Stop using RACI

Unlocking creativity and meaning in the workplace

Benoit Lamouche
4 min readMay 4, 2024

You are all familiar with RACIs, you probably use them at work, they are extremely widespread, especially in complex projects and organizations. The goal is to explain who decides, who gives their opinion, and who is informed for a set of actions.

Here is the definition given by ChatGPT:

A RACI chart is a matrix that outlines the roles and responsibilities of team members in a project, ensuring clarity and efficient collaboration. It stands for four key roles: Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed, each defining a specific level of involvement and decision-making authority in the project.

Despite their widespread use, I am personally not a supporter of RACIs, and it even seems to me that in some cases they can degrade certain important indicators of corporate life. You must stop making & using RACIs right away!

RACIs do not allow understanding the meaning of work and mission.

I’ll start with what seems to me the most important, the meaning of work.

Simon Sinek explains it very well in his book ‘Start with Why,’ the most important thing to do one’s job well is to understand its deep meaning.

There is a big difference between saying ‘turn the bolt 10 times’ and ‘The tightness of this bolt affects the rigidity of the structure and the safety of the passenger.’

In the first example, we say what needs to be done, in the second we explain the meaning of the work, the WHY. Which option do you think will both achieve the best final quality but especially better engagement from the person tightening the bolt? It’s obviously option 2.

The meaning of work is the number one criterion for engagement, and thus for the quality/performance mix.

How to replace RACIs and do better? Simply with a Job Description or a mission letter. It seems essential to me to focus on the expectations of the position and how performance is evaluated. For the rest, I am in favor of the HOW being defined by the person who has to do the task.

RACIs are incomplete and therefore imperfect

By design, a RACI will always be incomplete. How can we claim that we are capable of listing all the tasks necessary for a job?

In real life, this seems illusory because ‘special’ cases are not so exceptional.

What about the update of the RACI that is necessary for each organizational change?

The RACI is a bit like this huge documentation that we spend months preparing and that becomes obsolete from day 1 of its implementation, because things change too quickly, and the time we spend updating these documents is almost null.

In a society where we praise agility and continuous improvement, this would require almost daily review of the RACI.

RACIs hinder creativity and constrain individuals

RACIs break down tasks into small tasks and sub-tasks that are then put into boxes.

The perverse effect of this tool is to limit a job to a list of tasks that would be necessary to ultimately perform this work.

Beyond the fact that RACIs are incomplete, they are also a form of barrier to creativity, by locking individuals into boxes.

For someone like me who believes more than anything in human intelligence, and in its ability to solve complex problems, it seems absolutely risky to want to put all these actions in boxes.

Let’s give space to initiative, creativity, intelligence, it will bring more happiness and value to our teams.

RACIs do not allow solving organizational problems

Some may see RACIs as a tool for solving organizational problems.

I think that’s false and they are mistaken.

RACIs are neither a communication tool, nor an emotional intelligence tool, nor an organigram of roles and responsibilities. In this sense, they have no impact on organizational problems.

You have an organizational problem? Don’t put a RACI in place, rather do a work of analysis and understanding of the ‘root cause’ (a RCA as they say in the IT incident domain). In general (and this is generally true in all areas of life) only the identification and treatment of the root cause can correct organizational problems.