Issue Management

If you think that your project has no issues, then you should be very worried, its not so much that you haven’t got issues, its that you don’t know what they are.

It is not showing weakness to get your project issues out in the open, its more a case of sticking your head in the sand until they cause you problems, and they almost certainly will.

So on to the topic in hand, Issue Management, well what is it?

Issue Management is the process of getting all of your know issues out in the open, documented, thought about and given to owners to either mitigate them or resolve them. This isn’t all on you, although as the project manager you want to own the risk register.

The risk register can be a simple excel spreadsheet with a list of all know issues, you can start by getting the risks out of your head into the spreadsheet and then draft in other project members to brainstorm the rest.

Once you have the issues down in the spreadsheet, you can work through them identifying in a similar way to a risk register which are the big ones with the most impact.

Your next task is to identify owners for each of the issues, it is the owners responsibility to either resolve the issue or mitigate its potential effect.

As the owner of the issues register, it is your responsibility to periodically call the issue owners to account and confirm the issue status. Once an issue is closed down, or resolved, it is marked as such, do not delete it as you will want the history to remain available for the end of project wash up or along the way if anyone raises the same issue.

If your project meetings are often enough, then the issues register can become an agenda item, not only will it remind the attendees to check on their issues, it will enable you to maintain an accurate status of the issues and their history. Depending on the type of project you are running, you may need to have an internal and external issue register as internal issues may not be appropriate for an external audience.

Jason Pope