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The RACI Matrix and Knowledge Management

01 Target Audience

(01.1) This article is intended for those responsible for ensuring the effectiveness of knowledge structures within the workplace, and those with a general interest in the topic.

02 Executive Summary

(02.1) A RACI Analysis is a technique for systematically identifying functional areas, activities, decision authorities, responsibilities, and relationships.


(02.2) The completion of a RACI Analysis improves the business’ capacity, organisation, planning, productivity, and training.

03 Structure of this Article

  • 04 Terminology
  • 05 Introduction
  • 06 Why Conduct a RACI Analysis?
  • 07 Key Considerations for Conducting a RACI Analysis
  • 08 The Six Steps in a RACI Analysis
  • 09 Activity / Decision Guidelines
  • 10 Example of a RACI Chart
  • 11 Vertical and Horizontal Analysis of a RACI Chart
  • 12 Review and Investment
  • 13 Benefits of Conducting a RACI Analysis

04 Terminology

(04.1) All specialist terms are explained in the body of the text.

05 Introduction

Image of a DNA helix.


(05.1) In my blog entitled Knowledge Management - The Risk to Learning Presented by Data Silos. Why Data Silos must be replaced by a single set of data structures, able to communicate with each other, I made reference to the ‘RACI Matrix’. As this type of undertaking is fundamental to the creation of effective knowledge structures, I thought it appropriate to expand on the subject.


(05.2) The mnemonic represents:

  • Responsible (Role(s) doing the activity – Determined by Authority);
  • Accountable (Role with yes/no/veto authority);
  • Consult (Role involved prior to a final decision/action – 2-way communication);
  • Inform (Role needing to know of the decision/action – 1-way communication).
(05.3) The technique identifies functional areas, activities, and decision authorities, to facilitate the systematic description of activities and decisions to be undertaken, together with responsibilities, and the inter-relationships of the same.

06 Why Conduct a RACI Analysis?

(06.1) A RACI analysis:
  • Describes the status of roles in a consistent manner;
  • Identifies accountabilities;
  • Identifies clear channels of communication;
  • Reduces duplication of effort.
(06.2) Specifically, in this context, a RACI analysis provides the foundation for the knowledge management structure, i.e. a RACI matrix for each role, to inform the Organisation Structure upon which the Knowledge Structure is founded.

07 Key Considerations for Conducting a RACI Analysis

(07.1) You must ensure:
  • Responsibility and Accountability are placed at the level closest to the action and/or knowledge;
  • Consults and Informs are kept to a minimum;
  • Only one Accountability per activity, and Accountability must be accompanied by authority;
  • All roles and responsibilities are included, and made public.
(07.2) Remember, when defining roles and responsibilities, remove those who check what the checkers do, ensure a ‘whole organisation’ involvement, and do not try to be 100% accurate in the beginning. With the correct systems in place, errors will be quickly identified and corrected.

08 The Six Steps in a RACI Analysis

  1. Conduct meetings, with key management, to introduce the purpose and requirements of the RACI analysis;
  2. The organisation is involved in developing decision and function lists, which are collated into a master document;
  3. The organisation is involved in Responsibility Workshops to agree function definitions, and codes describing roles contributing to a function, i.e., a Responsibility Chart;
  4. Responsibility charts are distributed to all participants and contributing organisations;
  5. Meetings are held with all individuals involved to communicate the new role definitions;
  6. Follow-up meetings conducted to ensure the new roles are being honoured, and to correct any anomalies.

09 Activity / Decision Guidelines

(09.1) Avoid non-specific activities, such as ‘attend meetings’.


(09.2) When developing a list of Activities and Decisions, begin with a verb.


(09.3) Where an action infers a decision or a judgement, ensure the primary outcome is identified, for example:

  • Monitor Internet use to identify conformance with organisation policy;
  • Analyse data structure development to identify duplication.
(09.4) Keep descriptions brief, and ensure they apply to a role or action, not an individual.

10 Example of a RACI Chart (Figure 1)

Table of recorded RACI to function relationships. Figure 1: An example of a RACI Chart.


(10.2) Note: The ‘Decisions / Activities’ in Figure 1 represent sequential steps in the completion of a process. Also, The ‘Functional Roles’ give positions assigned to enable the completion of the ‘Decisions / Activities’.


(10.3) Note: There are hyphens, instead of empty spaces, in the chart. This is to explicitly convey an active omission of any code, to prevent the possibility of an 'overlooked' element in the analysis.


(10.4) Having completed the RACI Chart, a Vertical and Horizontal Analysis is undertaken.

11 Vertical and Horizontal Analysis of a RACI Chart

(11.1) The process involved in both analyses is very similar, and involves the frequency of Rs, As, Cs, and Is in the chart, as a whole, and with regard to Functional Roles, and Decisions / Activities.


(11.2) Vertical Analysis – Functional Roles (Figure 2)


If You Find: Ask The Following...
Many Rs: Can the Functional Role cope with such a workload?
Consider dividing the Decision / Activity between other Functional Roles.
Many As: Are duties sufficiently differentiated?
Consider other Functional Roles being accountable.
Does this describe a bottle-neck where everyone is waiting for one Functional Role to act?
No Rs or As: Should this Functional Role be abolished?
Consider re-distributing this resource.
No Empty Spaces: Does this Functional Role need to be involved at every stage?
Consider reducing Cs or Is, or could the Decision / Action be discretionary?
Qualifications: Does the participation reflect the qualifications for the Functional Role?


Figure 2: Vertical Analysis of a RACI Chart.


(11.3) Horizontal Analysis – Decisions / Activities (Figure 3)


If You Find: Ask The Following...
No Rs: Is the Decision / Activity being made / done?.
Many Rs: Is this an indication the Decision / Activity is simply being passed to the next Functional Role?
No As: Accountability must be established at the appropriate level.
Many As: Is this resulting in a Ping-Pong effect?
Are Functional Roles disagreeing on how this should be done, and getting nowhere?
Too few Rs and no As: Is there an ad-hoc approach to this Decision / Activity?
Is the procedure out-dated, or in need of re-defining?
Many Cs: Does every Functional Role need to be consulted?
Many Is: Does every Functional Role need to be informed?
No empty spaces: Why are there no empty spaces?
There are probably too many Cs or Is.


Figure 3: Horizontal Analysis of a RACI Chart.


12 Review and Investment

(12.1) Each RACI Chart must be shown to representative Functional Roles, covered by the chart, and evaluated. Any corrections must be reflected in the chart. This will ensure investment, by Functional Roles, in the final form of the RACI Chart.


(12.2) It may be possible to validate the RACI Chart against other outputs from the organisation.

13 Benefits of Conducting a RACI Analysis

(13.1) Within the company, there will be improved:
  • Capacity: Removing duplication and redundancy;
  • Organisation Structure: Implicit in a RACI Analysis;
  • Planning: Through greater participation encouraged by improved lines of communication;
  • Productivity: Resulting from clearly defined and published roles;
  • Training: People involved in workshops and development process.

Use of this Article

Any part, or all, of this article may be linked-to or copied for non-commercial purposes. Any linked or copied content to include the following...


The RACI Matrix and Knowledge Management by Tim Cliffe © 1997-2020.


Where use will be for commercial purposes, seek authorisation, including details of proposed use, via the Contact page.


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