What Is RACI?

The RACI Matrix. Overview of Responsibility in the Project.

How do you use a RACI matrix to clarify responsibilities in the project?

Knowledge Base: What is RACI

The RACI matrix provides a quick overview of who is responsible for different tasks in a project. RACI is an acronym derived from the following initial letters:









The RACI matrix regulates responsibilities. Concrete persons or roles are assigned to different activities per table. Project member X is responsible or accountable for activity Y. In addition, person X must be consulted or informed about activity Y.

Although the two terms “responsible” and “accountable” can be translated into German as “responsible”, there is a small but subtle difference. In “accountable” there is the “account”, i.e. the bill. Whoever is “accountable” is held to account. A bears the overall responsibility.

Therefore, a maximum of one person should be registered as “accountable”. In other words: the person has the ownership for a certain task. For “responsible”, at least one person must be entered, but more than one person could be responsible. For consulted and informed there is no minimum or maximum number of persons assigned.

In general, if there are too many Rs, Cs and Is in the table, processes tend to slow down. If responsibilities are forgotten, this also endangers the project. That is why the RACI matrix must be reviewed by all stakeholders after it has been created, improved if necessary and approved.

Definitions of Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed


For a RACI matrix to ensure clear communication and smooth processes, the 4 letters must be clear to everyone in the project team. There are many definitions, the following is an example:

Responsible – at least one person who is responsible for carrying out an activity. They can carry out the activity themselves or delegate it. For example, two developers could be responsible for implementing a user story.

Accountable – maximum one person who is accountable for an activity. This person formally signs off on the activity and is thus liable in a legal or commercial sense. For example, a project manager or business owner could be in this role.

Consulted – one or more persons who do not necessarily have to be involved in the implementation of the activity, but who have information about it, can be interviewed or provide technical advice. For example, technical experts such as structural engineers for construction measures or stakeholders who provide feedback.

Informed – one or more persons to be informed about the activity. This could be, for example, developers working on a dependent activity.

R and A must be assigned per activity. One person could also be R and A for an activity at the same time. If too many Rs and As are assigned to one person, there is a risk of bottleneck, i.e. one person would be overloaded with too much responsibility and may not be able to keep up with approvals. C and I do not have to be assigned for every activity. The table may well have empty places.

Where Does the RACI Matrix Come from?


The RACI matrix has no named inventor, but has been used since the 1950s and was then called Linear Responsibility Chart (LRC). In the 1970s, a tabular representation called Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM) circulated. RAM can be understood as an umbrella term, a framework in which tasks are delegated to individuals. The RACI matrix is the best known form of RAM, where different people within the team are given one of the RACI labels.

There are numerous other matrices, such as: PARIS, PACSI, RASIC, RASCI, RASI, RACIQ, RACI-VS, CAIRO, DACI, RAPID, RATSI, DRASCI, PDQA, DCI, RASCEIO. The S can stand for “signed off”, “suggested” or “supported”. The P stands for “participant” or “performed”. The D usually stands for “driver” or “decision maker” and the Q for “quality”. Mostly, these overviews are used in large, cross-functional or cross-departmental projects and processes to clarify roles and responsibilities. They tend to be understood as an instrument of classic top-down project management.

Marie Ebner von Eschenbach

Power is duty; freedom is responsibility

Create a RACI Matrix

This is how one could proceed when creating a RACI Matrix:

  1. Choose a presentation format, e.g. whiteboard, Excel, PowerPoint or special project management software
  2. Identify project tasks or deliverables together with all relevant stakeholders and list them on the X-axis
  3. Enter project roles or project staff that are eligible for RACI on the Y-axis
  4. Identify the person responsible for maintaining the RACI matrix and plan for verification/updating of the RACI matrix
  5. Determine R,A,C and I
  6. Check whether individuals have too many responsibilities and reallocate if necessary
  7. Obtain agreement on the RACI matrix from all relevant stakeholders
  8. Make the RACI matrix transparent for all stakeholders

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RACI and Agile – a Contradiction?


In agile project management, the RACI matrix is often rejected because, according to the Scrum Guide, the team as a whole is responsible for the project results. In a forum at Scrum.org, for example, it is argued that a RACI matrix for Scrum would look like this:

R = product owner, development team, Scrum master, stakeholder
A = product owner, development team, Scrum master, stakeholder
C = product owner, development team, Scrum master, stakeholder
I = product owner, development team, Scrum master, stakeholder

If a team consists of 3 to 9 people, this may be easy. The more interdependencies there are between teams and tasks and the more external stakeholders are involved, the more difficult it will be to be permanently responsible for everything. Therefore, even among agile practitioners, there are proponents of the RACI matrix who concede that it makes perfect sense to have persons who are A and/or R.

Other arguments against a RACI matrix are that such an assignment would weaken the sense of responsibility and increase finger-pointing at others, would also make dysfunctional teams unable to work, and would separate thinking from action.

The decisive factor is probably whether a RACI matrix is imposed top-down or developed jointly by the team. Certainly, it is motivating when responsibility is shared. Nevertheless, in complex projects not all team members can be responsible for everything. In such projects, RACI is used even with an agile approach.