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.

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 RAID logs. However, because of its simplicity, the methodology is relevant to:

  • All industries
  • Existing and new businesses
  • All levels of an organization
  • Business processes
RAID Analysis
Facilitation tips
  • 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 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

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

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

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

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 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.

Scope

Give context and identify the scope of the RAID Log.

Brainstorm

Gather input and ideas for each of the four quadrants.

Collate

Clarify content, group similar ideas, and delete duplicates.

Prioritize

Rate the impact of each risk, assumption, issue or dependency on the project.

Action Plan

Create an action plan assigning responsibility for each issue to a group or individual.

Share

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:

  • Relevant issues identified from a Business Impact Assessment, Business Model Canvas, or SWOT Analysis.
  • Data from the organization’s quality management and other information systems
  • Retrospectives and lessons learned from previous projects
  • Relevant rules and regulations

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.

  • Prevent, reduce, control, or insure against risks
  • Monitor and verify assumptions
  • Deal with 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.

  • 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

Getting your best people together to work on strategy is critical to the success of your business. But group activities have an opportunity cost and it’s essential to optimize your time and effort. GroupMap is the effective way to brainstorm, discuss, and decide, and solves many of the problems commonly associated with group activities.

Whether you have your best minds together in the same room, or distributed around the world, GroupMap’s unique technology allows groups of up to 2000 to submit ideas independently at separate times, from different places, in different timezones. Prevent dominant personalities swaying the group, drowning out the opinions of others – GroupMap allows everyone to brainstorm independently then effortlessly combines that information to reveal the full spectrum of ideas. GroupMap templates keep the objective front and center throughout the session, keeping everyone on task. This ensures the activity identifies actionable issues rather than becoming just a discussion on ideas. GroupMap gives you all the group decision making tools you need to prioritize, decide and take action.

Create your first map and invite people in to start sharing their thoughts right NOW. Experience the power of GroupMap with our 14-day, no risk, FREE trial. You don’t even need to provide your credit card details to access to all of our features, including the entire suite of templates, for a full 14 days.

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