automated RAID and Action logs replacing spreadsheets

Automated RAID logs & Action logs – Beyond Spreadsheets (Part 2)

Steve McBroom, CEO,  Traxidy

Steve McBroom, CEO, Traxidy

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A RAID log and Action log, provides a way to track, manage and report on all of the Risks, Actions, Issues and Decisions throughout your project lifecycle. We started in Part 1, explaining what a project RAID log and Action log is. How they can be used by anyone to record, manage and control the smaller and key work items that support the project schedule and plan. Project work items like actions, risks and issues often arise daily during a project, and need to be managed.

A plan never executes perfectly. There are many unplanned work items that come up as you manage a project from the initial planning through execution and close. If you don’t manage these properly it can lead to a failed project and negative business outcomes.

Get to the Point, in this Blog Post

What, Who and When

Throughout a project, the Project Manager (PM) is typically responsible for asking these key questions.

What information do we need to know that could take (or is taking) the project off the plan or schedule? (Project Risk or Project Issue and Status)
What needs to be done to keep the project on track? (Action)
Who is responsible for taking the action? (Action Owner)
When will the action be complete? (Due Date)

These questions need to be raised with the team members regarding all of the planned project work and as any of the project Risks, Actions, Issues and Decisions arise.

What will be provided, who provides it and when,
are key pieces of information that the PM needs to track.

The Work to Build the Plan Involves Tracking Actions

A RAID log is a critical tool to support the building of a project plan and schedule. The planning of a project requires a coordinated effort with multiple pieces coming together. The steps to construct a project plan and schedule usually follows a set process. The work to build the plan and gather the information to build a project schedule, create a project charter, clarify the project goals, outline requirements, coordinate project resources, and more, essentially becomes a project in itself. The process of working with various people and teams to build the project plan will generate its own actions, owners, issues and due dates that need to be tracked and managed.

Take the time during the planning process to gather the information and input from all stakeholders including the expected timing of the inputs to the plan, in order to develop a schedule and plan you are confident in. What will be provided, who will provide it and when, are key pieces of information that the Project Manager needs to track and ensure are delivered in a timely manner to support the project planning work. The use of an automated RAID log and Action log is an ideal way to support building the project plan and schedule, ideally with a flexible and centralized workspace to record all of the project planning details.

Examples of Unplanned Situations or Project Issues

Now that the schedule and plan for the project is approved, the real work begins. As much as you can plan, most projects will run into situations that can throw the scope, schedule or cost off track. A few examples include staff lacking experience, resources that are misallocated, under-estimated work effort and juggling timelines within the schedule:

  • A person needed to work on the project is taking unscheduled time off.
  • Information that was to be available has been delayed.
  • A team member’s time is being taken by higher priority work in their area.
  • Hardware has been delayed because of new logistics and storage procedures.
  • Technology training needs to be reassessed for the latest updates and information.

Project Managers know they need to immediately assess these types of situations. They need to look for a solution and any actions that can be taken, to try to keep the project on schedule. The PM uses their judgement, knowing that if the latest actions in support of eliminating these project issues, are unsuccessful, the project schedule or budget may need to change. If this is the case, then the project Change Management Process will need to be followed.

What an Automated RAID Log and Action Log Should Provide

An automated RAID log and Action log should provide an enhanced way of recording, tracking and reporting on all the pieces of information supporting Risks, Action items, project Issues and key Decisions.

You can perform at a higher level of focus and efficiency as a Project Manager, by using an automated RAID and Action log.

It needs to provide a single place to easily organize, share and collaborate with project team members and stakeholders without having to look into multiple files or tabs or folders, and provides you with the peace-of-mind that the information you are seeing represents the most up-to-date information from across the project team.

You can perform at a higher level of focus and efficiency as a Project Manager, by using an automated RAID log and Action log. It can go a long way to improving day-to-day project work management and importantly, it should also provide the ability to automate and streamline workflows with productivity and collaboration tools.

5 Key Benefits of an Automated RAID Log

When the project RAID log and Action log is automated, it provides benefits that help Project Managers to effectively manage and control the daily aspects of their project work. Benefits include:

  1. Increase Efficiency – Automated project performance tracking and Risks, Actions, Issues and Decisions tracking (RAID log and Action log), visual status, priorities and information all in one organized place for greater focus and efficiency.
  2. Greater Effectiveness – Easy-to-use workspace, automated updates, real-time and historical work tracking for greater accuracy and effectiveness.
  3. Collaborative Teamwork – Collaboration tools, proactive notifications of team member updates and upcoming due dates and priorities, helps increase team engagement.
  4. Easier to Facilitate Project Meetings – Easier to present, focus, review and effectively facilitate team meetings as a ‘single source of truth’ with the project team.
  5. Ease of Status Reporting –Real-time, automated and tailored project status reports and up-to-date information for enhanced and consistent stakeholder communications.

Conclusion

Project RAID logs and Action logs are critical tools to help any Project Manager effectively manage the smaller but critical Actions supporting project work items and schedule. Using forms, lists or spreadsheets as a RAID log to track and manage key information involving your project, just does not measure up when automated project work tracking software is available.

Anyone leading projects needs to ensure that all project Risks, Actions, Issues and Decisions are automatically tracked and prioritized to effectively manage, control and deliver on project outcomes. The ability for a project manager to effectively manage even the smallest of actions within a project will lead to greater success of the overall project.
Automated RAID logs and Action logs provide the flexibility to easily manage all of the smaller actions, empowers PMs and team members, helps save time and leads to better results for your project.

Learn more about Traxidy’s project work tracking software with an easy-to-use project workspace and automated RAID logs, Action logs and real-time project Status to help Project Managers and project teams increase efficiency and project success.

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