Issues management is the process of documenting and resolving project Issues.
Issues Management: What are Project Issues?
Issues are questions or concerns that arise during any/all project phases for which the project manager and/or project team doesn’t have an immediate response or solution e.g. Is Bob a stakeholder on this project? Some Issues may have a huge impact on the project, while others have a very minor affect.
Issues Management: Are Issues the same as Action Items?
Action Items are small discrete tasks that must be accomplished, usually by a single individual. They are often identified and assigned during project team meetings e.g. Mary will create a list of current stakeholders. Any Issue can be turned an Action Item by assigning it to someone to resolve e.g. Carl will call Bob to find out if he is a stakeholder on this project. So all Issues can be transformed into Action Items.
Issues Management: Are Issues the same as Risks?
No. A Risk is an uncertain event that may occur in the future e.g. We are concerned that Carl may be pulled off our project to work on a higher priority project. Risks should be managed using a Risk Management process, and documented in a Risk Register. However, a Risk that has occurred has no uncertainty any more, and so it might be documented as an Issue at that point e.g. Carl has left the project and we had no contingency plan in place. What are we doing to do?
Issues Management: What is an Issues Log (or Action Item Log)?
As part of your Issues Management, you’ll probably want to a single place to keep track of your issues and action items, to make sure things don’t fall through the cracks – this is your Issues Log. If you create a log in Word or Excel, then you’ll probably need column headings that look like this:
- Issue Number
- Priority (Red/Orange/Yellow)
- Followup Actions / Resolution
- Responsibility Individual
- Status (Open/Closed)
- Date Opened
- Date Closed
At Key Consulting we’ve created a simple Issues Management database using Microsoft Access that you can download from our free project management templates page.