Managing Project Issues – 17 Tips for Project Managers

Editorial Team

Managing Project Issues

Dealing with project issues is a fundamental task for project managers and their team members. A person should itemize issues to analyze, discuss, and resolve the problems that arise. Issues are the obstacles that one encounters during the implementation of a project; they impede the smooth running of the plan. Many project managers often ignore the project issues, and somewhere along the way, they discover that their schemes are way off the track. Overlooking project issues may turn out to be a significant risk to the plan, and it certain circumstances one is forced to close the project.

Handling issues is an integral part of the project works especially long-term projects. There are several ways in which one can mitigate issues. When a team develops a good issue management process helps in identifying and dealing with matters appropriately and thoroughly.

There are several ways in which one can identify and take charge of the issues. They include:

1. Anything That Hinders The Progress Of Your Project Is An Issue

Things that hamper the development of your project are issues; an item that stops your project from progressing is an obstacle that must be eliminated. This step is a main issue-identifying technique. Removing the barrier at an issue level prevents it from developing into a risk; it should be eradicated at the initial stage when it is still small.

2. Knowing That Issues Are Different From Risks

The long list of topics should not encompass risks. When you identify a threat during the highlighting of an issue, you should capture it on a separate list of risks. Confusing the two items may prove to be disastrous for the business; this is because one fails to notice the small obstacle (issue) and focuses on significant glitches (risks).

3. Identifying Issues

The manager should brainstorm through the project’s problems with all the stakeholders and team members. The manager should go through all the factors that are crucial to the project’s completion; the team members should be asked to raise their concerns and proposals. The issues identified should relate with the project’s requirements, the technology applied, material acquired, budget drawn, the people involved, the quality served, the suppliers required, and the legislation is affecting the scheme. Any other element of the issues can also be highlighted.

4. Take Notes On The Issue And Share Them With The Team

Project managers should note down the problems and share them with the clients, stakeholders, and team members. The notes help the team identify new issues and ways of resolving them. Documentation of the conversations assists managers to incorporate the ideas of stakeholders in the resolution plan. The team will also have a document to refer back to when similar issues arise.

5. Listening To Comments And Views From Project Team Members

There are times when simple statements from team meetings can highlight issues that may affect the project. Sometimes these issues come out as non-sureties. Team members include shareholders and other stakeholders. A project manager should be able to itemize and analyze the subject matter raised by the team member. Things that have not been covered in the business requirements should also be outlined and resolved.

6. Establish A Likelihood And Impact Of The Issues On The Project

Determine how likely a problem is expected to transpire (on a scale of 1 to ten) and establish the consequence of each subject based on cost, time, quality, and the damages & benefits incurred (on a percentile scale of 0 to 100 percent). The scale measures the likelihood of the issue to occur and the estimate of the extent of the impact. This step helps the team to be prepared adequately for the item if it were to appear during the execution of the project.

7. Creating A Tracking Document

Using an Excel spreadsheet to track the project’s development helps you to reveal issues and manage them. The management is done by circulating the sheets and centrally storing the tracking document for easy access by the team members. The manager should have a list of the date, description of the problem, the people responsible for resolving the issue, and the time frame for the issue resolution. The list makes it easier to track the project’s development and also share the information with the team during meetings.

8. Creating A Register For Issues To Be Used By All The Team Members

The team members should be able to highlight the issues in the record. The catalog is not restricted for use by the project manager only. The obstacles raised should be visible to everyone to effectively control of the issues. The team resolves the issues when everyone gets access to them.

9. Make A Bigger List; It Increases The Span For Managing Issues

Having an elongated list of issues that are being tracked, worked on, and closed makes it easier to manage them. The long list increases the visibility of the issues and makes it easy to handle the problems. If the obstacles are not listed, then one may not know what to work on. Managers should encourage team members to highlight their issues on the list; this is beneficial to all the project’s stakeholders.

Designing a management register for the project in a spreadsheet helps in resolving the issues. The list should consist of the fields of date in which the issue was keyed in, the issue’s description, the effect of the problems, the response instigated, action implemented, and the status of the problem.

10. Take Time To Think It Through; Do Not Rush

Project issues often create the urgency and need to act on it immediately. Problems develop a feeling of immediate action and are usually urgent, but one should take some time to analyze the issue. The team members and stakeholders should devise an approach on how to handle matters correctly. The plan enables the team to fix problems when they arise. The plan should include:

  • The origin of the issue
  • The people who are experienced enough to handle the issues
  • The consequence of the issue
  • How the problems can be fixed

11. The Project Manager Should Not Take Matters Personally

Project managers tend to take the issues that arise as a personal responsibility. The project requires the team to complete. The matters may require the knowledge of the organization; the problems should be handled professionally with the involvement of the group.

12. Pinpointing Avenues For Improving The Project (Opportunities)

During the process of identifying issues, one should also be able to pinpoint the underlying risks and opportunities. The positive aspects such as opportunities should be outlined. The events that affect the project positively should also be included. For example, what would be the impression created if the project thrived? Even as you plan to deal with issues, you should be able to anticipate excess successes.

13. Consign Owners To Each Issue

Every member of the team should receive a task (matter) to deal with. Spreading points across the team speed up the process of eliminating the obstacles. A particular individual who is comfortable and knowledgeable to deal with a specific topic should be assigned to track it. The consignment should involve team members and shareholders to get the best possible outcome from it. List the best possible actions and the timeframe within which they should be implemented.

14. Estimate The Cost Of The Issue

An estimation of the value of the problem should be done once the responses to the problems have been determined. How much will the team spend to rip off the problems that may arise? Avail a wide range of estimates; provide the best and worst case scenarios. Provide an average cost of the issues’ responses as a contingency plan.

15. Come Up With Responses To The Issues

The team manager and members should focus on the issues that are likely to happen and cause a more significant effect (the estimation is metered on a scale). This stage helps you to identify how you can react to the issues and lower the impact and likelihood of the subject appears again. To lessen the emergence of the problems the team should ask questions such as why the problem will emerge, how it will portray itself, and what ways can we use to handle the problems?

16. Work Out A Resolution Plan

There are few ways in which a project manager can help to eliminate project issues. The manager should bring together the resources available to come up with the best decisions possible. The manager should maintain the highest level of professionalism and be on the lookout for potential issues that may develop into risks.

17. Regularly Review And Report On The Issues

A regular assessment of the issues helps to monitor the improvement of the issue and also find out if new problems have emerged. Evaluating the project issues should be done throughout the undertaking of the project. Provide an assessment report of the evaluation; the problems with a higher weight on the scale should be closely monitored. Discuss the top issues affecting the project with the executives, shareholders, and members of the team.