Fixing organization confusion

by Barry on October 7, 2010

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In your organization, is there confusion over what does a project manager does versus an account executive, or who develops the creative brief? How do new hires quickly come up-to-speed learning what they are responsible for? As you plan that next reorg, how are you going to reallocate work so that you are certain that everything is covered?

Having a clear definition of everyone’s roles and responsibilities is crucial for an organization. Sure, you can get along without one, but then you probably don’t even realize that your organization probably wastes a lot of time constantly battling over who does what, or ever worse, not giving your people the authority that they need to do their jobs, which leads to an inefficient organization and higher employee-turnover.

The RACI matrix is a useful tool that defines roles and responsibilities in an organization. It clarifies the role of each functional group or department in terms of their involvement while completing a task. RACI stands for Responsibility, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed. Below is a snapshot from a RACI matrix.

Using a RACI matrix is simple. The top row contains the functional groups. The left column contains the tasks. For each box in the matrix, the box is either left blank, or it contains a R, A, C, I (or a combination) where:

  • R = Responsible: the person or group who does the actual work (there can be multiple people/groups responsible)
  • A = Accountable: the person or group who is ultimately accountable (there should only be one person/group responsible for each task)
  • C = Consulted: the person or group that is consulted as the activity is being completed. Think of them as contributors to the task (there can be multiple people/groups consulted)
  • I = Informed: the person or group that is informed of the activity. Typically they only need to receive notification that the task was completed or a copy of the final deliverable (there can be multiple people/groups informed)
  • Blank: the person or group does not participate in this task

Here is a sample RACI diagram that outlines the responsibilities of the major departments in a typical interactive agency. Use this as a starting point and customize it for your organization by collaborating with the department heads. To do so, first identify and update the departments (the top row). Then modify the list of tasks (column B) that maps to your process for getting things done. In this sample document, the tasks are organized by major phase (column A) so you should update this as you see fit. Then update each row. Every task should have only one group who is Accountable, and one or more groups who are Responsible. This can be the same or a different group. There can be any number of groups who are Consulted or Informed.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

swati sinha April 30, 2019 at 2:06 am

Very descriptive explanation of the RACI. Thanks for sharing


Jeremias Stelter August 10, 2011 at 12:47 am


As always, I love your work. It seems like in a diagram like this….accountability has a definite purpose…but what then? If there is a monkey wrench in the system…by either a person or does the model modulate or morph while keeping momentum?


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