Outcomes - That's What You Need to Focus on

Written by Alan Fairweather

Successful business owners and managers need to be very clear about what outcomes they want. Whether you call them goals, objectives or targets, these arerepparttar factors that you're ultimately judged on. Outcomes determine whether your business is a success or a failure.

If you're an employed manager, you'll find them in your job description or contract and I'm sure your boss will concentrate on them at your next performance review. Outcomes are what you're paid to achieve.

Many business owners and managers allow themselves to be distracted and diverted from their outcomes. They get involved in all sorts of situations that take their "eye offrepparttar 119432 ball."

I regularly run a workshop for managers called - "Managing Your Priorities." Atrepparttar 119433 start ofrepparttar 119434 workshop I askrepparttar 119435 managers to draw a map on a large sheet of flip chart paper of allrepparttar 119436 things they do in their job. They almost inevitably fill that page with all sorts of tasks and activities. More often than not they surprise themselves with what's onrepparttar 119437 page.

I then ask them to identify and mark with a large cross, their real priorities, andrepparttar 119438 outcomes that they're ultimately judged on. Out of allrepparttar 119439 tasks and activities onrepparttar 119440 page they usually cross only five or six priorities and sometimes less. (You might want to try this exercise yourself sometime).

What we do find however is thatrepparttar 119441 priorities that they cross are not allocatedrepparttar 119442 time they deserve on a day to day basis. The managers will often blame their senior manager for many ofrepparttar 119443 tasks which divert them from their priorities, which is perfectly fair. However there are many tasks that a manager takes on because:

1.They don't like to say "no" or - 2.They don't trust anyone else to do it or - 3.They just 'like' to do it themselves.

I then spend time inrepparttar 119444 workshop showing managers how to communicate with their senior manager and their other colleagues in order to minimiserepparttar 119445 number of tasks that don't contribute to their outcomes.

Many managers fall intorepparttar 119446 trap of believing that their manager will understand why they haven't hit their target or quota. They seem to think that becauserepparttar 119447 senior manager has handed out all sorts of other tasks, then they'll accept your failure to achieve your target.

Well let me tell you now - they won't!

Some business owners believe that their bank manager or investors will understand allrepparttar 119448 reasons why they haven't achieved their business outcomes. However, as I'm sure you know, bank managers and investors only want to hear that you've achieved what you said you'd do.

The successful business owner or manager keeps very focussed on outcomes and doesn't allow anyone or anything to divert them without good reason.

It's also important to focus on outcomes as far as your team are concerned. Sometimesrepparttar 119449 people in your team will be only too happy to do other little jobs and tasks that you ask them to do.

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[http://Issue-Tracker.GLM2.com/] 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[http://Issue-Tracker.GLM2.com/].

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.

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