Issues are events that have occurred, are occurring, or are certain to occur that potentially have a negative effect on a project. It is not uncommon for risks to be misidentified as issues and vice versa. A careful evaluation of the event and its likelihood is important in ensuring the effective management of the project. Issues not addressed appropriately may lead to additional unforeseen risks.
Issue Management can be broken down into five main steps.
Step 1: Issue Identification
Issues can be events from the past, present or future. Past issues can be identified through a retrospective assessment of the project. For present and future issues, project members need to ask, “What problems have or will occur?”
Source: DoD, http://bbp.dau.mil/docs/RIO-Guide-Jun2015.pdf
Step 2: Issue Analysis
Once issues are identified, the possible consequences of the issues are then explored. A thorough analysis of the consequences will aid in assessing how critical an issue is.
Step 3: Issue Handling
Armed with all the relevant information, teams will then decide on how to handle the issue. Given how critical an issue is and its likely consequences, an issue can be avoided, accepted, transferred or mitigated.
Step 4: Issue Monitoring
The issue has now been handled according to the chosen approach. The issue is continuously monitored to see whether the initial assessments on the consequences and handling are correct. Relevant changes in assessment factors may require teams to return to the previous steps.
Step 5: Issue Management
Key personnel will be assigned to all identified issues. On the resolution of critical and high priority issues, issue management strategies are vetted at the program management level or higher, and resources are made available to ensure their correct execution.
The steps outlined above are indicative. Communication and feedback are necessary between steps to ascertain what the next line of action is best in resolving the issue.
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