This is the second installment in a Project Management series on key project performance indicators used to monitor and evaluate a project’s health and wellness. The next KPPI relates to the governance of project issues.
KPPI #2: Effectiveness of Managing & Escalating Issues.
Within the Project Integration knowledge area you will find processes for governing and handling project issues. These steps focus on the procedures for identifying, tracking, monitoring, escalating and resolving issues. Let’s face it, every project will has issues. Keeping track of issues in a notebook is not a scale-able or reliable process. Nor will it provide the level of visibility needed by the implementation or management teams.
Take an honest look at how you are managing project issues. First and foremost, ensure there is a governance process defined that includes a collaborative manner for logging, assigning, prioritizing and tracking issues. Next, validate that there is a safety net for handling high impact, unresolved issues. The project management team needs to have an escalation path that can be regularly followed to communicate the types of issues that are high-impact and lingering. If an issue is high-impact and is not able to be resolved, chance are the project is heading into dangerous waters. Other things to consider when evaluating the effectiveness of issue governance include:
- Does every issue have an owner responsible for trying to solve it?
- Is there an issue “close by” date that identifies when an issue should be closed by? ie. if this date is not met, the issue will begin to impact the critical path. This might also be called an “escalate” date.
- Does the project team (as a whole) regularly review the issue listing ?
- Are issue resolutions tracked for future reference if/when they recur?
- Does the project team have an escalation path identified? Is the escalation process being utilized?
- Are there any political or organizational roadblocks preventing the use/effectiveness of the escalation process?
- Are issues sitting in an unresolved state due to conditions outside the control of the Project team? (These might be related to technology, departmental procedures or resource constraints in a matrix organization)
- Are there others within the organization that can assist in issue resolution; but require project sponsor involvement to delegate?
One final thought on issues. Every quarter or so, take a step back and look for occurrence patterns. Is there a particular department within the organization that is a common or high-frequency source of issues?
- Is there a particular resource (person or technology) that is generating a disproportionate number of issues?
- Is there an ineffective process or procedure that is generating issues ?
Through the identification of issue patterns, the project manager may be able to take a more global approach to resolution. Stepping back to look at the bigger picture may allow for address the real issue and not just the symptom of a bigger problem.
Every project governance check-up should include a deep dive into how issues are being managed. Provide a forum for the team to provide their perspective on the effectiveness of issue tracking and be open to adjusting the process to align with the unique aspect and characteristic of the project. A quick tune-up and course correction may prevent future schedule slippage. Don’t let unresolved issues become project risks that have the potential to derail your success.
Folllow me on Twitter @JanetDahmen
Janet is Avout’s Delivery Services Partner who focuses on ensuring the overall effectiveness and quality of each engagement. She has over 20 years of project management experience in the IT industry, specializing in Oracle new technology implementations.