Top 4 RACI chart templates that are free to download

All projects should start with a RACI plan so that every team member knows their responsibilities. We’ve pulled together the top free RACI templates to get you started.

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The most important ingredient in a successful project plan is good teamworking. Without it, tasks can go awry, pushing back deadlines and affecting client satisfaction.

As more business owners catch on to this fact, RACI templates have seen a huge surge in interest. The concept is simple: project members are organised by their relationship to a task (whether they are Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, or Informed).

Designed to keep everyone organised and on-track, they should be your first step if you’re working towards any form of delivery or strategy change.

Helpfully, most project management (PM) platforms now offer RACI templates to download instantly, saving you lots of time in building one. But which do we think is best?

Startups’ top recommended platform for building a RACI chart is monday.com, thanks to its modern template design and a high score of 3.8 out of 5 for collaboration.

However, our team of expert analysts have reviewed a total of 14 PM systems on the market. Based on our results, we’ve pulled together the below guide to show you how each option works, how much it costs, and exactly what benefit it will bring to your organisation.

Best RACI templates

Project management software exists to supercharge your team and realise your objectives. Below, we’ve gathered top RACI templates for SMEs from brands including monday.com, and Smartsheet.

As an extra perk, all of the below options are available completely free of charge, whether free forever or as part of a trial.

1. monday.com RACI template

Best for businesses working with multiple stakeholders for a modern, professional-looking template 

Available with: Free plan

monday.com RACI template

Probably one of the best-known traits of monday.com is its huge library of over 200 attractive templates. All of which are colour-coded with a catalogued, traffic light system.

Small business users working with clients or shareholders can be safe in the knowledge that monday.com designs the best, most professional-looking RACI template for external eyes.

Users can also comment on specific tasks to log issues and attach shared files, making collaboration painless both internally (for those who are Accountable and Responsible) and externally (for those who are Consulted and Informed).

monday does have a free plan for the RACI template. Irritatingly, however, you can only add guest users with the Standard plan (£10.50 per user). Wrike, in comparison, permits guest access for 15 users on its free plan.

monday.com pros and cons

Pros
  • Every feature is customisable so you can build a unique RACI chart that exactly reflects your project
  • ‘Whiteboard’ elements allows you to brainstorm ideas with stakeholders before coming to a decision
  • Easy to colour-code for understanding responsibilities at a glance
Cons
  • Guest access is only available with the monday Standard plan (£10.50 per user, per month) and up

2. Smartsheet RACI template

Best for speedy setup time for projects that take less than a month

Available with: Free trial

Smartsheet RACI template

RACI charts, while important, are a preliminary step and therefore shouldn’t take you weeks to design. That’s particularly true when you’re working to a tight deadline.

We rate the Smartsheet RACI template highly (4.3 out of 5) for project creation. That’s because it’s the simplest system for designing and customising your project charts.

When you open a project ‘sheet’ in smartsheets there's a column for assigning tasks to users; perfect for creating a RACI chart in record time.

The Smartsheet Business plan also permits a ‘Resource View’ so you can see the workload of each of your team members.

Accessing this view requires some menu diving. However, it’s a genuinely helpful feature that makes allocating responsibilities easier. You can see who might get overwhelmed during the course of a project and adjust accordingly.

Smartsheet also, unlike monday.com, provides an internal messaging board so you can communicate directly with team members.

Smartsheet pros and cons

Pros
  • Lowest priced-plan is just £6 per user, per month
  • Calendar view allows you to translate your RACI into a timeline
  • 20GB of storage on lowest paid-for tier so you can stockpile hundreds of documents
Cons
  • Live chat and phone support only available with premium plans
  • Lowest paid plan is restricted to 10 guest users

3. Wrike RACI template

Best for businesses with 15+ employees working on cross-functional projects

Available with: Free plan

Wrike RACI template

We recommend the Wrike RACI template for any project that needs completing in phases with multiple departments involved. That’s because its team communication tools came out on top in our latest research round.

Wrike has a feature called ‘Stream’ which provides a feed of all the project updates. That means if a new person takes over responsibility for a task, you can easily update the entire project team in just one message.

Similarly, Wrike boasts one of our favourite resource management features called a Workload Chart. This shows your team’s workload capacity and can be easily added to every user’s project view with the platform’s free plan.

Wrike is somewhat let down by its usability. Our user testing found its charts can be clunky and difficult to edit. We also only gave it 1.8 out of 5 for customer support as some features are hard to find without help – that’s a whole mark lower than our top-rated brand monday.com.

Wrike pros and cons

Pros
  • Guest access is available on free plan for external stakeholders to view
  • Unlimited users permitted on the Wrike free plan
  • Specialist plans for marketing teams or professional services are available
Cons
  • Columns can be difficult to customise, so it’s not ideal for displaying data to clients
  • Limited to 5 projects on the free plan

4. Miro RACI matrix

Best for project teams with less than 5 members that want flexible role responsibilities

Available with: Free plan

Miro RACI template

Miro is a productivity app that’s pretty unique to the market. Its blend of diagramming and flowchart software means you’re essentially presented with a virtual whiteboard where you can actually stick post-it-notes.

The Miro RACI template echoes this format, which makes it a good option for flexibility and roles you might want to change down the line.

Miro allows you to integrate the RACI chart with all of your future project templates so that roles can be clarified at every stage. Tag them with @mention or add a comment so they know roles have been assigned and they can give you feedback.

Obviously switching up your RACI chart mid-way through a project can be confusing so we wouldn’t recommend it for larger teams.

You can have up to 100 users simultaneously working on one Miro board but our testing found that teams of more than 5 will get complicated.

Miro pros and cons

Pros
  • Great for brainstorming sessions and visualising ideas
  • Connects with over 100 apps for a bespoke project planning solution
  • Consultant plan is available for client work (£10 per user, per month)
Cons
  • Mind maps get messy with over 5 users - you’ll need to allocate extra time to clean up your boards
  • Limited to three boards with the free plan

What does RACI stand for?

In a nutshell, a RACI stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed. These refer to the relationship of every member of the project team to each task, so you can keep everyone organised and know exactly what aspect of the project you’ll be responsible for.

Responsible means you are the owner of a task and it’s your job to carry out the work.

Accountable usually referring to managers or higher-ups, you delegate the work and are the last one to review it and confirm its completion.

Consulted means you will be asked to provide input or advice to help

Informed people should be kept in the loop about what’s going on at certain stages, rather than the whole project. Typically used to refer to stakeholders.

You might now be thinking: what makes this different to an action plan?

An RACI matrix does not influence the direction or outcome of a project. It is built before a project begins, when you just need to understand who does what, who oversees what, and who is the most suitable person to carry out each task.

The aim is specifically to prevent any kind of miscommunication within a team by making sure the job roles are clear and do not overlap.

What makes a good RACI chart?

Essential to designing a good RACI chart is the four column structure of ‘Responsible’, ‘Accountable’, ‘Consulted’ and ‘Informed’. This will make it really clear which team member falls under which label.

Speaking more generally, it’s best to design your RACI chart with clear visuals in mind. That’s because the easier your plan is to understand, the less issues your team will face with misunderstandings or miscommunication.

Certain providers perform better for this criteria than others. For example, monday.com is brilliant for colour-coding and helping you see at a glance where each colleague is up to.

Other helpful elements include progression bars or a notes column (both of which are provided by Smartsheet).

Why can’t I just use Excel?

Spreadsheet apps such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets are often used by businesses in place of project management software as they can work out cheaper overall.

Using Excel as a money-saving method is perfectly understandable. But you will be severely limited in how well you can plan your project. Here are the main reasons we don’t recommend Microsoft Excel for RACI planning.

Collaboration

The ability to share your RACI matrix, both internally and externally, should be a minimum requirement from your software. It’s likely you’ll be delegated jobs by a client (those who are Consulted) or sharing results to a stakeholder (those who are Informed).

It’s much simpler to add multiple team members to your PM account to view the plan.

Plus, all relevant information including documents, videos, and emails can be stored in the platform so – once your RACI matrix is designed – you can work on every aspect of a project from one easy location.

Knowledge gap

Excel and Google Sheets are not intuitively designed. Analysts often need to partake in specialist training programs to understand them – which your team won’t have time for.

Smartsheet came out top in this list for usability during our latest round of research, scoring 4.3 out of 5. It features a Gantt chart view where you can automatically view all your tasks without prior setup.

Aesthetics

Particularly if there are stakeholders involved (which there nearly always are in RACI planning) then PM software is much more attractive to look at than Excel.

Rather than sharing a clunky and confused page of cells, you can format your plan to ensure it looks professional and accessible for partners or clients to view.

Verdict

The above RACI templates have all been chosen from what we consider to be the top 4 project management platforms for team collaboration.

However, each of their feature sets will complement different business needs.

  • For agency or third-sector organisations, we recommend monday.com for its gorgeous template designs that you’ll be proud to showcase to external stakeholders.
  • For sprint-based projects that will take less than one month we recommend Smartsheet due to its quick setup time and excellent resource management features.
  • For businesses with 20+ employees, we recommend Wrike. Its communication tools make working with other departments (like HR or accounting) more efficient.
  • For teams with fewer than 5 members, Miro’s flexible RACI template is the best option if you want the ability to edit job roles further down the line.
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Helena Young
Helena Young Senior Writer

Helena "Len" Young is from Yorkshire and joined Startups in 2021 from a background in B2B communications. She has also previously written for a popular fintech startup.

Included in her topics of interest and expertise are tax legislation, the levelling up agenda, and organisational software including CRM and project management systems. As well as this, she is a big fan of the films of Peter Jackson.

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