What is a RAID analysis?
RAID analysis is a project planning technique for identifying key project Risks (R), Assumptions (A), Issues (I), and Dependencies (D). Project teams should complete an initial analysis at the beginning of the project and then monitor the issues via a RAID Log.
RAID analysis focuses on four key areas:
- Risks – events that can have an adverse impact if they occur.
- Assumptions – things you assume are in place which contribute to the success of the project.
- Issues – current matters that need to be considered and addressed by the group.
- Dependencies – other projects or triggers that your project depends on, or are a beneficiary of your project outcomes.
Why do a RAID analysis?
A RAID analysis is a best practice for effective project management and is one of the easiest and most practical tools you can apply. Use it to:
- Perform a broad environmental scan during the initial planning phase
- Inform regular reviews and keep the project organized and on track
- Involve the whole team in identifying critical issues that may affect the project
- Collate all the relevant matters affecting the project in one place
- Proactively assess changing project conditions
- Focus project efforts and resources
- Assure stakeholders that the project is under control
- Engage with management when you need their input or support
Who can use RAID analysis?
RAID analysis is usually associated with project teams, especially in the IT industry. However, the technique is quite simple and versatile, and therefore useful for:
- All industries
- Existing and new businesses
- All levels of an organization
- Business processes
- Carefully select participants to provide expert knowledge but also a fresh perspective.
- Use technology to involve critical people in different locations rather than miss their contribution.
- Minimize Groupthink by brainstorming ideas individually then combining issues to get the overall picture.
- Be specific rather than broad when defining ideas.
- Use quantitative data where possible to focus on the crux of issue.
- Provide adequate time in the session to rank and prioritize ideas.
- Communicate outcomes to stakeholders and regularly update progress on actions.
RAID analysis template
A RAID analysis template is structured as a 2 x 2 matrix, resulting in four quadrants highlighting Risks, Assumptions, Issues, and Dependencies.
Risks are events that will adversely affect the project if they eventuate. Evaluate their importance based on the likelihood they’ll occur, along with the impact on the project if they do.
Ask: What events might occur that will have a negative impact?
Actions: Implement risk mitigation strategies based on the criticality of each risk.
See also: Risk Assessment
Assumptions are aspects of the project that you assume will be in place to help the project run but can’t be guaranteed. If they are proved wrong, there will be an impact on the project.
Ask: What exists, or do we presume to be true, that will help our project to succeed?
Actions: Reassess assumptions at regular intervals to ensure they are still valid.
Issues are events that have an adverse impact on the project. They are risks that have eventuated, and you must manage ASAP to keep the project on track.
Ask: What must we deal with to make the project run to plan?
Actions: Contain or remove the issue.
Dependencies are activities which need to start or be completed so the project can progress and succeed. Dependencies may rely on internal or external events, suppliers, or partners.
Ask: Who or what are we dependent on and who depends on us?
Actions: Monitor and manage dependencies.
How to run a RAID analysis session
Ensure the group participating in the RAID analysis represents all aspects of the project. Take advantage of new tools and technology to include critical members located off site. Online brainstorming and collaboration tools like GroupMap are perfect for bringing together dispersed teams and ensuring you capture everyone’s ideas.
The time to run a RAID analysis will vary depending on each project. However, there’s no reason why you can’t identify and prioritize issues and develop an initial action plan in 45 minutes.
Give context and identify the scope of the RAID Analysis.
Gather input and ideas for each of the four quadrants.
Clarify content, group similar ideas, and delete duplicates.
Rate the impact of each risk, assumption, issue or dependency on the project.
Create an action plan assigning responsibility for each issue to a group or individual.
Report on the outcomes and monitor as part of your project management processes.
Define the scope of the RAID Analysis and clarify the objectives of the session. Present any data and information that will help give context. Examples might include:
Participants brainstorm ideas on risks, assumptions, issues, and dependencies that can have an impact on the project.
Brainstorming can be done individually, in small groups, or all together. Gather ideas using poster paper, a whiteboard, sticky notes, or with collaboration software such as GroupMap. The process is less resource intensive if you use an online tool, especially for large groups or if participants are in different locations.
Capture as many ideas as you can in the initial phase to provide as comprehensive an overview as possible.
Review all the ideas, group like themes, delete duplicates and remove those not in scope.
Use dot votes to get a sense of what people feel are the most important items to consider. Assign each person with one or more votes which they distribute across the issues. They may use one vote for each of their priorities or use multiple votes on an idea they believe is critical.
Look at the top voted ideas and rate them from low to high based on their potential impact on your project, If you do this step as individuals or in small groups, you’ll then have to average out the results. GroupMap will do that for you instantaneously. This additional step helps to prioritize where to focus the most effort and resources.
The result is a visual representation of the agreed priority items in each quadrant.
Identify steps to manage each of the priorities.
- Prevent, reduce, control, or insure against risks
- Monitor and verify assumptions
- Deal with issues
- Monitor and manage dependencies
Assign responsibilities and timeframes for completion for each.
Compile a report on the results of the RAID analysis process. The report should contain the priority items, planned actions, those responsible, and timeframes for implementation.
Regularly review and update the document.
- If risks eventuate, close them out as risks and move them over to the issues quadrant.
- Close out issues once they’ve been dealt with.
- Reassess assumptions and dependencies and move them to the risk or issues quadrants if the situation changes or they become a problem.
Feed the information into other relevant project documentation.
GroupMap automatically generates visually appealing reports in several formats for distribution, saving time and effort after the workshop.
Save effort, time and money with GroupMap
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