The value of using an Issues Register on a project

It would be crazy to say that a project can run without any issues being identified.  It is just not possible!

Issues come in many forms and can be items that require a small amount of attention to fix, or erupt from when they are first identified into much larger problems and even create a risk for your project.  For this reason alone it is very important that an Issue or Issues Register is set up and used.

Any one on a project team can raise an issue.  This is a benefit because there may be things that are identified as an issue by one team or team member, that has broader impact on other teams or team members that, if not captured in a central spot, will cause more problems later on in the project life cycle.

What should an Issues Register be like?

Issues Registers need not be anything more than a simple spreadsheet or table containing the desired information.

It doesn’t need to contain war and peace, or the whole story on what has gone wrong and how it is being addressed. It should contain enough information and a very clear description of the issue, so that anyone or should I say more importantly ‘everyone’ on the project can know and understand what the issue is about.

No good the project manager writing the description of an issue that only they understand.  Interpretation causes error – best to be clear and succinct at the level that all will understand.

Issue resolution

Issue resolution should certainly be tracked.  And, it is also important to ensure that the issues resolution is assigned to someone to manage.  This needn’t be the project manager, but it does need to be someone who has the skills and ability to carry out what ever is needed to resolve the issue.

Issues can raise defects and identified problems with coding on an IT project, so there needs to be some trace-ability to these defects and a defect register so that the appropriate resources can manage the rectification of the problem.  In this instance it doesn’t hurt to have the issue in both places, even though the method of tracking is different.

It is the project managers role to ensure that issues are being resolved in a timely manner.  It is their job to manage the resolution aspect of issue management.

An Issue or Issues Register can also play an important part in your Post Implementation Review – so it adds a lot of value to good project management and governance.

Karen