What is a RAID log?
A RAID log is a project planning tool for identifying key (R)isks, (A)ssumptions, (I)ssues, and (D)ependencies. At the beginning of the venture, the project team identifies events, activities, and individuals that will or could impact on the successful completion of the project. If required, further analysis and detail can then be added to each priority item, and their status monitored.
The RAID log 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.
Note: Some project managers use the A for actions and the D for decisions.
Why maintain a RAID log?
A RAID log is a practical tool for managing projects. Use it:
- During the initial planning phase to perform a broad environmental scan
- To consolidate information to assist regular reviews that keep the project on track
- As a way of involving the whole team to identify critical issues that have an impact on the project
- To assess changed project conditions
- As a way to optimize effort and use of resources
- To show stakeholders that the project is under control
- As evidence for input or support from management
Who can use RAID log?
Project teams, especially in those in the engineering, construction and IT industries, routinely use a RAID log. However, because of its simplicity, the methodology is relevant to:
- 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.
- 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 log template
A RAID log template is organized as a 2 x 2 matrix, resulting in four quadrants; one each for Risks, Assumptions, Issues, and Dependencies.
Risks are things that will have an adverse impact on the project if they eventuate. Their significance is calculated from the likelihood they’ll occur, along with the impact on the project if they do.
Ask: What events might occur that will have a adverse impact?
Actions: Implement risk mitigation strategies based on the significance of each risk.
See also: Risk Assessment
Assumptions are things that you assume will happen to assist the project, but aren’t guaranteed. If the assumptions are incorrect, there will be a consequence for the project.
Ask: What presumptions have we made about things that will make our project successful?
Actions: Regularly reassess assumptions to test if they’re still valid.
Issues are risks that have already occurred and have impacted on the project. You must get them under control immediately to keep the project on track.
Ask: What events do we need to address to ensure the project runs to plan?
Actions: Contain or remove the issue.
Dependencies may relate to other projects, partners, or suppliers. They are things that must start or finish so your project can progress. They might also be others that rely on your project as an input.
Ask: Who or what do we depend on and who depends on us?
Actions: Monitor and manage dependencies.
How to develop a RAID log
Invite representatives from all areas of the project to help complete the RAID Log. Use online technology to involve members of the team who reside off site. Collaborative brainstorming tools such as GroupMap enable facilitators to bring together dispersed teams and ensure everyone’s ideas are captured.
Give context and identify the scope of the RAID Log.
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.
Clarify the objectives of the session and define the scope of the RAID Log. Provide context for participants by presenting relevant data and information. Examples might include:
Participants brainstorm ideas on risks, assumptions, issues, and dependencies that will influence the project.
Gather ideas using poster paper, a whiteboard, sticky notes, or with online collaboration software such as GroupMap. You can perform this step by collecting ideas from individuals, small groups, or as a whole. The more streams of input you have, the greater the effort for the rest of the process is, unless you use a tool that automatically collates the information.
Gather as many ideas as you can so you get a complete picture.
Discuss and clarify the ideas, then organize the lists by grouping similar concepts, removing duplicates, and ensuring those which remain are in scope.
Use dot votes to identify what ideas the team feels are most significant. Each participant gets one or more votes to distribute across the four quadrants.
Rate the potential impact of the top voted ideas from low to high to prioritize the lists further. As with the brainstorming step, you can do this as individuals or in small groups to ensure you get everyone’s perspective. However, you’ll then have to try and get an average for the whole group which can take a bit of effort. Groupmap will do that for you instantaneously.
You now have a visual representation of the group’s priorities for each quadrant.
Identify actions to manage the priorities, then assign responsibilities and milestones.
- Prevent, reduce, control, or insure against risks
- Verify and monitor assumptions
- Control or eliminate issues
- Monitor and manage dependencies
Generate a report on the outcomes from the RAID logging session. Include the priorities, actions, responsible persons and deadlines for completion.
Regularly review and update the document.
- Close out risks and move them to the issues list if they eventuate.
- Close out issues once they’ve been dealt with.
- As the project conditions change, reassess assumptions and dependencies and assign them as risks or issues if appropriate.
Align and integrate your RAID log with other project documentation.
GroupMap automatically generates visually appealing reports in several formats for distribution, saving time and effort after the workshop.
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