What is one of the most useful tools that you can use to keep your project organised? A RAID log records risks, actions, issues and decisions and is one of the top tools for keeping a record of everything happening on the project. It's very useful because you can store all the relevant information and activity that is happening on your project in one place.
Over the next few weeks I will be looking at all the different elements of the RAID log but today I want to introduce the concept.
A RAID log covers 4 elements:
And as you can see, it is from these four words that it gets its name.
The best format for a RAID log is to use a spreadsheet. Using a spreadsheet means you can have 4 tabs, one for each of the lists: risks, actions, issues, and decisions. While this is the order from which we get the RAID acronym, it is not necessary to have the tabs on your spreadsheet in this order. In fact, most people find that having the action list at the front makes the most sense as this is the worksheet that gets used the most.
A RAID log can be updated daily and sometimes several people will have access to it and the ability to make their update directly into the document. This means that the traditional methods of version control are very difficult and far too time consuming.
The best way I have found to version control my RAID log is to give each version of the file a name that includes the date that it was updated.
The most effective way to name documents including the date is to do so in the year, month, day format. The document then becomes something like ‘RAID Log 20110714.xls’. When you use Windows Explorer to search for a document and have the files in a folder ordered by name, the most recent version will be at the bottom of the list. This makes it a lot easier to find. If you used the day, month, year format there could be several files each starting with ‘01’ and you would have to order the files by date last updated to easily see which is the most recent version. I’m sure you will find a naming convention that works for you, but this is what I’ve found useful over the years.
Over the next few weeks I will be looking at the different elements that go into the RAID log, starting next week with risks. I’ll also be sharing some screenshots of what the worksheets can look like so that you can use these as a starting point for preparing your own project RAID logs.