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RACI Roles and Responsibilities: Think Accountability

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RACI is a powerful tool for companies that want to build a culture of high accountability.  Why is this valuable?  Because organizations with low accountability cultures waste people’s time and frustrate and discourage them.  High accountability cultures, on the other hand, can be a lot of fun to work in.  You may think that “high accountability” means someone standing over people with a stick, flogging them onward, but that’s not the case.  High accountability cultures are fun, because you know what you have to do and you have the authority to do it, and so does everybody else.

For a basic definition of the RACI codes, click here to receive the Whitepaper.  But if you already know the basics, let’s go a little deeper here and take a look at each RACI role and the type of accountability it carries.


People who take the “R” for something are responsible for getting the work done.  If nothing happens, they’re accountable for a FAILURE OF ACTION.  If you are lying awake at night, worrying about how you are going to get everything done, you are a worrying “R.”


The PMI defines “A” as “Accountable” and people who have the “A” role are in a position of (near) ultimate authority.  They are accountable for the quality of the work or the quality of the decisions that get made. 

Note that we define the "A" differently than the Project Management Institute, who defines the "A" as Accountable. At RACI Solutions, we believe that all the roles have accountability built into them, and so we define the "A" as Authorize. In our system, the person with the "A" role has the authority to make decisions or exercise a veto. Anyone who can stop a project from moving forward is the "A." 

If you have an "A," you are worrying about FAILURES OF JUDGEMENT. If you are lying awake at night worrying about whether or not you  made the right choice, hired the right person, or delegated a task to the right resource, chance are you have the "A."



It may seem like this is a weaker role, because these people just get involved to offer advice.  But this role carries a lot of accountability, too.  If you have a “C” role, you are accountable for the quality of the advice you give.  You may also need to represent a whole team or department or group, rather than just giving your individual opinion.  If that’s the case, you have a responsibility to make sure you represent your group faithfully – no surprises.  If you have a “C,” you are held accountable for FAILURES OF EXPERTISE.  If you are lying awake at night worrying if you gave someone the right counsel, you have the “C.” 


This role is the least participative, because “Is get informed after the fact.  But even “Is are accountable because they need to actively absorb the information that’s coming at them.  If an email blast goes out or something is communicated at a staff meeting, it’s not appropriate for an “I to say “Nobody told me about that.”  Chances are, “Is are not lying awake at night worrying about much of anything on this particular topic, true.  But they share some accountability for FAILURES OF COMMUNICATION. 

Good luck and after all this discussion of sleepless nights, I hope you are clear that one of the most important things you are accountable for is taking care of yourself!

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About RACI Solutions

RACI Solutions has been helping organizations across the globe utilize the power of RACI to transform the dynamic of cross-functional teams since 2007. Whether you are new to RACI or have used it for years, we can help.

Today’s business environment is complex – you may be contending with matrix structures, rapid growth, mergers, multiple locations, virtual employees, and/or digital transformation. 

As a result, project teams can get stuck. Let us help you! If you need to learn RACI, we offer train-the-trainer materials and custom workshops. We can help you create RACI super-users. If you already use RACI or another decision matrix, we offer programs that help you become skilled at working across functions – an effective horizontal leader. We help project teams tune up their performance. We help organizations streamline their decision-making. 

Our team is comprised of expert consultants, trainers, and facilitators, who can help your teams and their leaders achieve a seamless level of collaboration.

Topics: RACI, Accountability, RACI Roles and Responsibilities

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