DoIT Project Management Advisor
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Stage 3: Plan the Project


What it is How to Templates/
How to: Develop Issue Management Plan

Recommended actions and strategies
The table below describes actions you perform to create an issue management plan.


What to do

How to do it


Define general issue management goals and approach

Define the major goals of issue management and a high-level description of the approach to managing issues.
Example goals:

  • Issues are identified, evaluated, and assigned for resolution.
  • Issue resolutions or decisions are documented and communicated to all affected parties

Also refer to the goals and approach written in the Issue Management Strategy section of the Project Charter.


Define priority categories and rules

Priority categories provide a ranking to help determine the order of importance or urgency to address the issue. The project sponsor, key stakeholders, and project manager should agree on the business rule that underlies each priority. The driving project constraints and the impact of the issue determine whether the resolution of an issue receives a high, medium, or low priority.

Example categories and rules include:

  • High: The project cannot proceed without issue resolution.
  • Medium: The project can proceed, but there is a high potential for rework if the issue is not resolved soon.
  • Low: Quick resolution is not urgent. The project can proceed, but the issue will need to be resolved prior to project completion.


Identify who decides if a problem/opportunity is an issue

A problem/opportunity is categorized as an issue if it will impede the progress or successful completion of the project. Typically the project manager determines if the problem/opportunity should be classified as an issue.


Define other issue management roles, responsibilities and expertise

Other typical issue management roles include:

  • Who can raise an issue
  • Who is responsible for logging and tracking
  • Who assigns the issue for evaluation and resolution  


Determine how issues are identified

Define how the issues should be sent to the project manager. For example:

  • Verbal communication (in a meeting)
  • Formal issue submittal form
  • Email
  • Issue tracking tool entry


Determine how the issues are tracked

Typically, issues are tracked in an Issue Log, which includes:

  • Issue tracking number
  • Issue title
  • Description of the issue and impact on the project
  • Date issue was added to the log
  • Person who raised the issue
  • Priority
  • Person responsible for resolution
  • Action to be taken by person responsible for resolution
  • Resolution due date
  • Status of resolution
  • Date resolved
  • How the issue was resolved

Assignment of due date, person responsible for resolution, and action to be taken by person responsible should be specific.


Determine how, when and to whom issues are escalated

An issue that cannot be resolved should be escalated. The project sponsor and project manager should agree on the business rules and process for escalation, including to whom issues should be escalated. 

Example conditions that could lead to escalation:

  • Failure to resolve an issue within an agreed period of time. 
  • Impact on a project constraint above a set threshold.
  • Inability to secure the resources needed to resolve this issue


Determine how issues are assigned for resolution

Identify who determines who needs to be involved in resolving an issue and how an issue is assigned and tracked.


Determine how issues are monitored

Possible approaches include:

  • Reviewing issues at weekly project status meetings or in the morning team standup meeting
  • Team members update the status of issues assigned to them and the Project Manager monitors status reports produced by the issue tracking system


Determine how the issue management process and status of issues are communicated

The issue management process, identified issues, and their status should be communicated. Include, for example:

  • Audience
  • Frequency
  • Level of detail

Update the communication plan with details for issue communications.


Determine how issues are closed

Define the process to close an issue. Include, for example:

  • Who determines an issue is closed
  • How the closing of an issue is recorded
  • Who is notified
  • How closed issues are communicated


Identify the tools used to track project issues

Specify whether issues will be tracked manually in a spreadsheet or with an issue management tool such as JIRA. 



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Updated March 15, 2007 - v2.2