Issue management seems like one of the easier topics of project management. In fact, when a few fundamental principles are observed this is can be the case. It is always best to define the issue management process at the early stage of any project. There are lots of examples online of issue tracking / resolution templates. Fundamentally, issue management should always include the following:
- An available and consolidated list of issues. This seems so simple but is constantly violated on projects. This principal really means that as a member of the project team / stakeholder, you can find a complete and updated list of project related issues. Consistent effort must be made to ensure all issues are on the list, even those quick hallway “hey, I wanted point out this little issue” type discussions.
- Each issue should be assigned to a specific person as being the primary resource responsible to provide updates and resolution.
- At a minimum, weekly updates should be held with the project team to capture any updates and review the list.
- Action items for each issue should be listed with dates as to when a resolution is to occur.
- The issues should be prioritized. Some issues may require immediate action while others are of much less importance. The project team should ensure a proper allocation of resources towards solving the outstanding issues in an appropriate order based on prioritization.
- Both an expected and actual close date should be captured for each issue. This helps the project team understand their efficiency of issue resolution. It also allows for the issues list to be sorted so that only open issues are displayed for status conversations if the project team so chooses.
Most Information Technology Professionals have been a part of a least one project that experiences both frequent and numerous issues. In a lot of cases, these very simple and easy principals aren’t observed until the project is close to a crisis. Although difficult, issue fraught projects will always exist, if these principals are deployed early in a project, it can go a long way towards bringing sanity and calm to the project team and stakeholders working hard to achieve a positive outcome for the project.
Dan Thompson, PEI