What is a RAID log?
A RAID log is a project planning tool for identifying key (R)Risks, (A)Assumptions, (I) Issues, and (D)Dependencies. Based on what is identified, the impact is assessed and appropriate strategies are put in place. This ensures that everyone stays aligned and the project is not negatively impacted.
This is created at the start of a project and continues to be referred to throughout the life cycle of the project to ensure everyone continues to be aware of what is important.
A RAID log template lets you continuously record project risks, assumptions, issues and dependencies over a period of time in an organized way. The team can easily refer to it in project audits and update meetings. This helps keep the conversations flowing.
The RAID log focuses on four key areas:
- Risks – events that can have an adverse impact if they occur. They may not have happened yet, but would result in a negative consequence.
- Assumptions – things you assume are in place which contribute to the success of the project. These can be both from a positive or negative point of view.
- Issues – current matters that need to be considered and addressed by the group. These are risks that have already occurred and need to be addressed.
- 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.
Who can use a RAID log?
Project teams, especially 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
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.
RAID log template
A RAID log template is an organized and effective way to ensure that your project team is given the opportunity to share and capture risks, assumptions, issues and dependencies that may impact your project. By having an easy way to capture, assess and take action each one reduces the overall risk in your project, and ensures there is alignment of understanding in the team.
A RAID log template is organized as a 2 x 2 matrix, resulting in four quadrants; one each for Risks, Assumptions, Issues, and Dependencies. Each area is addressed by either mitigating, monitoring, validating, or removing it from the project.
Ask: What events do we need to address to ensure the project runs to plan?
Actions: Contain or remove the issue.
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.
Ask: Who or what do we depend on and who depends on us?
Actions: Monitor and manage dependencies.
How to use the RAID log template
At the start of your project, create a new template and share the purpose and how it is to be used with the team. Explain that one of the goals is that it can be used as a parking lot for those risks, assumptions, issues and dependencies that come up so that meetings do not become stuck.
Items can be captured under each heading as conversations progressed, although it is possible just to use it as a stand alone activity to brainstorm ideas generally on what could have a positive or negative influence on your project.
Items on your RAID log can then be rated to assess its impact on your project.
High Impact – Will have a significant negative impact on the speed, profitability or outcomes of your project.
Low Impact – Will have a low negative impact on the speed, profitability or outcomes of your project.
Invite representatives from all areas of the project to help complete the RAID Log. Using online technology allows you to involve remote teams. Collaborative brainstorming tools such as GroupMap enable facilitators to bring together distributed teams and ensure everyone’s ideas and ratings are captured. Not only will it capture ideas in real time, but it will also show you the average and spread of the rating results so that you can use it to facilitate conversations when there is a difference in views.
Give context and identify the scope of the RAID Log template for your project.
Gather input and ideas for each of the four quadrants.
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:
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