How to use our Free RAID Log Template

In project management, the “RAID” acronym stands for “Risks, Assumptions, Issues, and Dependencies.” RAID log template is a powerful project management tool that consolidates risk management data, conflict resolution, core project knowledge, and proper task order. Both project managers and team members can participate in starting and keeping a “RAID log,” offering both the team and their organizations’ stakeholders a dynamic look at reliable information and any potential risk threats to a project’s success.

RAID logging is an ongoing process which can be applied to multiple different phases of a project. During the planning stages, the project manager adds assumptions and creates dependencies. Team members can use these items as a “briefing” on core knowledge and the expected order of tasks and duties within the project.

As they work on their assigned duties, they can draw from their own expertise to document risks and maintain efficiency by resolving listed issues within the team. Team members may also consult the RAID log to determine which threats, dependencies, or knowledge are highest priority. Information can be added, removed, or reprioritized as a team’s environment changes for their risk management plan.

RAID Log vs Assumption Log

RAID log vs Assumption Log Definition PMP
Project Management Institutes full definition of an assumption log is as follows:

High-level strategic and operational assumptions and constraints are normally identified in the business case before the project is initiated and will flow into the project charter. Lower-level activity and task assumptions are generated throughout the project such as defining technical specifications, estimates, the schedule, risks, etc. The assumption log is used to record all assumptions and constraints throughout the project life cycle.

PMBOK 4.1.3.2

The reason we have so many logs and forms in project management is to group items logically and ensure that nothing is missed. This can get frustrating when you have multiple project management logs that you need update each time. In this article, we will explore best practices and tips for RAID logging

RAID Analysis Steps

RAID analysis templates may differ across software programs and mediums. However, no matter if you are using a raid log template excel free or a more verbose template in a word processor, each template will focus on each of the four pieces of RAID analysis: risks, assumptions, issues, and dependencies. In this section, we will explore how to use your RAID log template as it pertains to each of the four areas. Along the way, we’ll offer tips to help you make the most of your template.

Risks

Any potential event which would be detrimental to the optimum execution of your project or harm its final result is classified as a risk. Risks can involve environmental, circumstantial, or policy changes. They can also be tied to negative outcomes resulting from an individual process within the project. For the purpose of a RAID analysis, however, negative events that could occur exclusively within your team are not “risks” per se.

To record risks in your RAID analysis template, use the provided columns or boxes. At a minimum, we recommend you record the nature of the risk, its probability of occurring, its numerical impact ranking, and how the risk would affect your project’s execution should it come to pass. You should not list how to mitigate or prevent the risk from occurring in a RAID analysis; these steps in a risk analysis require more brainstorming space and are best recorded in a separate action plan template.

As your team performs their tasks, it is important to make frequent reassessments of your project’s potential risks. Risks and their probabilities will change over time as your team adjusts to changing circumstances.

RAID log template

Assumptions

Assumptions are like your project’s “facts of the case.” The information in this section can come from any area of your project or its environment, but your team members should assume them to be true. Recording assumptions within your RAID log template pmi is simple; all you need to do is list them as statements within your template. Rank them in order of importance or criticality to your project’s final outcome, and list any sources or steps by which the assumption can be verified.

Assumptions can change as your environment changes and as your team learns new knowledge. However, they are not as fluid as risks, issues, or dependencies. To achieve the best outcome, a project manager should work with their team to record and settle all assumptions before the end of the brainstorming phase. In the event that either circumstances or poor foresight falsify an assumption, your team must solve the dilemma as if it were a major risk that ultimately came to pass.

Issues

The differences between an issue and a risk are subtle. Where a risk is a possible negative environmental or circumstantial event, an issue is a negative event that is pertinent to or transpires from the project team. Issues also reflect immediate negative conditions within a project environment, making them the most fluid piece of a RAID analysis. As such, project managers and team members should resolve them immediately in order to prevent building a worse outcome.

On many RAID analysis templates, recording issues is similar to recording risks. There will be columns, rows, or spaces for you to list the nature of each issue and its consequences. A quality template will also have ranking tools to help project managers determine which issues are most important to solve.

More verbose RAID templates may have space to write a cursory description of the steps your team will take to resolve each issue. However, you should not list the full breadth of the resolution steps. These require more space and a dedicated process.

RAID log template PMI.png
Download simple raid log template excel format

Dependencies

Dependencies are tasks or items that a project process “depends upon” to work successfully. PMBOK classifies dependencies into four categories.

  1. Mandatory dependencies include tasks like obtaining regulatory approvals or completing formal plans,
  2. Discretionary dependencies are tasks considering the best risk-reducing practices for the project’s field.
  3. Internal related to a team’s internal structure
  4. External dependencies related to their external environment.

Frequently, dependencies will take a nested form. Tasks toward the end of a project may have their own independent dependencies. However, their success may rely on the successful completion of earlier tasks, which rely on the completion of their own dependencies.

In a RAID analysis, project managers should rank each dependency by priority. This priority scale does not consider “chains of dependencies” to encourage project managers not to overcomplicate their own ranking systems. The best way to accommodate nesting is for project managers and team members to revisit dependencies at the same time as re-evaluating risks and resolving issues.

RAID Log Template Free Download

The simplest way to get started with RAID logging is by downloading and filling in an online template.

Google Sheets free RAID Log Template
Make a copy of our Free Google Sheets RAID Log Template

While risks, assumptions, issues, and dependencies are all important pieces of a project’s framework, the steps to analyze and evaluate each of them remain similar to each other. No matter which type of RAID analysis template you use, you and your teammates will verbalize and record how each event has taken place or will unfold.

Next, you will list the impact each event has on individual outcomes during your project’s execution and upon its completion. Finally, you will use an objective numerical scale to prioritize the mitigation steps, action plans, or importance of each event or piece of data.

The most important step in RAID analysis is making regular revisits to your log template. Your team will inevitably need to add, remove, or adjust the priority or cruciality of risks, assumptions, issues, and dependencies.

RAID Log in Agile

RAID Log example online
RAID Log Template using Miro perfect for Agile Teams

RAID analysis is a crucial tool for any project manager using Agile methodologies. Below is a list of some key advantages of RAID analysis for risk management and process documentation.

  • RAID analysis offers a central place for information. RAID log templates are designed to keep every detail of a project’s circumstances and processes in a central location. Each piece of RAID analysis is closely integrated with other pieces. Failed dependencies can create new issues, while unresolved issues or falsified assumptions can create new, potentially more severe risks.
  • RAID analysis is designed to be heuristic. Rapid evolution and adaptation are the defining characteristics of any Agile-minded project management methodology. The key to RAID analysis is its heuristic nature. Dependencies change as old ones are completed. Risk probability and issue status evolve as a team takes steps to mitigate each.
  • RAID analysis is collaborative by nature. While the project manager may hold primary responsibility for some pieces of RAID analysis, such as defining assumptions or dependencies, each team member can record risks and issues as they arise and connect them to the project’s core principles.

RAID Log Template FAQs

What is a RAID log template?

A RAID log template is a predefined document or spreadsheet simplifying RAID analysis for project managers and team members.

How do I create a RAID log?

Creating a RAID log yourself can quickly become complex and take time away from completing your project. The simplest way to make a RAID log is to use a template.

What is a RAID log?

A RAID log is a central spreadsheet or document used to track, rank, and/or prioritize risks, assumptions, issues, and dependencies for a single project.

What is a RAID Matrix?

A RAID matrix is a specific format of RAID log template which organizes risks, assumptions, issues, and dependencies into quadrants. Risks and issues are listed in the “threat” row, while assumptions and dependencies are in the “reliable information” row.

What is RAID in PMP?

RAID analysis emphasizes risk management, but it also covers other project management competencies such as planning. If you are pursuing a formal Project Management Professional certification, RAID analysis is a crucial skill.

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