<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=290086984736480&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Search
word-map-thumb

The Alternative Board Blog

Project Plan Issues

Jan. 29, 2013 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
toolbox_bg-1

Project Management for Small Business XII

One of my colleagues says:

"You have issues and I have tissues."

As any project proceeds, there will invariably be issues that have to be addressed, and dealing with issues is where a good project manager can really shine. Some project managers choose to not tackle the thornier issues, and hope that big problems will disappear.  Sometimes, the project succeeds despite a bad project manager. Sometimes, the project will fail.  Ignoring a problem is never a solution; a good project manager will face the tough issues, and resolve them.

In order for issues to be properly surfaced and addressed, the right tone needs to be set with the team at the start of the project. The first project meeting is a great place for the project manager to display a willingness to resolve issues in front of their team.  It’s very important that all members of your team understand the tone of the project culture. The team needs to be open and honest. The project manager should ask the entire team two questions at this meeting:

Does everyone agree to be open and honest with me and with fellow team members about issues that are presenting obstacles to successfully completing this project?

If another team member identifies an issue with you or your work, do you agree to accept open and honest feedback and commit to addressing the issue for the best interest of the project?

 

300px-OpenPM_velocity
 
                                                              Open Project Manager screenshot - velocity (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 These questions might seem too obvious, but it’s my experience that asking these questions is a great way to set the cultural tone for a project where issues can be meaningfully addressed. If a strict standard is not set, team members will feel reluctant to bring up issues and accept criticism if they are part of a problem. Team members may be reluctant to raise an issue that they know is hurting the project since they fear hurting someone's feelings or causing resentment. By gaining agreement from team members from the outset to raise issues and solve problems, the team and the project manager has the license to tackle issues that are getting in the way.

All projects should have a running issue list:

  • Short description of the issue
  • Impact of issue to the project if not addressed
  • Date the issue opened
  • Date the issue needs to be resolved by
  • Owner of the issue

Recording when the issue was first identified is very important. This will expose chronic issues which are not getting addressed. The longer an issue is open without getting addressed, the more detrimental it is to a project.

Want additional insight? Download Easy Ways to Improve Your Company Culture

DOWNLOAD

Once you have your issues identified, focus on solving them. Here are the recommended best practices for resolving issues:

  • Make sure the root cause issue is identified. Sometimes, the issue may reflect a symptom. For example, the issue may be that the scope is not complete. The underlying issue may be that the team member working on the scope does not fully understand the domain of the project.
  • Be sure that you have first hand information on all issues.
  • Review the issue list at each weekly status meeting.
  • Focus on the issues in priority order. Those with greatest impact on the project should be addressed first.
  • Encourage dissension. Sometimes the unconventional thinking leads to a better solution; sometimes it doesn't. It's my experience that unconventional thinking is always worth hearing.
  • Issues cannot always be solved by consensus. The project manager may have to take unpopular positions at times which are in the best interest of the project.
  • If an issue is discussed multiple times by the project team without resolution, the issue should be escalated. The project stakeholder(s) should get involved.
  • Once the solution is identified, document the resolution clearly. Often team members can take away slightly different understandings of what was agreed. Make sure the resolution is written down and sent to all team members so that nothing is murky.

As a final recommendation, avoid the drama. Some issues are greater than others. If an issue exists but is not impacting the project, it might not need to be addressed. When issues do impact your project, following these guidelines should remove obstacles and clear a path to project success.

Read our 19 Reasons You Need a Business Owner Advisory Board

DOWNLOAD

Written by The Alternative Board Worldwide

Related posts

Prepare Employees for the Future of Work
Sep. 3, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
No one can say with certainty what the future of work will look like. But many elements are already in place, and employers should think long and hard about how their workplace will evolve as the...
How to be an Effective Manager in a Small Business
Jul. 23, 2019 | Posted by Ronita Mohan
People are what make up a business and managing them is one of the key tasks of any business owner or managerial level employee. Being an effective manager at a small business requires you to...
What's the Difference Between Business Development and Sales?
Jul. 18, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
At first glance, there doesn’t appear to be much distinction between business development and sales. Aren’t both activities geared towards generating more profit for the organization? Isn’t a sales...
5 Customer Acquisition Strategies that Spur Growth
Jul. 9, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
Maintaining a strong base of existing clients is essential for every business, but acquiring new customers is equally important. Without an influx of new and prospective customers, a business may...
5 Tips to Effectively Scale Business Growth
Jun. 27, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
All businesses need to grow, but at what pace and how quickly should they scale that growth? These questions intrigue (and sometimes torment) business owners, because there’s no single “right” answer...
How to Generate Word-of-Mouth Sales Referrals
Jun. 25, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
Think about how you choose to make your purchase. There’s research you do online, or perhaps you’ve bought a product or service from a particular company before, and you’re comfortable doing so...
Create a Customer Satisfaction Survey that Gets Results
Jun. 20, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
Crafting a customer survey that gauges satisfaction with your business isn’t as easy as it looks. If the survey is comprised of misleading questions, or comes burdened with too many instructions,...
4 Tips on Creating a “Customer Experience” Strategy
Jun. 6, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
In your company, how much thought is given to the quality of interactions between your customers and your business? The experience your customers have when interacting with your brand can make all...
Are You Looking to Expand Your Business?
Jun. 4, 2019 | Posted by Phil Spensieri, TAB York Region
Over the years, I’ve coached many business owners as they’ve worked to expand their business. Whether it’s the physical expansion of your office space, expanding your workforce, or investing in new...
Turning Loyal Customers into Brand Ambassadors
May. 30, 2019 | Posted by The Alternative Board Worldwide
Gaining loyal customers is just the first step in an effective growth strategy. For many companies, the hunt is on for individuals who are so taken by their products or services that they are willing...