RACI: Responsible vs Accountable for PMP Exam

RACI: Responsible vs Accountable for PMP Exam

RACI is a popular type of RAM (Responsibility Assignment Matrix) for the project human resource management to ensure each project activities are held responsible and accountable by individuals of the project team. However, “responsible” and “accountable” of the RACI chart are often mixed up by Aspirants.

This article will try to distinguish between “responsible” and “accountable” according to the PMBOK® Guide.

Article Highlights

Responsible and Accountable

In the RACI Chart, project individuals / stakeholders are defined as responsible, accountable, consult and inform statuses for different project activities in order to show their involvement and responsibility clearly. Among these four status,  “responsible” and “accountable” are often not correctly understood as these two statuses sometimes assigned to the same individual for smaller activities.

  • Responsible: Responsible means the person(s) assigned is/are the ones to carry out and finish the task
    • There can be more than one people responsible for an activity/task
    • Responsible individuals can be thought of as the workers for an activity/task
  • Accountable: Accountable means the person assigned is
    • Accountability CANNOT be shared, meaning that there is only ONE individual accountable for an activity/task
    • The accountable person is tasked with the management responsibility (i.e. manager) of the activity, including progress tracking, issue escalation (if needed) and deliverable assessment and signing off, they are ultimately answerable for the results and actions taken
    • An individual can both be responsible and accountable for an activity/task

Illustrated Example

For each tasks included in the PMP exam preparation, the Aspirant is always accountable and responsible:

  • “Responsible” means that the Aspirant is the one to do all the studies, attempt mock exams and the real exam
  • “Accountable” means that the Aspirant is the one held answerable for their choice of online exam prep course, exam simulator, whether or not to read the PMBOK® Guide in full, decide when to take the exam, etc.

This Responsible/Accountable burden makes the exam prep a stressed and difficult task (as I have undergone the whole process myself without much assistances from others). That’s why I set up this exam prep website to help fellow Aspirants to get the much needed information on how to choose online training courses, how to pass the audit, how to find quality (and sometimes free) exam prep resources, etc. with a view to allow them to make informed choices as the accountable person. And I have uploaded my own study notes to ease the life of those who are responsible for doing the exam prep.


It is actually not difficult to distinguish between Responsible and Accountable:

  • There is only ONE accountable
  • Accountable is ultimately answerable for the decision and deliverable (often after finishing the task)
recommended PMP resourcesAdditional FREE PMP resources: 47+ Commonly Confused Term Pairs with detailed explanations. If you found this article useful, you may wish to reference other Commonly Confused Term articles.

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Edward Chung

Edward Chung aspires to become a full-stack web developer and project manager. In the quest to become a more competent professional, Edward studied for and passed the PMP Certification, ITIL v3 Foundation Certification, PMI-ACP Certification and Zend PHP Certification. Edward shares his certification experience and resources here in the hope of helping others who are pursuing these certification exams to achieve exam success.

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