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:
A RAID log is a practical tool for managing projects. Use it:
Project teams, especially in those in the engineering, construction and IT industries, routinely use RAID logs. However, because of its simplicity, the methodology is relevant to:
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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