Although RAID Logs are not specifically named as a tool by PMI (Project Management Institute) in their Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), the components of a RAID Log template definitely are a Risk Register, Issue Register, and Decision Register. RAID Log Management makes it easier to manage multiple projects by staying on top of where you are with each project. Making it more accessible to task switch when managing various projects.
- What is a RAID Log?
- The Difference Between a RAID Log and RAIDLOG.com?
- Risk Log / Risk Register
- Action Log / Action Register
- Issue Log / Issue Register
- Decision Log / Decision Register
- Why You Should Choose a RAID Log to Manage Your Next Project
What is a RAID Log?
A RAID Log is a project management tool that helps project managers run their projects. While you may have a project schedule with all your detailed tasks and a detailed plan for how to approach the delivery of your project, you still need a tool and a methodology for ensuring the project follows your plan and for course-correcting if it goes off track. That’s what a RAID Log does.
RAID is an acronym for Risks, Actions, Issues, and Decisions. RAID Logs have been the go-to tool for professional project managers for decades, and historically were simply spreadsheet templates with one tab each for Risks, Actions, Issues, and Decisions.
Although RAID Logs are not specifically named as a tool by PMI (Project Management Institute) in their Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), the components of a RAID Log template definitely are a Risk Register, Issue Register, and Decision Register.
Tracking and managing these logs helps:
- Identify, respond to, and manage Risk.
- Stay on top of Action Items – the hundreds of things that need to get done which don’t belong in a project schedule or backlog.
- Quickly get on top of and resolve project Issues.
- Help PMs get Decisions made timely by the right people and fully implemented.
The basic RAID Log is also often extended to include project Change Requests, Lessons Learned, and External Dependencies.
This is all important because projects don’t typically go wrong because of their Plan (schedule and budget). They go wrong because of unmanaged Risks, neglected Action Items, unresolved Issues, and poor Decision making. That is precisely what a RAID Log template is designed to help with.
The Difference Between a RAID Log and RAIDLOG.com?
Since its inception, PMs have had to use spreadsheets to manage their RAID Log. Although some Project Management tools have made a half-hearted attempt at including a RAID Log, and it’s possible to hack something together using task management tools, PMs have consistently fallen back to using a spreadsheet for RAID Log management because there wasn’t anything better.
Unfortunately, Even Spreadsheets are Limiting –
- RAID data for each project is usually tracked in different spreadsheets, so it cannot easily be aggregated for portfolio-level reporting and analysis.
- You have to create one or find a template online. While not difficult, you may miss out on hard-learned best practices of RAID Log management.
- Spreadsheets don’t integrate with your other project management and business tools.
- Secure and controlled access can be difficult, which is critical for sensitive project data.
- Tracking and managing change history and version control can be difficult, risking the integrity of your data.
- It is not a relational database, so you cannot easily link RAID items together.
- For example, if you have Action Items required to remediate an Issue, or if you have a Risk that arises from a particular Decision, these have to be manually linked and tracked in a spreadsheet.
- And while a spreadsheet interface can be efficient for sorting and filtering, it lacks the intuitive UI of a modern application.
And even those few PM tools which have some limited RAID functionality are expensive and require you to license internal and external collaborators.
That’s why we created RAIDLOG.com. As career Project Managers, we recognized the value of RAID Log management but were tired of struggling with the limitations of spreadsheets. RAIDLOG.com takes the best parts of a RAID Log template, incorporates best practices from very experienced project leaders across different industries, and puts them into an easy-to-use, secure, modern platform.
Our article, What is a RAID Log, describes what should go into a RAID Log. But with RAIDLOG.com, we’ve already done all that work and built RAID Log templates for you, ready to use.
Let’s dive deeper into each part of a RAID Log and how RAIDLOG.com (even the free version) will help you manage your projects and portfolios and keep you “in the green.
Risk Log / Risk Register
A Risk is something that could go wrong with your project but has yet to go wrong. The idea behind tracking risks is to consciously identify where your project can go wrong and do something about it before it does go wrong. In every project, there is always the risk that something can go wrong, so there should be a Risk Log, also called a Risk Register, for every project.
In the following video, we walk through the Risk Grid View of RAIDLOG.com and key risk details, including; name, description, lifecycle state, tags, probability slider, impact slider, due date, trigger date, response plan strategy, and response plan details.
Action Log / Action Register
There are often activities that come up during your project that aren’t planned for and don’t belong in your Project Plan. This can include action items from meetings, follow-up actions, and other tasks that need to be performed which don’t directly contribute to project deliverables, so may not be worth putting in the detailed schedule or in the backlog. These are Action Items.
That’s where the Action Log tab of your RAID Log comes in. It’s where you can track and manage all the Action Items and the follow-ups you must address to stay on top of your projects.
In the following video, we walk you through the Action Grid View of RAIDLOG.com and key action details, including; name, description, lifecycle state, tags, importance slider, and due dates.
Issue Log / Issue Register
Whereas Risks are the things that could go wrong in your project, Issues are things that have gone wrong. Issues are not just the big problems that come up but also all the minor problems that cause deviations from your Plan. As we’ll see, Issues are usually the most sensitive RAID items.
The Issue log tracks everything that happened (or is happening) not according to Plan, which impacts the project. Significant issues like system outages or non-performance to contract are things we would log as issues. But we should also track any event which forces us to change our project plan or deliverables.
In the following video, we walk you through the Issue Grid View of RAIDLOG.com and key issue details, including; name, description, lifecycle state, tags, importance slider, and due dates.
Decision Log / Decision Register
Every project is an exercise in progressive elaboration. As you go through the lifecycle of the project, you will learn new things, refine requirements, and encounter gates, all of which will require sound decision-making. The Decisions Log tracks all of these key “forks on the road.”
A Decision Log should start off by mapping all the decisions expected in the project, such as phase gates and technical or even supplier / RFP decisions. But throughout the project’s life, ad-hoc decisions will also come up.
Project Decisions Can Include:
- Scope Elaboration – adding detail to the nature of the deliverables
- Plan Elaboration – adding detail to the process and activities needed to create the project’s deliverables
- Resources – determine which resources and suppliers will be engaged
- Risk and Issue Management – decide on response strategies and contingencies
- Stage Gates – decide whether to proceed to the next stage of the project and whether the project approach should be adjusted
In the following video, we walk you through the Decision Grid View in RAIDLOG.com and key decision details, including; name, description, decision makers, decision due date, lifecycle state, tags, importance slider, a decision-made log, justification log, and decision detail options.
To track the history of each RAID item, RAIDLOG.com includes an automated Timeline Audit History for each RAID item and for the project as a whole. The timeline tracks changes to fields, status, and related item creation. The following video demonstrates how the timeline works.
To aggregate and report on RAID items, RAIDLOG.com includes “all-up” grids which aggregate Risks, Actions, Issues, or Decisions. There is also an “All RAID” all-up grid which aggregates all RAID items of all types at the project level and for the entire instance of RAIDLOG.com.
Why You Should Choose a RAID Log to Manage Your Next Project
As a new project manager or a seasoned pro, the stress you can feel trying to ensure your project(s) goes right is overwhelming. Managing a RAID Log will help you lower your stress level and take the heat out of those “fire drill” moments because you will always be on top of every project.
As many of our experts have pointed out in our “Show Me Your RAID LOG” Youtube video series, RAID Log management makes it easier to manage multiple projects by staying on top of where you are with each project. Hence, it’s more accessible to task switch when managing various projects.
RAID Log management with RAIDLOG.com also helps improve communication because you are one click away from your project’s detailed status and one click from quickly following up on items assigned to a team member for follow-up due to our ability to support unlimited free collaborators.
As a project manager, you don’t want to ignore the Standish Group’s CHAOS report findings that 46% of projects go off track, and as many as 19% totally fail (miss major objectives). Effective RAID Log management can keep you “in the green” by managing the things that can go wrong – Risks, Actions, Issues, and Decisions. Why would you take a chance of not using a RAID Log?
Is it a Risk to Try RAIDLOG.com?
Try RAIDLOG.com for free – that’s the same cost as a spreadsheet. But it is so much more – so why not give it a try?! Project issues cost much more. They cost more than the project budget and schedule – they cost us, project managers, our precious time, stress, and possibly even our reputation and careers.
And while a RAID Log won’t prevent issues from happening, good RAID Log management is the best tool to get those issues under control and get your project back on track.
That’s why we offer a free version of RAIDLOG.com – because we’re on a mission to help project managers succeed. And if it provides as much value to you as it does to us, we know you will find even more value from our paid Professional version – it pays for itself in time and stress savings.