bring these points home:

We had a marketing campaign where both the design and copywriting teams thought they were responsible for final edits. This led to two different versions being circulated, confusing our client. We lost time and almost the client's trust. Implementing a RACI chart designated the design team for final edits and the copywriting team for content checks. In the very next campaign, we eliminated these hiccups, improving our client's satisfaction rate by 27%.

Common pitfalls of using RACI charts and tips to avoid them

While RACI charts are invaluable tools, they have challenges. But don't worry, Balladares has shared expert insights to help you navigate these common pitfalls.



Tips from Balladares

Overlapping responsibilities

When roles aren't clearly defined, team members can step on each other's toes, leading to inefficiency.

Make roles crystal clear. Unclear roles can lead to misunderstandings.

Too many people consulted

Involving too many people for consultation can slow down decision-making, leading to project delays.

Minimize the 'C's. Otherwise, you risk slowing down the project with too many opinions.

Lack of Accountability

When no single person is accountable, tasks may fall through the cracks, affecting project outcomes.

Always designate a single 'A' for each task. Accountability is crucial.

Chart becomes outdated

As the project evolves, roles and responsibilities may change, making the chart inaccurate.

Regularly review and update your RACI chart. It's not a one-time task but a living document.

Maximize your project success with RACI: Key takeaways and next steps

RACI charts add value to project management by clarifying roles and improving communication. It's not just a standalone tool; it can seamlessly blend with other project management methodologies for even better results. But like any tool, it has its challenges. However, you can make the most of it with careful planning and insights like those from Balladares.

Keep in mind that a RACI chart is not just a static document but a dynamic tool that can evolve with your project. Remember these tips, and you're on your way to more organized and effective project management.

Survey methodology

2023-06 Emotional Intelligence in Project Management Survey Data

Software Advice's 2023 Emotional Intelligence in Project Management Survey was conducted in June 2023 among 239 U.S.-based project managers to learn more about how emotional intelligence affects the decision-making processes during a project. Respondents were screened to ensure they are actively working as a project or program/portfolio/project management office (PMO) manager.