Issues are going to happen on your projects. What is an issue you may ask? I define a project issue as “any event or circumstance that could alter the project schedule, budget, scope, quality or otherwise impact a project in a negative way”.
To manage issues properly you must log them, and ensure they are resolved quickly so they don’t negatively affect your project. Managing project issues is a very simple process; however we need to follow a few guidelines. Steps to take include:
Identify the Issue
This should always be done in writing. Any project team member can submit an issue to the project manager, however the project manager may choose to ignore the issue or even alter the project scope depending on circumstances.
Review the Issue
Review the issue with all concerned. Prioritize the issue and access any risks.
Log the Issue and assign ownership
When creating an issues log include at a minimum:
Write a clear and concise issue description
Prioritize the issue based upon potential impact(s) to the project or deliverables
Capture the date the issue was opened, date issue is expected to be resolved, and actual resolved date
Note the person responsible for resolving the issue (don’t make this a group or team. Always specify a person here.)
Have a notes column to log updates about the issue
Request that issue owners update the issues log (or send you updates) at least weekly. Review the issues list with all core team members on a regular basis.
When an issue is resolved, update the issues log with any pertinent information and close the issue.
A good issue management process will let the project sponsor know when and where issues are occurring. Additionally, an issues list is a great way to communicate to the project stakeholders about problems or concerns that are being addressed by the team. Many times an issue can cause a Scope Change Request to be generated if the issue isn’t properly managed.
In closing, conduct regular reviews of all open issues with the team and review progress towards resolving the issues. Manage issues daily, and work to resolve them quickly so they don’t become major problems on your project.