7.4.5 Development of Issue Management Plan

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The Issue Management Plan describes how issues will be captured, tracked and prioritized during the project life cycle, as well as how and when issues will be escalated for resolution.

Project Issues are usually problems that may be raised at any time during the project by anyone with an interest in the project or its outcome. Indicative examples of project issues are:

A project team member will start working for the project later than it was initially planned
Severe thunderstorm is predicted in Larnaca where the new airport is being constructed
One of the team managers is transferred to another Contracting Authority
The Project Manager on behalf of the Contractor is taking another job. 
The Contracting Authority and the contractor share different views of the project scope

Issues that remain unresolved are likely to become major problems resulting in the need for initiating a change control process. It is therefore, very important to have an issue escalation and management process in place, and to execute this process before change control procedures become necessary.

During the Planning Phase, the Project Manager has to develop the Issue Management Plan which will be used from this point till the end of the project to ensure that every issue is formally resolved.

The Issue Management Plan describes how project issues will be:

captured
communicated
documented
prioritized
escalated
reviewed and finally
resolved

by defining the issue management process to be followed, the documentation to be used, as well as the roles and responsibilities of all human resources involved in the process.

The Issue Management Plan may include the following:

Table 7-1: Typical contents of the Issue Management Plan

Issue Management process: It refers to the process that will be used to perform issue management on the project.

Indicative issue management process, which can be used in almost all projects, is the following:

Step 1: Identification of Project Issues 

Any member of the Project Team or the Project Management Team (Issue Originator) who identifies an issue applicable to a particular aspect of the project (e.g. time, scope etc), completes an Issue Form (template is provided in Annex 7-4) and forwards it to the Project Manager.

Step 2: Register Issue

The Project Manager reviews all Issue Forms and examines whether each issue identified is applicable to the project and has an impact on its implementation.
If the issue is considered “related to the project” the Project Manager registers it in the Issue Log (template is provided in Annex 7-5) and assigns to it an ID. The Project Manager evaluates also the level of issues impact on the project and decides whether its resolution will be of high, medium or low priority.

Step 3: Assign Actions to resolve issues

The Project Manager can proceed with issue handling only when the consequences of the resolving actions are not expected to go beyond the tolerance margins that the Project Steering Committee has set for the project or when the issue itself is inside his/her authority limits. In these cases, the Project Manager may decide:
oto assign actions for the issue resolution to certain project team members
oto raise a project risk if the issue is likely to impact the project in the future
oto raise a change request (or ask the Contractor to raise a change request) if the issue results in the need for a change to the project/ contract
oto close the issue if this is not impacting the project anymore
In case that the consequences of the resolving actions are expected to go beyond the tolerance margins or when the issue itself is outside the authority limits of Project Manager, the latter escalates the issue to the Project Steering Committee for deciding about the resolving actions.
The Project Steering Committee reviews the issues registered and after a discussion during which the Project Manager recommends actions, decides either to:
oAdopt Project Managers recommendations and assign actions for the issue resolution to certain Project Team Members or to the Project Manager, or

Note: It must be noted that in case of projects implemented by contractors, a recommendation could be to ask the contractor to take actions for resolving an issue that was originated by his performance.

oto raise a project risk if the issue is likely to impact the project in the future, or
oto raise a change request (or ask the Contractor to raise a change request) if the issue results in the need for a change to the project/ contract, or
oto close the issue if this is not impacting the project anymore.

Step 4: Scheduling and Implement Actions for issue resolution

The Project Manager schedules the implementation of the actions assigned by him or by the Project Steering Committee. He/ She also informs the people who have been assigned to implement the issue resolution actions on what exactly they have to do and when.
People assigned to perform each scheduled action, do so.

Step 5: Monitoring and controlling Issue Resolution Actions

The Project Manager:
omonitors the implementation of each issue resolution action and reviews its success
oupdates the Issue Log by writing down the implementation date of the issue resolution action 
ocommunicates the results of the action taken to the Project Steering Committee
Issue Management Documents: It refers to the documentation used to identify, track and control issues related to the project.

Indicative management documents which can be used in almost all projects are the following: Issue Form (the document which is completed by a member of the project team in order to inform the Project Manager for a new issue) and Issue Log (Issue Register). The template for Issue Log is provided in Annex 7-5, while the Issue Form is provided in Annex 7-4.

Normally the Issue Form includes:

Name of the Project
Description of the issue
Description of the issues impact
Proposal for issue resolution actions
Section for approval.
Roles and Responsibilities. It refers to the roles and responsibilities of all human resources involved in the identification, review and resolution of project issues.

Indicative roles and responsibilities are:

Issue Originator

The issue originator identifies the issue and reports it to the Project Manager, so he is responsible for:

documenting the issues he/ she identified (refer to Issue Form – Annex 7-4) and
submitting the Issue Form to the Project Manager for review.

Project Manager

The Project Manager is responsible for:

reviewing all Issue Forms submitted by the issue originators
registering all issues in the Issue Log
determine and assign resolution actions (only in cases that the consequences of the resolving actions are not expected to go beyond the tolerance margins that the Project Steering Committee has set for the project or when the issue itself is inside his/her authority limits)
presenting the identified issues and the recommended actions to the Project Steering Committee (in all other cases)
communicating the decisions made by the Project Steering Committee to the people who are assigned to perform the resolution actions
monitoring the progress of the resolution actions assigned and update the Issue Log

Project Steering Committee

The Project Steering Committee is responsible for:

reviewing all issues presented by the Project Manager
allocating issue resolution actions

 

 

 

 


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