<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=349935452247528&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Search
word-map-thumb

The Alternative Board Blog

Project Plan Issues - Project Management for Small Business

Jan. 29, 2013 | Posted by The Alternative Board
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

Related posts

13 Lessons In What NOT To Do In Your Business
Jun. 9, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
There are many things successful business owners consciously steer clear of while going about running and growing their business. We asked 13 TAB members what they believe entrepreneurs should...
Let Employee Recognition Drive Your Culture
Jun. 4, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
All businesses claim to value their employees and to be committed to a culture that recognizes and rewards employee achievements. But success in this effort may be elusive, particularly if employers...
14 Habits Of Highly Successful Business Owners
May. 21, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
Success doesn't happen by chance. Highly successful entrepreneurs share many habits, and they often incorporate small practices into their daily routine. We asked our TAB members what habits have...
Use Your Company Culture as a Competitive Advantage
May. 18, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
Every business needs a competitive edge, whether it’s in the quality of their products or services, their dedication to customers, or some other aspect they can leverage to outdo their competitors....
When the Time Comes to Fire a Family Member
May. 11, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
Terminating an employee isn’t something business owners and CEOs relish. When the situation demands some drastic action, however, it’s necessary to follow through for the good of the business. The...
17 Essential Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs - Part 1
May. 10, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
While a great idea and some capital may be essential for a successful business, the most critical ingredient for a successful venture remains the entrepreneur. This is why many successful venture...
How to Sell During Times of Uncertainty
May. 6, 2021 | Posted by Phil Spensieri
If your business is struggling right now, you may be wondering if there’s anything you can do to improve your sales. While there’s no guarantee that any specific strategy will accomplish this during...
Managing Family Business Conflicts
Apr. 29, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
Small business owners and CEOs have plenty to contend with as part of their normal daily operations. When the business is family-owned, a different crop of challenges may emerge. That’s because “the...
Tips on Effective Business Succession Planning
Apr. 27, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
With many family businesses, the time to think about succession planning starts on Day One. It’s a complicated subject, sometimes fraught with emotional baggage, but is critically important,...
6 Tips on Making a Family Business Partnership Work
Apr. 20, 2021 | Posted by The Alternative Board
We often hear stories about the difficulties of making a family business partnership successful. Yes, there are unique hurdles that differ from other types of business models, but with the right...