Tame Your Projects with an Issues Log

Become a project management deity by expecting the unexpected. Get-It-Done Guy explains how.

Stever Robbins,
January 28, 2014
Episode #299

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Issues Log Delegation

The next part of an issue’s entry records the date it came up, a brief description of the issue and its impact, who has agreed to own the issue, and the due date for resolving it. The owner doesn’t necessarily solve the issue directly, they make sure it gets solved one way or another. Here's an example:

Issue 1: [insert today’s date] Description: Audrey 2s want a Persian rug. Impact: We can’t move them in and open the store until this is resolved. Due date: Next Monday Owner: Bernice

Some people say, “don’t report a problem without bringing a solution.” That’s foolish!

Melvin brought up the issue, but Bernice volunteered to handle it, so she’s the owner of issue #1. Some say “Don’t bring up problems unless you bring up solutions.” Foolishness! If Melvin spots a problem and doesn’t have a solution, that’s when the team most needs to know. Then they can put their collective brainpower to finding a resolution.

Be Obsessed With Status

The last two entries for an issue are the status and the resolution. The status is one word: open or closed. Open means the owner is working on the resolution. Closed means the issue is either solved or no longer an issue.

When an issue is closed, the resolution is recorded in a sentence or two. Bernice had a discussion with the Audrey 2s, in which she pointed out that a Persian rug was a fine idea, and would also be the perfect setting for a shrine to the Fire Goddess. Right next to the Audrey 2 enclosure. The Audrey 2s suddenly decided that instead of Persian rugs, industrial berber carpeting would be just dandy. Status: closed. Resolution: Install industrial berber carpeting, as planned.

How to Run Your Status Meeting

Now that the team had an issues log, I showed them how to run a status meeting. It’s really, really quick and easy. I love quick and easy meetings! Everyone has a copy of the issues log. For each open issue, the facilitator reads just the issue number, and the owner either says “open” and reports the latest status in one sentence, or says “closed” and reports the resolution. If further discussion is needed, it happens after the issues log is read.

Issue 1? Closed. The Audrey 2s will accept berber.

Issue 2? Open. Talked to neon specialist who thinks we can get a neon sign that looks exactly like carved wood.

Issue 3? Closed. Decided that the glow of the red radioactive slime will light the nursery, thus saving on electric bills.

Now you know how to tame Fate. Expect the unexpected. Restore the plans of mice and men, meaning no disrespect to cats, women, and intersex. Use an issues log to record and monitor unexpected issues, and then use that log to make your meeting a snap.

You can create your own issue log, use the one I've conveniently created for you. Check out this beautifully formatted issues log template.

This is Stever Robbins. I help high-achievers take their organizations and careers to the next level of performance. If you want to know more, visit http://SteverRobbins.com.



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