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Topics: Change Management, Communications Management, Stakeholder Management
Project issue management
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As a project manager we are supposed to track and record issues, and inconsistencies when ever they happen. So, when we create an issues log, we also have to provide a tool for reporting and communicating what's happening with the project stakeholders. In case, if there are no defined process in place, I guess we risk ignoring issues, or not taking them seriously enough until it's too late to deal with them successfully.

How do you make sure that issues are indeed raised, and then investigated and resolved quickly and effectively?
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Project Issues can be raised/updated in the Weekly or Fortnightly Project Meeting if running a large scale waterfall project or even daily, if running Daily stand-ups in an Agile /Iterative Development Project. The Issue log should be a very simple Excel Spreadsheet which should be a living document with Issue statuses - New/In Progress/Closed, Responsible Person to manage the issue, Date Issue needs resolution by, with a column to cater for what was done for it's remediation. There can even be an additional column on how likely is the issue capable of threatening the project's objectives or it's constraints- time/cost/scope/quality. Perhaps even a rating of the issue High/critical/low/medium.

The high and critical issues(and risks) should then be highlighted in the Steering Committee meetings to the Senior Stakeholders like Executive Directors, so that suggested remediation can be formally minuted.

Project Risks should follow a similar discipline . Any one in the project team or any one of the stakeholders can raise an issue or a risk , but the Project Manager is responsible to make sure that such risks and issues are resolved appropriately.
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2 replies by Anish Abraham and Lawrence Lyle, PMP CSSGB ITIL
Dec 04, 2017 9:41 PM
Anish Abraham
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Thanks Deepesh for your feedback.
Dec 06, 2017 9:29 AM
Lawrence Lyle, PMP CSSGB ITIL
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Interesting!

Just keep your Risks and Issues separately. They should be handled separately but are often confused or combined. The intersection is that a realized "risk" can be an issue ,if, it is negative. Risks are qualified and quantified and can be avoided transferred or mitigated :)
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Dec 04, 2017 7:42 PM
Replying to Deepesh Rammoorthy, PMP®
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Project Issues can be raised/updated in the Weekly or Fortnightly Project Meeting if running a large scale waterfall project or even daily, if running Daily stand-ups in an Agile /Iterative Development Project. The Issue log should be a very simple Excel Spreadsheet which should be a living document with Issue statuses - New/In Progress/Closed, Responsible Person to manage the issue, Date Issue needs resolution by, with a column to cater for what was done for it's remediation. There can even be an additional column on how likely is the issue capable of threatening the project's objectives or it's constraints- time/cost/scope/quality. Perhaps even a rating of the issue High/critical/low/medium.

The high and critical issues(and risks) should then be highlighted in the Steering Committee meetings to the Senior Stakeholders like Executive Directors, so that suggested remediation can be formally minuted.

Project Risks should follow a similar discipline . Any one in the project team or any one of the stakeholders can raise an issue or a risk , but the Project Manager is responsible to make sure that such risks and issues are resolved appropriately.
Thanks Deepesh for your feedback.
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Anish -

The issue management process needs to be defined & tailored to the complexity, context and needs of the project, the team and key stakeholders. On some projects, the use of information radiators and face-to-face communication might suffice whereas on others, a very formal issue tracking and reporting system might need to be utilized.

The keys are that the process be followed consistently, and that it ensures that issues are resolved in a timely manner with stakeholders feeling that they were informed and engaged appropriately.

Kiron
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1 reply by Anish Abraham
Dec 05, 2017 5:37 PM
Anish Abraham
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Thanks Kiron for the info.

Ultimately the main objective of issue management is to lower the negative effect of project issues.
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Issue log is reviewed during status meetings, a stock or overview of all outstanding critial or non critial issues are taken during meeting. In same meeting update on risks is also presented and document is updated accordingly
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For Me --
1) I create an Issue log in excel or word
2) Data fields in the spreadsheet include, Responsible Person, Short description , Time concerns and contact information.
3)This list will become "center stage" for priority particularly if they have not been resolved by the final milestone. Daily follow -up
4) Publish Issue Log and list to all stakeholders and sponsors.

You would be surprised at the attention the issues get from people that help get them resolved and the management emphasis.

Larry
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1 reply by Anish Abraham
Dec 05, 2017 5:33 PM
Anish Abraham
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Thank Larry for your valuable feedback.

Do you make sure that your team know who can log issues and that they actually do? Also, do you track whether people are following up on their action items?

Thanks
Anish
Network:1540



Dec 05, 2017 12:37 PM
Replying to Lawrence Lyle, PMP CSSGB ITIL
...
For Me --
1) I create an Issue log in excel or word
2) Data fields in the spreadsheet include, Responsible Person, Short description , Time concerns and contact information.
3)This list will become "center stage" for priority particularly if they have not been resolved by the final milestone. Daily follow -up
4) Publish Issue Log and list to all stakeholders and sponsors.

You would be surprised at the attention the issues get from people that help get them resolved and the management emphasis.

Larry
Thank Larry for your valuable feedback.

Do you make sure that your team know who can log issues and that they actually do? Also, do you track whether people are following up on their action items?

Thanks
Anish
Network:1540



Dec 05, 2017 6:48 AM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
...
Anish -

The issue management process needs to be defined & tailored to the complexity, context and needs of the project, the team and key stakeholders. On some projects, the use of information radiators and face-to-face communication might suffice whereas on others, a very formal issue tracking and reporting system might need to be utilized.

The keys are that the process be followed consistently, and that it ensures that issues are resolved in a timely manner with stakeholders feeling that they were informed and engaged appropriately.

Kiron
Thanks Kiron for the info.

Ultimately the main objective of issue management is to lower the negative effect of project issues.
Network:40



Anish,

Without an issue management system, Stakeholders can contact you as the "keeper" of the log that way you actually have continuity of the issues. send an updated log out weekly or as updates are available.

One of the less glamorous duties that we have is being the BAD GUY to follow up with people .. directly on their responsible issues. Tactfulness is an excellent skill to have (LOL). Particularly in a weak matrix organizational environment where our authority is limited. When the Project is completed successfully, guess what, you have ownership !

Larry
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1 reply by Anish Abraham
Dec 06, 2017 11:05 AM
Anish Abraham
...
Yes, you are right. Thanks for your response.
Network:40



Dec 04, 2017 7:42 PM
Replying to Deepesh Rammoorthy, PMP®
...
Project Issues can be raised/updated in the Weekly or Fortnightly Project Meeting if running a large scale waterfall project or even daily, if running Daily stand-ups in an Agile /Iterative Development Project. The Issue log should be a very simple Excel Spreadsheet which should be a living document with Issue statuses - New/In Progress/Closed, Responsible Person to manage the issue, Date Issue needs resolution by, with a column to cater for what was done for it's remediation. There can even be an additional column on how likely is the issue capable of threatening the project's objectives or it's constraints- time/cost/scope/quality. Perhaps even a rating of the issue High/critical/low/medium.

The high and critical issues(and risks) should then be highlighted in the Steering Committee meetings to the Senior Stakeholders like Executive Directors, so that suggested remediation can be formally minuted.

Project Risks should follow a similar discipline . Any one in the project team or any one of the stakeholders can raise an issue or a risk , but the Project Manager is responsible to make sure that such risks and issues are resolved appropriately.
Interesting!

Just keep your Risks and Issues separately. They should be handled separately but are often confused or combined. The intersection is that a realized "risk" can be an issue ,if, it is negative. Risks are qualified and quantified and can be avoided transferred or mitigated :)
Network:91796



Your project management plan should state how issues should be identified and managed.

Some of the things I find useful

1. Allow individuals to capture new issues. Not only does it avoids one person being responsible to enter issues, but it also ensure that the issue is described as correctly as it should be. If you use SharePoint, implement your issue log as a List. Otherwise, go with a Excel spreadsheet, with Sharing turned on, on a network drive.

2. Allow only one person to update the issue. Once captured, the issue should be managed. It is easier to manage issues consistently by having one person designated for updates.

3. Prioritize issues. It is important to focus on the most important issues. It is also important to report on your unresolved high priority issues to your stakeholders.

4. Escalate early. If you cannot get a resolution with a few days, the issue must be escalated to precipitate the process. Holding on to it with no resolution will not help.
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2 replies by Anish Abraham and Lawrence Lyle, PMP CSSGB ITIL
Dec 06, 2017 11:10 AM
Anish Abraham
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Thanks Stephane for letting me know. I like the idea of allowing your team members to capture new issues and only one person for updates.
Dec 06, 2017 11:25 AM
Lawrence Lyle, PMP CSSGB ITIL
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Absolutely the Project Management Plan! Thank you, Standard and certifiable advise Mr Parent. I need t o be more diligent about that one.

Anish - he makes an excellent point. If ever questioned we already have it in writing in PMPlan. Let me add -- always simplify
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