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An issue is a problem that will impede the progress of the project and cannot be totally resolved by the project team. Here are three pieces of advice when managing issues on your project.
True Issues Must be Resolved Quickly
Issues will impede your project's progress. Therefore if a problem is indeed being classified as an issue, the project manager must take responsibility for getting it resolved. By the same reasoning, if there is no urgency to resolve the issue or if the issue has been active for some time, you should look again to see if it really is an issue. It may be a potential problem (risk) or it may be an action item that needs to be resolved at some later point. Issues by their nature must be resolved with a sense of urgency.
Sometimes You have to Make Decisions Among Bad Alternatives
After reviewing the process and the techniques for managing issues, you may think that you should be able to successfully resolve every issue if you only knew the right technique. In fact, you may find some issues that do not have good, clean solutions. It may be difficult in some cases to determine any good options for resolution. Other times, issues arise that are hard to resolve not because of a lack of options, but because of the difficulty gaining approval and resolution among a number of alternatives. In other cases, you may have a number of options that are less than optimal, and the ultimate resolution may be one that is the least offensive.
An example of this dilemma is an issue that involves internal politics. Usually when a problem starts to get mixed up with internal politics, you will find that the resolution is difficult because there is more to the decision-making process than a cool examination of the facts. When a problem becomes political, in fact, a resolution may be approved that is actually far less than optimum for the project team. However, a less-than-perfect solution may be preferable to deadlock or the prospect of an even worse alternative approved.
Look for Common Causes for Multiple Issues in a Short Timeframe
Sometimes you may encounter a number of issues in a short timeframe. If this happens on your project, look to see if some are related. If so, try to resolve the issue that looks like more of a root cause. The resolution of this issue may substantially resolve others.
If the issues look independent, try to resolve those with the most negative impact on the project first.