manage issues

An action plan for issue resolution

Would you put an action plan for issue resolution in place within two hours?

How do you deal with project issues?

Do you log them in an ‘Issues Log’ and forget about them?

Do you wait until the last minute, then decide that you had best address them, knowing that they are impacting on your project?

Do you get onto them instantly and come up with a solution to address the problem?

On a recent trip to the USA I visited the Boeing manufacturing plant for a tour.  I was discussing with our tour guide their use of Six Sigma in the plant and how they dealt with any issue that arose.  He explained that they had a policy of coming up with a resolution or action plan for the resolution of issues within 2 hours of it originally being identified.

This got me thinking about how issue handling is managed on projects and to consider what would happen if Project Managers considered issue resolution on their projects a priority at the time of identification.  Would it change the way that a project was delivered.  I can see that it would certainly create a different environment for the team to operate.

Let me clarify here that I am not talking about having the issue fully resolved in two hours – no, this is about getting the right people together to discuss an action plan for resolution.  Communicating, at the right level, to resolve what is causing the problem.

I like the idea a lot and can see that it would mean that this would create  a sense of urgency when issues arise, which sometimes may otherwise not be there.

I can also see that it is a way of ensure that the whole team (as much as is needed) is involved in the development of a resolution plan. Brainstorming of solutions is a must in this situation, because you don’t know what you don’t know.  Someone else might have that prime piece of information that completely changes how something would be resolved quickly and easily.

So, next time you set up a project team, resolve to agree at the start of the project, that any issues that arise are logged and an action plan put in place within two hours of them being identified.

Ensure that you have someone responsible for creating the action plan, if it is not going to be you (the Project Manager).  Have clear guidelines as to what needs to be communicated back to the team to ensure that everyone understands the plan of attack for resolution.

Remember that clear and honest communication is the key, and creating a sense of urgency.


Written by Karen Munro

*Image courtesy of digitalart at