In this video, we explore what issues are and how best to deal with them.
- Issues in projects are inevitable. As a project manager you need to be able to deal with them effectively and when you can't, you need to know when to escalate. In this video we'll deal with what an issue is, how to deal with them, some of the things that can get in your way, and some of the benefits of escalating issues appropriately. To get this going is worth noting the issues and risks while closely related aren't the same thing. Risks are something you identify as a potential issue, but an issue is when that risk actually happens. And of course, when issues happen, new risks might also become possible. Okay, now that we've differentiated between issues and risks, let's talk a little bit about how to resolve issues using the issue resolution cycle. The cycle begins with logging and analyzing the issue. As soon as the issue is detected and reported to the project manager, it should be logged on the issue register. With it logged, it's important that an analysis is done to understand what the impact of the issue is and how this may impact the project going forward on things like scope, time, cost, and quality. With all this done, you'll be able to set the priority for issue resolution. Next, you need to update the risk analysis. As I mentioned a moment ago, issues can create new risks, so these need to be understood and actions need to be taken to mitigate them. Once the issue and risk analysis have been completed, the next step in the process is to escalate the analysis. As a project manager, this will be to the project sponsor and as the project sponsor, it will be up to you to approve any actions the project manager has recommended. If the project sponsor doesn't have the authority to do this, it needs to be escalated to whoever can authorize these actions, like the governance board for example. With the analysis escalated and actions authorized, you'll need to assign the actions to relevant team members. You may also need to replan. For instance, if the scope changes. if this happens, use your change control process. The final part of the issue resolution cycle is to track the management of the issue through to closure. Basically, this just means that as a project manager you need to be aware of everything that's being done to deal with the issue through to the moment it's been fully dealt with, even if that point is to the very end of the project. So that was the issue resolution cycle in a nutshell, but it's worth knowing some of the common barriers that can get in the way of effective issue resolution too. These could include wrongly identifying a risk as an issue, confusing a simple problem with an issue, failing to further escalate the issue if the issue owner hasn't managed to deal with it properly, not having enough time or will to identify and then deal with issues, and having an inappropriate tolerance level, which may cause problems, not issues to be escalated. Escalating issues also has quite a few benefits. It can support management by exception, make sure that management only have to worry about the really serious issues in a project, helps to provide assurance to the project sponsor and other stakeholders and informs decision-making. And that's it for this video. No one wants to have issues occur in their project, but they do happen a lot of the time. In this video we've covered the difference between risks and issues, how to deal with issues using the issue resolution cycle, some of the common problems blocking issue management and the benefits of escalating issues to the correct people in your organization.