How to Create a RACI Matrix for Supply Chain Management

By Daniel Stanton

When there are lots of people working on a project, they often have different opinions about their roles and responsibilities. You need to establish a clear understanding of what everyone is doing to make sure that all of the tasks are completed. It is much easier to set expectations up front than to confront misunderstandings later on.

For any task in a project, there are really only five different roles that a team member can have:

  • No role: The team member has no connection to the task.
  • Inform: The team member needs to be notified that a task is occurring, or that it has been completed.
  • Consult: The team member should be asked to provide input for a task, but he isn’t the one doing the task, and he isn’t making decisions.
  • Responsible: The team member is responsible for helping to complete a task. If the task requires someone to do work or make a decision, then that person is responsible for working on that task until it is complete.
  • Accountable: The team member is the one, and the only, person who is ultimately accountable for getting the task done. The accountable owner may need to make the decisions and do the work. Or she may need to prod and poke her team members to do the work. When it comes time to ask the question, “Is this task complete?” the accountable owner is the person whose career and credibility are on the line.

Assigning people to these five different roles makes it easier to communicate what each team member has to do for your project to be successful. You can document the roles with a RACI Matrix (pronounced like race see and short for Responsible – Accountable – Consult – Inform).

Using a RACI matrix like the one in Figure 4-5, you list all the tasks in your project and define the role for each of your team members in supporting each task. If there is a disagreement about someone’s role on a task then you have a chance to resolve it on paper before it creates a problem for your project. Reading it horizontally, a RACI matrix makes it very easy for the project manager to know who needs to be involved in order for each task to get done. Reading it vertically, you can easily see what each person’s role is, and exactly which tasks they are involved in.

supply-chain-raci
Sample RACI matrix.

It can sometimes be hard to convince team members that only one person should be accountable for every task. However, when more than one person is accountable it is more difficult to manage the project. If two people insist that they are both accountable for a task, consider breaking that task into two smaller tasks and making each person accountable for one of these two tasks.