What is a RACI Chart? Definition & Uses | Wrike
What Is a RACI Chart? Definition & Uses

Whenever you undertake a major project, there’s the risk of misunderstandings, miscommunications, and other misdemeanors throwing you off course.

To navigate the obstacles that inevitably arise with most projects, it’s best to have a reliable system to lean on which clearly outlines roles, responsibilities, and processes. The RACI chart does exactly that.

So, what is RACI? The RACI chart is a way of proactively combatting potential project issues before they arise.

This guide will act as a primer to the RACI diagram, covering everything from the basics of the system to how you can make your own. We’ve even included alternatives if the RACI diagram doesn’t suit your project needs.

What does RACI stand for in a RACI chart?

To determine the RACI meaning, you need to understand what the acronym stands for:

Responsible - Who is responsible for a task or decision
Accountable - Who is accountable for the overall project
Consulted - Who must be consulted for their input on tasks or the overall project
Informed - Who should be informed of the ongoing status of the project

With a RACI chart, you can define all the roles and related responsibilities pertaining to a project. It’s a common tool for project managers who want to start off on the right foot with each project and ensure there’s little to no space for confusion from the outset.

What is a RACI chart used for?

A RACI chart is used to determine every detail of a project before it’s underway, but it also helps keep communication lines open during the work process. 

Here are the top three reasons to use a RACI chart:

1. Clearly defining roles and expectations 

At the start of any new project, there’ll undoubtedly be a lot of moving pieces and information up in the air. 

Common questions you might ask yourself could include:

  • Who will be in charge of executing each task in the action plan?
  • How much work should each team member get done in a day?
  • What will the deadline be, and are there milestones to reach along the way?

A RACI chart will help clear up all these questions and more in an easy-to-digest way. The chart makes the project management process easier by promoting full transparency from day one.

Let’s say the project in question is writing a white paper to outline your product’s features and how it can be used to solve a particular problem your customers may have.

With a RACI chart, you can plot out the whole process, from outlining to publishing the white paper. 

Here’s what that might broadly look like:

R - The writer is responsible for writing the white paper

A - The editor is accountable for making sure the white paper is fact-checked, error-free, and ready to publish

C - The SEO specialist or agency is consulted to target particular keywords and boost the search engine ranking as much as possible

I - The CMO is informed as to the status of the white paper and when it’s ready for publishing

The main benefit of defining roles and responsibilities in this way is that you have an efficient system for working whereby each party knows exactly what they should be doing at all times. 

In addition, any stakeholders with a vested interest in the project can be kept in the loop and add their input. Without a system for regularly informing stakeholders of the project status and inviting input, you could end up in a recurring situation where you finish the project only to find that your stakeholders have ideas for how it could be better.

As such, the RACI chart is as important for team members and those directly involved with the project as it is for external stakeholders.

2. Streamlining communication

To achieve some level of harmony with your projects, you have to set up effective communication lines between team members.

There’s nothing worse than lengthy email threads where you lose sight of what the original message was or struggle to find vital project information. Likewise, sending instant messages can be equally ineffective since you can end up with a series of back-and-forth messages with each member of the team.

So what’s the solution to haphazard communication?

If you turn to the RACI chart as you plan out project details, you can benefit from streamlined approval systems, organized and context-specific communication, and a clear understanding of who to contact in every situation.

If you use a RACI chart in tandem with a project management tool such as Wrike, you can set up custom approval requests to make sure relevant parties are notified upon taking certain actions. You can also tag other team members with comments and update the project status.

3. Distributing workloads evenly

In addition to setting up the conditions for project success, RACI charts can also help leadership reduce the risk of individual employee burnout

Seeing every team member’s responsibilities in a RACI chart can provide workload information at a glance. It can show just how much work each team member has on their plate, which makes it easier to balance the workload. That way, you won’t end up in a situation where silos develop and a few individuals bear the burden of most of the work.

In light of the recent quiet quitting movement, a form of labor protest where employees ‘work their worth,’ it’s important to make sure each individual has a manageable workload. If stress levels soar due to rising workloads, the risk of disengagement increases, which can lead to burnout.

How to make a RACI chart

At this point, you now know why you might need a RACI chart, so you’re probably wondering how to make your own.

It’s a relatively straightforward process to create a RACI chart, and you can do so with the following five steps:

1. Identify all project roles

The first step is to compile a list of everyone involved in the project.

This can include:

  • Team members
  • Managers
  • Department heads
  • Stakeholders

When you come up with this list, think about every stage of the project so that you don’t leave any roles out. It isn’t limited to internal team members, either, so if you plan on working with subcontractors, it’s worth including them for full transparency.

When it comes to project roles, there are various ways of labeling them depending on what the specific project requires. 

For example, you may have ‘project manager’ listed as a role, which suggests that whoever holds that position will execute the project manager’s responsibilities. Alternatively, you could make a list of the names of the people involved in the project if their responsibilities are more nuanced.

When you use individuals’ names instead of job titles, you can help them feel a greater sense of ownership of their work. It also makes it easier for every team member to instantly identify their roles whenever they glance at the RACI chart.

Once you have all the roles, you’ll plot each one out along the horizontal axis of your RACI chart.

2. Identify all project tasks

Now that you have all the roles (or the individuals responsible for various tasks) it’s time to list the tasks themselves.

Tasks can be broken down into any of the following:

  • Activities
  • Deliverables
  • Milestones
  • Important decisions

All tasks you identify will go down the vertical axis of your RACI chart so that you can easily connect them to the various roles you’ve laid out. 

It can be tempting to create a lengthy list covering every single task imaginable, but sometimes, less is more with a RACI chart. Try to think of the broad strategic objectives and milestones so as not to get too bogged down in the minutiae, which can make your chart hard to digest quickly.

Again, it’s important to be as thorough as possible, so nothing falls through the cracks.

3. Create a chart with a column for each role and a row for each task

Now, put the structure of your chart together using the vertical and horizontal axes to visualize all roles, responsibilities, and tasks.

The easiest way to plot out your RACI chart is to use a simple spreadsheet since it will provide you with all the rows and columns you could ever need. Remember, it’s roles in rows and tasks in columns.

Once it’s all set up, you can edit it to fit your expectations. For example, you might like to color-code roles and responsibilities, add in additional information, or leave a space at the bottom for relevant notes and comments.

4. Assign RACI to each role and task

When the RACI chart looks exactly how you want it, the next step is to assign the RACI to each role and task.

That means identifying who is:

  • Responsible 
  • Accountable
  • To be consulted
  • To be informed

For every:

In practical terms, this means adding the letters ‘R,’ ‘A,’ ‘C,’ and ‘I,’ into your chart where it makes sense to do so. 

For example, if your head of marketing has to be informed when you publish a blog post, find the head of marketing’s name on the top row and the task ‘publish blog post’ on the left-hand column, then add the letter ‘I’ in the corresponding box between them.

Bear in mind that not every task will require every letter. For instance, some may only require you to specify who’s responsible and accountable.

Typically, you should only have one person accountable for each task, and if others are involved, then they should be consulted or informed.

5. Review with your team and all involved stakeholders

Finally, check in with your team and any involved stakeholders to go over your RACI chart. Review all the roles and tasks and make sure everything is on the same page.

This is a great opportunity to call a meeting and make sure you haven’t accidentally missed anything — or anyone. Ask your team and each member individually if they’re satisfied that the information is correct and they know exactly what is expected of them.

As for any external stakeholders, meet with them and see if they have any input on how you’ve planned the project before you get underway. It’s best to get any feedback they have on board before you start the work since you can implement any suggestions they have without disrupting anything.

Make a point to set up a cadence for checking in with the RACI chart. It could be that you ask each team member to review the chart at least once a week if it’s a major project that will take several months.

The last thing to do will be to share access to the RACI chart so that everyone can view it. If you all work in the same office, you could even print out a copy and put it up on the wall for quick referencing.

RACI chart example

If you’re still a little unclear on what a RACI chart should look like when completed, here’s a visual to illustrate the concept:

You’ll notice that this RACI chart example is color-coded, which makes it easy for everyone involved in the project to see what’s expected of them. Color-coding also helps project managers visualize workload balance, so they can see if any team member has too much — or too little — on their plate.

RACI charts are just one example of a tool project managers and PMOs can use to streamline work operations and project planning. If you’re curious about what other tools are out there for simplifying task management and execution, start your two-week free trial of Wrike’s project management solution today!

RACI chart alternatives

Not every team or project type is well-suited to the RACI chart, and as such, it’s a good idea to have a few alternatives at the ready.

Here are three RACI chart alternatives that serve a similar purpose but suit different needs:


The CARS model stands for:

Communicate - Anyone who should be consulted or informed
Approve - Anyone who approves requests and makes key decisions 
Responsible - Anyone who carries out the work
Support - Anyone who supports the responsible individual in completing the tasks

The CARS model is different from the RACI chart in that it breaks everything down further, making it easier to differentiate and identify the nuance in various roles and responsibilities. The inclusion of the ‘support’ category allows you to identify mentor-type roles or highlight small teams or individuals that will work closely together. 

With CARS, you could also argue that you forego any redundancy that the RACI chart model potentially creates. For example, it wraps the ‘consulted’ and ‘informed’ categories into one, assuming they convey a similar meaning.

Best for: Highlighting close working relationships where one party supports another

DACI chart

The DACI chart stands for:

Driver - Anyone who does the work
Approver - Anyone who approves requests
Contributor - Anyone who contributes to or is consulted on a task
Informed - Anyone who should be informed about the project’s ongoing status

If you’re looking for a more action-based model that outlines the main drivers of progress and the decision-makers in the form of approvers, then the DACI chart might be a better fit than the RACI model.

Best for: Projects where someone will take the lead and guide the action forward, deliberately supported by approvers and contributors

RASCI matrix

The RASCI matrix stands for:

Responsible - Anyone responsible for completing tasks
Accountable - Anyone who is accountable for the project
Supportive - Anyone who can lend a hand to the responsible team members
Consulted - Anyone who should be consulted
Informed - Anyone who should be informed about project progress

Similar to the CARS model, the RASCI model takes a similar approach to RACI but adds space for supportive roles. For some projects, it’s important that someone is waiting in the wings, ready to jump in and support a responsible team member when they’re required. 

The supportive role could be anything from a proofreader or editor who can co-author an article alongside the responsible writer to an external agency that will provide resources or materials to assist the responsible team member.

This model accommodates that supportive role, thus going a step further than the standard  RACI chart.

Best for: Standard projects that involve additional internal or external support

How can Wrike help you with your team responsibility charts?

Creating a RACI chart or one of the several alternatives is one thing, but putting all the moving pieces together and setting up a reliable system for ongoing project success is another.

If you want to take your company-wide project planning and execution to the next level, it’s worth seeking out support in the form of a powerful project management solution. 

Introducing Wrike: a versatile and robust project management tool that can help you find clarity in your projects and ensure every team member is on the same page at all times.

So how exactly can you use Wrike’s features to implement and get the most out of RACI charts in your projects?

Assign and delegate roles

With a RACI chart in a spreadsheet or a sheet of grid paper, you have a snapshot of everyone involved in the project, their roles, and the tasks they’re responsible for.

What you don’t get is a system of assigning tasks that you can pull up along with notes and comments whenever you need, notifications that let you know when deadlines are approaching, and communication tools that allow team members to support each other and solicit information.

Wrike provides all of these features and much more.

From the moment you set up your RACI chart, you can assign the roles and responsibilities in Wrike and delegate tasks so that each team member knows what they should be working on at every moment.

Sync RACI with task management

Once your project is underway, project management can give way to task management. The process of managing individual tasks can be incredibly challenging if you don’t have a system in place to support you.

With Wrike, you can set up individual tasks that correspond with the activities your team identified when you made your RACI chart.

Wrike’s task management features break down your project into digestible tasks and notify you as they move through the custom statuses you assign. This also makes Wrike an excellent option for the RACI alternatives that include an approver role since they’ll have a straightforward way of approving and moving tasks along.

Plus, with Wrike’s 360-degree visibility, your project will be completely transparent, meaning external stakeholders can stay up to date.

Use the RACI model template

Finally, Wrike makes it effortless to set up a RACI chart, even if you have no experience with them.

The Wrike RACI model template allows you to kick-start your project the right way and prepare accordingly. 

Here’s what you can do with the Wrike RACI model template:

Identify roles and relationships

The Wrike RACI model template allows you to clearly outline all roles and responsibilities so that you can meet your project and timeline expectations every time. 

To further clarify the project details, you can use the template to:

  • Set up dashboards to promote full project visibility from the outset
  • View reports to summarize tasks and their statuses 
  • Speed up the approval process with built-in automations

Ensure even workload distribution

One of the most significant challenges with any major project is ensuring an even workload across the board. The last thing you want is to pile undue pressure on a few individuals as they pick up the slack of others.

With the Wrike RACI model template, you can quickly and easily determine whether any team member has more than their fair share of work to complete and address the inequality accordingly.

Communicate and collaborate effectively

Finally, you can use Wrike’s RACI model template to streamline communication, as every project detail is clearly visualized for all team members. This helps create a coherent structure for each project you take on — one in which everyone understands the part they play.

Want to get started? Try a free two-week trial today.

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