Academic and Student Affairs

Planning – Roles and Responsibilities



Purpose and Goals

The purpose of defining project roles and responsibilities is to ensure that all project work has an unambiguous owner and that all project team members clearly understand their role and responsibilities. Defining roles and responsibilities should be completed early in project planning, before detailed resource allocation or scheduling.

RACI Matrix

A RACI diagram is used to describe the roles and responsibilities of teams or individuals in delivering a project. It is especially useful in clarifying roles and responsibilities in cross functional/cross departmental projects and initiatives. The goals of the roles and responsibilities matrix are to:

  • Define roles and responsibilities of project stakeholders
  • Improve overall project team and stakeholder communication
  • Proactively identify gaps in assignments, accountability, or resources
  • Clarify cross-functional interactions between project team members
  • Document project inter-dependencies with other enterprise initiatives
  • Define project team interactions with supporting resources and departments

RACI Definitions

The RACI diagram splits project activities into four participatory responsibility types that are then assigned to different roles in the project. These responsibilities types make up the acronym RACI.

  • Responsible: Those who do work to achieve the activity, there can be multiple resources responsible for an activity.
  • Accountable: The role/resource who will sign off on the work and judge its completion and how it meets quality standards. There must be only one “A” specified for each activity.
  • Consulted: Those whose opinions, skills, knowledge are sought to complete the activity. (Two-way communication)
  • Informed: Those that need to know about the activity. (One-way communication)

RACI Process Steps

  1. Identify all of the functional roles on the project, mapping them to groups or people as appropriate. Enter each role title and description in the Roles table (in the RACI Matrix Template), and/or list them along the top of the RACI chart in the template. Each column in the RACI chart should be a different role. Including specific team members’ names helps people understand their responsibilities.
  2. Identify all of the activity categories involved in the project and list them down the left side of the RACI chart in the RACI Matrix Template. Each row in the RACI chart should be a separate activity category. Tips:
    • Avoid obvious or generic activities, such as “attend meetings”.
    • Preface each activity with an action verb.
    • When the action verb implies a judgement or decision, add a phrase to indicate the primary outcome (Example: Review and approval to proceed to next phase.)
    • Activities or decisions should be short and concise, and apply to a role or need, or to a specific person where appropriate.
  3. Identify who is responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed by filling in the cells for each activity. Tips:
    • Place accountability “A” and responsibility “R” at the level closest to the activity or knowledge.
    • Assign only one accountability “A” per activity. Authority must accompany accountability.
    • Minimize the number of consulted “C” and informed “I”, to reduce confusion and clarify roles.
  4. Identify issues with the current roles. There should be only one “A” for each activity, and no activity should be missing an “A”.
  5. Resolve issues. More than one “A” assigned to an activity is resolved by taking a closer look at the process or activity itself and selecting a logical high-level owner. Often one of the “A”s is someone accountable for a sub-process or just a part of the overall activity. An activity without an “A” is usually less difficult to resolve. You identify the appropriate role to be accountable for the process or activity.
  6. Perform a final cross-check to ensure that changes did not impact other RACI assignments.
  7. Verify the RACI with project stakeholders, pointing out where their responsibilities lie, and publish it in the Project Plan.