#151: RAID Log Part II

RAID LogThis week on CIO Playbook with Jeffrey Hurley, I am continuing our discussion on project management with Part II of how to use a RAID Log to manage some of the key priorities that could potentially derail your project success. I mentioned in last episode that there are unknown events and events out of your control creating risk to your project success, however, knowing in advance what these events are gives you the opportunity to develop contingency and mitigation plans. This week we will focus on how to incorporate the RAID Log into your project management process. I will shoe how working with your project managers and business management to leverage the RAID Log to ensure roadblocks are removed. Then we will look into what it takes to maintain a RAID Log and how quickly you should have contingency and mitigation plans in place to protect the project deliverables.

How Do You Use a RAID Log

  • Weekly Meetings: As part of your weekly work stream meetings team members should be bringing up the risks, assumptions, issues, and dependencies they have identified during the period between this and the last meeting. Active team members will be sharing their latest discoveries, progress against current identified items, and key mitigation activities.
  • Steering Committee: The steering committee plays a key role in project success by bringing together senior business and technology people who can make decisions and take necessary action to remove roadblocks. The RAID Log has a category for risks, assumptions, issues, and dependencies that should be managed at the steering committee level. These tend to have the greatest probability, severity, and corresponding impact on the project timelines and budget. The steering committee update should include regular statistics on the RAID log including dollars being spent on the mitigation and contingency planning.
  • Status Updates: Status updates can include totals on the opened, in progress, and closed RAID items and should be made available to a broad audience. With some more specific items, included in the status report, that involve the larger stakeholder participation to ensure mitigation is happening.

What Does Management Do with the RAID Log

The purpose of the RAID Log is to raise awareness of the risks, assumptions, issues, and dependencies project wide. Giving ample time and awareness to ensure ability to address them before they become active and result in impact on the project’s ability to meet deadlines and scope expectations. Management has the responsibility to be reviewing this log on a regular basis and providing roadblock removal services.

Management and business leadership are import drivers in addressing RAID Log items, given the nature of their role in the business leadership and setting of strategic direction. The project you are running and the technology you are implementing should be enables of the business strategic direction. As a result management discussions and approval can often correct or address many of the RAID Log items.

How do you Incorporate a RAID Log Into a Project

As I have argued, the RAID Log is a key to successful project management and delivery. Updates to the log should be made from the start of the project all the way through to the end of the project. My recommendation is the project manager should be updating the log when she updates the project plans, finishes a meeting, summarizing minutes, and after completing the weekly status reporting. The RAID Log is as important as the project plan and therefore must be kept current throughout the whole project.

How do you Maintain a RAID Log

I suggest setting up a RAID Log in MS Excel and then sorting and copying for use in your PowerPoint updates. The log is really a point in time or current status log rather than a historical or progress based tool. A RAID Log item once identified should be mitigated and open and close dates tracked. Often a RAID Log item will remain open for the duration of the project. Therefore the log should be updated prior to a weekly work stream review meeting (at least once a week) and prepared for the steering committee updates.

How Quickly Should Items be Mitigated or Resolved

This is the “it depends” answer section. Because the RAID Log really does depend on what the likelihood of the event: risk, assumption, issue, or dependency happening or not and the potential damage to the project. that is why you assign a probability and severity to each of the items on the log. Determining how important it is to address the item quickly or monitoring it for a period is where your talent as a leader comes in. An item identified and observed is often enough all that is needed to mitigate it, while other times you will require a proactive intervention to prevent the potential damage.

To Conclude

the RAID log is a key tool in your project management tool box for identifying and managing items that can derail a project. By effectively using this tool and increasing visibility to the broader stakeholder community you can increase the opportunities for early identification and assistance in the mitigation of these potential derailers. Expand your risk and issues log in your next program or project and observe the results for yourself.


Photo Credit: Disco-Dan. “Fan Bay Deep Air Raid Shelter And Magazine Room.” Flickr. Yahoo!, 15 Feb. 2013. Web. 14 June 2015.

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