One of my favorite topics is managing project issues. To that end, what I’d like to share are seven tips to get action and cure selective amnesia on your projects. When we start hearing phrases like, “I thought we talked about that? Didn’t we agree? Why are we doing this again?” it’s our cue that selective amnesia has set in on issues that are occurring in our project. Even worse is when issues occur and aren’t even talked about. These seven tips will help you get things resolved.
#1 – Create a Register
First, create a register as a way to log issues on your project, and then make the register easily accessible. It’s a little different than managing changes, where people are adding scope to projects. In a register, people begin logging issues and it eventually becomes one long scroll.
#2 – Determine Ownership
Second, determine who can log issues, and how and when issues need to be logged so that you have an accurate accounting of issues occurring on your project.
#3 – Assign Action
Third, assign actions. We’ve found that many times an issue is logged without defining who will resolve it. Assign a specific person’s name, not an organization or business unit, and clarify when they are to take action to check, evaluate and assess the issue.
#4 – Monitor Progress
Four, monitor the progress. If the person assigned to resolve the issue hasn’t done so by the time requested, escalate promptly. Don’t let it drag on and on, continually logging the status as ongoing. Escalate it to the proper authority as defined in the project plan on how issues are managed. Also, escalate properly; know when and when not to escalate. Improper timing can result in an uproar over something insignificant, and issues that have a really big impact don’t get escalated in time, neither of which is a good scenario. Escalate promptly but properly.
#5 – Assess the Impact
Five, assess the impact. Issues can sit in the register for quite some time, and not really have an impact on the project; people are aware of them, report on their status and you monitor them, but then things change and the issue begins to impact the project exponentially. It’s important to assess impact as you go, always making sure that you don’t stop paying attention to the issue, or that the log continues to grow and grow.
#6 – Approve the Resolution
Six, approve the resolution. Once an issue is resolved, make sure the appropriate people have evaluated it and approve the resolution. Just because people say something’s resolved doesn’t mean you can check it off your list. Resolutions need firm approvals from those authorized to sign off on changes and issues. Have them review it carefully, approve and say it’s okay.
#7 – Close it Out
Lastly, close it out. Get it off the log, forget about it and move on.
If you found these tips from Jennifer Bridges, PMP (formerly, Jennifer Whitt) of value and are a PMP looking to earn PMI PDUs, you might be interested in her self-paced, downloadable courses at PDUs2Go.com.
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