When working well the issue management process involves identifying and managing issues that can threaten project success. Issues management is a critical process for all projects, even those that are considered low risk. Whether you are managing an international business project, software development initiative or a small home improvement job, developing and maintaining a strong issues management process can help prevent reputational damage and minimize potential crises.

Early Stage: As issues begin to emerge, it’s vital that you establish transparent workflows for problem-solving and engage stakeholders and team members in the resolution process. Issues that are spotted in the emerging stage can be addressed by proactive strategies such as product modification or anticipatory collaboration with interest groups.

Emerging Stage: As the issues move from being unidentified or inconvenient to becoming recognized and potentially having a negative impact on your project outcomes, it’s time to set priorities. Prioritizing based on severity and likelihood can avoid minor issues from consuming too much time and effort while more pressing matters remain unaddressed. Assigning responsibility for each issue and determining a resolution approach, milestones, resources needed, etc. can also make it easier to track progress and provide transparency to stakeholders.

Once the priority and plan for resolution are established, it’s important to assign a team or individual to manage each issue. This person should be accountable for ensuring that the action plan is implemented and that the issue is closed out according to schedule. It’s important to log each update as it happens and review the completeness of work before approving for closure.