RACI vs RAM for PMP Exam


RACI vs RAM for PMP Exam

Aspirants will read about RACI and RAM during the Plan Human Resource Management process. Both RACI and RAM are tools used to ensure each project activities are held responsible by individuals of the project team so that nothing will be left un-attended.

This article will try to distinguish between RACI and RAM according to the PMBOK® Guide.

RACI and RAM

  • RACI: RACI is a popular type of RAM (Responsibility Assignment Matrix) that defines project individuals / stakeholders as responsible, accountable, consult and inform statuses for different project activities.
    • Explanation on responsible, accountable, consult and inform statuses:
      • Responsible — those who actually carry out the work to achieve the task objectives.
      • Accountable — the one individual who is ultimately accountable for the success (or failure) of a task and will approve the work created by those Responsible. There is ONE and ONLY ONE Accountable for a specific task / deliverable.
      • Consulted — those who would have opinions that need to be sought / weighted in for the task / deliverable and be kept updated of the progress (two-way communication).
      • Informed — those who would need to be updated on the task progress (one-way communication).
    • In the project, a role may be performed by many individuals while a person can perform many roles. However, for each task / activity, it is advisable to have a person assigned to one role only (though if there is none accountable, the one responsible will also be the de facto responsible person for the task).
  • RAM: RAM stands for Responsibility Assignment Matrix, it is a grid-like responsibility assignment chart that shows assignment of project resources to individual work package.
    • RAM clarifies the roles and responsibilities of project resources in projects and processes.
    • RAMs can have different levels (in particular for larger and more complex projects), the higher levels for programs / project phases while the lower levels for project activities.
    • RACI Matrix and Linear Responsibility Chart (LRC) are two popular examples. The PMBOK® Guide describes RACI in more details as a type of RAM.
    • Project managers are advised to involve team members when creating the RAM / RACI Chart.

Illustrated Example

Let’s take the publication of an Exam Prep book as an example. Since RACI Matrix is one of the more popular of Responsibility Assignment Matrix that can clearly describes how the project resources assigned to each work package, the Project Manager selects RACI Matrix as the format for RAM. Below is the high-level RACI for the book project (R – responsible, A – accountable, C – consult and I – inform) :

AuthorEditorMarketerDesigner and PrinterDistributor
Writing and editing R A I I
Designing and typesetting C A C R
Printing and delivering I I C R I
Marketing and sales C C A R
Updating and revising R A C R I

Within each project phases, there can be lower-level, more detailed RACI Matrices for the various work packages and tasks defined by decomposition to better illustrate the roles and responsibilities of different project resources.

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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  1. Michael Maas says:

    Hi Edward

    I’ve been using your website in preparation for my PMP exam. I just wanted to thank you for the valuable links and resources – this has been a great help in getting me prepared for the exam. Keep up the good work!