Monday, April 25, 2016

10 factors 7: issues

7.    Issues. Jump on issues as soon as they are identified. Prioritize and resolve them before they impact on your project. Take pride in keeping issues to a minimum.

Minor matters that the PM and his or her team must deal with pop up ALL THE TIME on any active project of non-trivial scope.

People usually end up with an 'issues log' sitting in an Excel spreadsheet. I advise against this. Excel is far from bullet proof and using it for mission critical information is courts disaster, even if you have a rigorous nightly redundant back up plan.

Using a bug-tracking tool from our IT developer friends might be a solution, or a custom built Access database  could be suitable. You could, of course, go the whole way and build a project information management system in Access that ties issues, risks and actions to project elements, work items, contributors (suppliers, partners, owners, approvers, etc.) and deliverables.

Examples are: Meridian Systems and, at the simpler end,  Project Perfect.

Prominent issues need to be tracked in production meetings and quickly updated. However, issues are only part of it. Decision items need to be tracked as well. What decision is required when and from whom. "Issues" aside, decision delays can be worse than an unresolved question on a project.