Project management can be a super challenging role where, on the one hand, it may feel as though you have to predict the future BUT then think on your feet when things go wrong (as they inevitably do!). As a project manager; you will have a lot of balls to juggle that include time, resources, deliverables, staffing issues etc – all of which can waylay your best laid plans. Without a doubt, it is absolutely necessary to think about the risks you are facing and exactly how dependent you are on things going right so you can delivery your project successfully; on time and within budget.
What is a RAID log?
The solution can be to use a single tool called RAID, which is an acronym standing for:
What does a RAID log do?
This “aide-memoire” is one of the skills required by project managers to help identify any challenges and formulate action plans to deal with them. This includes who takes responsibility for what along with a timeline of due dates ensuring each stage of the project leads seamlessly to the next but just how useful is this tool in the everyday reality of the role of the PM?
Completing a project requires a myriad of data that would be impossible to orchestrate by mind power alone so a RAID log (even detailed on a simple spreadsheet) can be a lifesaver.
- Risks can be evaluated for severity meaning that high ones can be attended to as quickly as possible in order to mitigate any damage.
- Assumptions (factors assumed to be true) act as the necessary planning foundation of the project. A RAID log enables these to be amended, if necessary, throughout the course of the project.
- Issues can be updated on an “as needed” basis meaning a RAID log can act as a constant “snag list” reminder.
- A dependency is every task or event needing to take place in order to meet project delivery requirements. When each dependency is met – the next piece of the project puzzle can be completed. A RAID log enables these dependencies to “build” the bigger picture.
The cons of using a RAID log mainly centres on the somewhat hypothetical nature of the assumptions and how effectively the tool is used.
- Assumptions can turn out to be valid or invalid – unfortunately not everything can be foreseen or controlled.
- The project “nuances” and timetable must be used as directed otherwise you risk your project being derailed.
There is no doubt that RAID logs can be a very useful item in every PM’s toolkit, but it is important to neither neglect or over-depend on them due to the elements of the job that are “immeasurable”. After all; an explanation of project management will teach you that that soft skills are just as important as hard ones and it’s important to have a holistic view of any project you’re looking to undertake.