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Issue Management

“Issue management deals with the capture, reporting, and escalation of issues identified throughout the life cycle of a project. The objective of this procedure is to capture, log, and track project issues from initiation through closure. The timely management of issues is extremely important to the delivery of a successful project. The elements to timely issue resolution include early identification, communication to all affected parties, and vigilant management through closure.”

Definition

“An issue is a potential change. It is any question or concern that arises that may impact cost, schedule, or project quality. If left unresolved, the issue will become a change to the project.”

“Three important points to remember about issues are:

  1. Issue identification is the responsibility of every team member.
  2. Issues can be incidents of a risk. Review the risk assessment model to identify mitigating actions when addressing these issues.
  3. Issues can arise at any point during the project.”

Capture

“Issues should be captured, retained, and tracked through a repository (Issues Management Log) that will retain all issues, including historical information. Each issue should include, at a minimum, the date the issue is captured (logged); the name of the person initiating the issue (originator); a description of the issue; the actual or potential impact of the issue on the project; the issue priority; the name of the person the issue is assigned to for resolution (owner); the target date for resolution; the issue status; a description of what was done to resolve the issue; links to any documents pertaining to the resolution; the issue closure date; the subject matter expert; and, when required, an escalation age and date.”

Prioritization

“Issues should be prioritized using a mutually agreed upon method between the business and technical organizations or by using the following guidelines:

  • Priority 1 Must be resolved within 24 hours
  • Priority 2 Must be resolved within 48 hours
  • Priority 3 Must be resolved within 72 hours
  • Priority 4 Must have a resolution date that is agreed upon between the originator and the owner of the issue.”

Reporting

“Issues should be reported and tracked. Following are some useful guidelines:

  • Issue management should be an agenda item in the weekly status meeting.
  • All issues are reported on the weekly project status report.
  • All issues are maintained and updated on the central repository (issue log).
  • The status and disposition of all issues are updated weekly.
  • Issues presented on the weekly project status report include all open issues and those closed since the last status report.
  • A current issue log is maintained and filed in the project notebook, each week.”

Escalation

“Escalation is used to resolve project issues in a timely manner following an agreed upon escalation path. A delay in resolving an issue may result in the generation of a change request. The actual procedure for escalation is left to the project manager and the project sponsor. Issues may be escalated based on aging (length of time since received), missing a target date, or severity of impact to the completion date or budget.”

“The highest point of escalation is normally the Project Steering Committee. The escalation roles should be identified in the project charter roles and responsibilities sections as well.”

Closure

“Closing issues is very important, whether they are resolved or converted to changes. Following is a set of guidelines for closing issues:

  • An issue is reported as closed when the action taken by the owner is satiisfactory to the originator.
  • Only the originator may close an issue.
  • The issue originator who is advising closure should send a memo or e-mail to the project manager.
  • The project manager should keep a copy of all closure advices in the project notebook.
  • All issues are maintained for historical purposes in the issue log.”