Issue Management Methodology for Tracking Project Issues

Written by Grant Murray

1. What is an Issue?

An issue is an incident, circumstance, problem or inquiry that affects or potentially affectsrepparttar timely delivery ofrepparttar 119431 project, product or service, it may also impactrepparttar 119432 quality of deliverables andrepparttar 119433 cost of production.

Some projects are ongoing andrepparttar 119434 definition of an issue is a little different. A help desk defines an issue as a request for help that requires a response. A service department keeps track of service requests as issues. A software maintenance group tracks reports of software bugs and enhancement requests as issues.

Because ofrepparttar 119435 impact issues have on a project, product development or ongoing service, issue management is an important aspect in any management methodology. This issue management methodology promises to makerepparttar 119436 handling of issues a seamless part of your larger scoped methodologies rather than a process separate from them.

It is usually not hard for team members to identify issues, but it is still worth having a working definition of an issue. Remember thatrepparttar 119437 more ambitious your projectrepparttar 119438 more issues will arise.

Action item: The project team must be made aware of what issues are, provide some examples, and ask other team members to provide some examples.

2. Requirements

A central repository of issue information easily accessible to all team members, because it is good for team morale and productivity to know that their issues are being addressed. An automated central repository like Issue Tracker[] is desirable because it makerepparttar 119439 issue management and reporting much easier.

Action item: Choose a central repository for your issues.

An issue manager isrepparttar 119440 person chosen to oversee all issues. It can berepparttar 119441 project manager, team leader or another person in a responsible leadership position. The issue manager is responsible for making sure that there is consistent, disciplined and continuous progress made on all issues. The issue manager is accountable to upper management forrepparttar 119442 progress made on all issues. The issue manager communicates issue progress torepparttar 119443 team, upper management and all stakeholders.

Action item: Appoint an Issue Manager and notifyrepparttar 119444 issue manager of their role and responsibilities.

This issue management methodology represents best practice for managing issues. However,repparttar 119445 goal is to have a successful project, product development or service,repparttar 119446 goal is not to follow a methodology fanatically.

Action item: Adaptrepparttar 119447 methodology so your project's success is maximized.

3. Steps

3.1 Discovery

Issues can arise at any time. When an issue is discovered it is recorded inrepparttar 119448 central repository.

It is important to allow issues to be recorded by a broad group of people including team members, upper management, users, customers, stakeholders, vendors and contractors. It is important because if there are barriers to reporting an issue then there is an increased chance thatrepparttar 119449 issue will go unrecorded. You cannot address issues that you do not know about. It is not necessary that everyone has access to central repository, butrepparttar 119450 more you can allowrepparttar 119451 better.

Action item: Set up access torepparttar 119452 central repository for those people that need it.

3.2 Recording

Training people to identify issues is often unnecessary, however getting people to recordrepparttar 119453 issue inrepparttar 119454 central repository will take some training and encouragement. For example, a team member may mention an unrecorded issue torepparttar 119455 project manager during a coffee break or other informal occasion, this team member needs some encouragement to record such issues inrepparttar 119456 central repository.

For all kinds of issues, prevention is better than correction. Also, issues tend to be less severe if they are addressed earlier rather than later. This means that every effort should be made to report issues as soon as they are discovered, instead of waiting forrepparttar 119457 issue to become "serious enough" before recording it. Do not be afraid of duplicating an issue or overlapping with existing issues, it is better than missing an issue.

A complete description ofrepparttar 119458 cause ofrepparttar 119459 issue should be recorded inrepparttar 119460 central repository. Resistrepparttar 119461 temptation to describerepparttar 119462 issue in terms of a solution. Any implication ofrepparttar 119463 issue should be recorded. Attach any supporting documentation, screenshots, report output, faxes, error messages and other media that describesrepparttar 119464 issue.

The person who is recordingrepparttar 119465 issue can make a recommendation for a solution, if they have one. This person should also assignrepparttar 119466 issue if possible, even if it is only assigned torepparttar 119467 issue manager for re-assignment.

When an issue is initially recorded it should be recorded inrepparttar 119468 central repository with a status code that reflectsrepparttar 119469 fact that it is new issue and has not been reviewed. An attempt should also be made to categorize and rankrepparttar 119470 severity ofrepparttar 119471 issue.

The date and who createdrepparttar 119472 issue should be recorded inrepparttar 119473 central repository. This is done automatically for you in systems like Issue Tracker[].

Many teams describe issues in terms ofrepparttar 119474 desired solution, leaving others to deducerepparttar 119475 actual issue. This is not best practice since it limitsrepparttar 119476 scope of possible creative solutions. As an example a badly worded issue: "We need more people." There is no indication in this example of whatrepparttar 119477 issue actually is, so finding alternative solutions is impossible. Ifrepparttar 119478 example issue had been worded as "The shipping department has swamped us with product, there is a possibility of spoilage if we cannot getrepparttar 119479 product delivered." Withrepparttar 119480 issue worded this way perhapsrepparttar 119481 shipping department can become aware of how there actions are causing issues downrepparttar 119482 line and adapt their actions.

3.3 Initial Review

The initial review is a triage of new issues. It is usually performed byrepparttar 119483 issue manager or deputies who are familiar withrepparttar 119484 scope and priorities ofrepparttar 119485 project. Ifrepparttar 119486 team is smallrepparttar 119487 entire team can meet forrepparttar 119488 review. For each new issuerepparttar 119489 status, category and severity are reviewed andrepparttar 119490 issue assigned to someone for action and optionally an owner is identified as follows.

Sometimesrepparttar 119491 same person who recordsrepparttar 119492 issue may be doingrepparttar 119493 initial review, so these two steps can be fused into one in this situation.

The Ten Pillars of Leadership and Business Development

Written by Bea Fields

Leadership is any influence relationship that brings about change…this can be a teacher/student relationship, a parent/child relationship, a politician/citizen relationship, a business owner/employee relationship, a community leader/volunteer relationship and peer/peer relationship. These ten guiding principles can support leaders in becoming trusted by their followers and for withstandingrepparttar challenges of today’s ever-changing world.

(1) Leaders must be willing to be highly visible during crisis.

Enron, WorldCom and Martha Stewart...Their greed and fraud have further eroded trust in people aroundrepparttar 119430 world, and as a result, corporations and business owners are now operating with a brand new set of rules. Building trust requires a special effort on behalf ofrepparttar 119431 CEO or Business Owner to communicate openly, honestly, and often…especially during crisis or tough times. During a crisis,repparttar 119432 stakeholders want to hear from their leader…they don’t want to hear from his or her spokesperson. They not only want to hear fromrepparttar 119433 person at they top…they want to engage in open communication that involvesrepparttar 119434 sharing of information and ideas, and they want to know that their voice has been heard. During turbulent times, it is important to take advantage of all types of opportunities for communication, including open forums, task forces, breakfast meetings,repparttar 119435 media, one on one meetings, and stakeholder surveys. More formal forms of communication strategies includerepparttar 119436 360 degree feedback assessment or a full communications audit (which may take 2-6 months to complete.) The goal is to communicate openly and often and to continue assessing your communications program every day to insure that a culture of trust is being maintained.

(2) Leaders must be willing to take a stand- based on their vision and their values.

This does not happen in a vacuum…leaders must be willing to admit that they need strong support from an executive coach or a strong mentor who can guide them to doingrepparttar 119437 tough internal work required to shift their thinking and to get offrepparttar 119438 ego trip that many leaders live . They must be willing to carefully explore their values and how they can move their companies inrepparttar 119439 direction of a vision that is unwavering. This takes boldness, and a leader’s stand must be nailed intorepparttar 119440 ground and secured with cement...the stand must be so strong thatrepparttar 119441 leader does not become “wishy-washy” during tough times and inrepparttar 119442 face of controversy. Consistency is key, andrepparttar 119443 leader must know and believe in his or her stand on a very deep level...fromrepparttar 119444 heart...not becauserepparttar 119445 public relations director or Chief of Staff told him or her what to do or say. This is a genuine stand that is driven byrepparttar 119446 leader's authentic value system that never changes.

(3) Leaders must be willing to be fully engaged withrepparttar 119447 four focus areas of their being: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

These areas of being must also be congruent withrepparttar 119448 leader's environment. Leaders of today must be willing to be fully engaged...physically fit, emotionally balanced, mentally tough, and spiritually centered. Leading a strong life is a quest that many leaders run from, because it can be tough, but it is crucial if he/she wants to engage followers in a way that is trusting. I cannot help but think about Tiger Woods when I think about leaders being fully engaged. He is an example of a world leader who is a model of what I am describing. His body is fit, his mind is sharp, his emotions are solid, and his spiritual presence is inspiring. He is being followed by young men from all corners ofrepparttar 119449 world and viewed as an inspiring model and mentor inrepparttar 119450 world of golf.

In addition to strengtheningrepparttar 119451 four areas of being, leaders must be willing to create a strong that is congruent with leading a strong life. The environment must be clean, clutter-free and optimized for speed, efficiency, and effectivness. The people and network surroundingrepparttar 119452 leader must be moving forward and fundamentally strong, andrepparttar 119453 activities leaders choose must point to a life that is built for change and is rock solid. Ifrepparttar 119454 environment is not congruent withrepparttar 119455 goals a leader seeks, her resources, energy, and effectiveness will become drained over time, and people will no longer be willing and loyal followers. They will seek a stronger leader to turn to for direction and hope.

(4) Leaders must be willing to build deep pockets of social capital by designing a network based on diversity.

Inrepparttar 119456 book "Achieving Success through Social Capital", author Wayne Baker advocatesrepparttar 119457 building of networks based on diversity, In chapter 2, he states: "Diversity providesrepparttar 119458 benefits of multiple perspectives on problems, protection against groupthink, and enhanced ability to collect, process, and digest information. Management teams with members from diverse functional background, for example, perform better than homongenous management teams." Building a diverse network is a crucial step in leaders being able to build a strong business and personal life. It is not uncommon to see leaders develop homongenous networks...known commonly as cliques. This is a dangerous approach, becauserepparttar 119459 network does not developrepparttar 119460 arms and legs it needs to reachrepparttar 119461 four corners ofrepparttar 119462 globe, to getrepparttar 119463 resources and knowledge it needs, and it can actually cave in on itself, pullingrepparttar 119464 company down with it. By reaching into different cultures, ages, geographical locations, educational backrounds, and belief systems, leaders can build networks that will yieldrepparttar 119465 biggest results and that will be sustainable over time.

(5) Leaders must be willing to overcomerepparttar 119466 growing tide of cynicism inrepparttar 119467 business world and define an upbeat style of leadership.

Inrepparttar 119468 article “A Prescription for Leading in Cynical Times” authors James Kouzes and Barry Posner, authors ofrepparttar 119469 Leadership Challenge discuss this in detail. Cynics are evident in every company inrepparttar 119470 world. They usually believe that human conduct is motivated by self- interest, and they have a disbelief aboutrepparttar 119471 integrity of others. They have high expectations ofrepparttar 119472 world, and they are continually disappointed whenrepparttar 119473 people in their lives don’t meet those expectations. To begin working with this challenge, leaders must be willing to drop their own cynical "The World Stinks" attitude and developrepparttar 119474 qualities that others say are important to leadership such as integrity, competency,repparttar 119475 ability to relate, visioning, inspiration andrepparttar 119476 driverepparttar 119477 build a thriving and cohesive team.

(6) Leaders must be willing to pushrepparttar 119478 edges of innovation.

I want to begin by talking aboutrepparttar 119479 difference between innovation and creativity. William Coyne, senior vice president for R&D at 3M once describedrepparttar 119480 difference: "Creativity is thinking of new and appropriate ideas whereas innovation isrepparttar 119481 successful implementation of those ideas within an organization. In other words creativity isrepparttar 119482 concept and innovation isrepparttar 119483 process." Innovation always involves treading into uncertain waters, and entering a new territory can be challenging, even forrepparttar 119484 most creative of thinkers. Yet falling behind can be a great deal worse than takingrepparttar 119485 risk to stretch and grow into new markets with new ventures. If companies are to move intorepparttar 119486 future, leaders must be willing to pushrepparttar 119487 edges of innovation each and every day. Executing an experimental venture requires planning, and it requires revisiting ideas that your company may have put onrepparttar 119488 shelf years ago, and whose time has now come. It is about zeroing in onrepparttar 119489 best possible strategy, discovering what systems are needed and what processes will be required to getrepparttar 119490 job done and to come out onrepparttar 119491 profit side ofrepparttar 119492 venture. Your new offering should meetrepparttar 119493 demands of your customers and should be an improvement overrepparttar 119494 way things are currently being done. As Nike says “Just Do It.” Start today to beginrepparttar 119495 process of innovation, and see what comes about forrepparttar 119496 future of your company…you may just be surprised!

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