Thursday 9 December 2021

How can project issues be effectively identified and resolved?

In the life cycle of any project, unexpected problems and risks almost always arise. when these problems arise, you must be prepared to deal with them -- or they may potentially affect the outcome of the project.

Most problems are unexpected in nature, how do you ensure that they can be dealt with quickly and efficiently? ideally, before you start a project, you need an appropriate problem-solving process to ensure that you are on schedule and meet your goals.

The problem management is the process of identifying and solving problems. problems with employees or suppliers, technical failures, material shortages - these can have a negative impact on your project. if the problem is not resolved, you may create unnecessary conflicts, delays, or even produce your deliverables.

Problems and risks

The problems and risks are not the same thing. however, the exact nature of both is largely unknown before you begin. for risk, you usually have a general idea in advance, and the problem is often unpredictable, and it can occur without warning. for example, the inability to find qualified staff is an identifiable risk. but if one of your employees has an accident and is hospitalized for three weeks, that's a problem.

It is important to identify risks before the project begins. the risk/impact probability plot provides a useful framework to help you prioritize risk. you can then develop a plan to actively manage these risks with solutions that you have considered and pre-arranged. however, when you encounter a problem, you must deal with it in a timely manner. therefore, problem management is a planned process of dealing with unexpected problems, whatever the problem may be, if an unexpected problem occurs.

When you don't identify and reduce risk at the beginning of a project, they often become problems later. make sure you understand your risks as early as possible. learn from previous projects and benefit from the team's past experience. in this way, as you move forward, you will need to manage fewer problems.

The problem log

Problems (also known as problems, gaps, inconsistencies, or conflicts) need to be documented when they occur. when you create a problem log, you have a tool to report and communicate what's happening in your project. this ensures that the problem is actually raised and then investigated and resolved quickly and effectively. without a clear process, you may ignore the problems or take them seriously enough - until it's too late to deal with them successfully.

The problem log allows you to:

  • There is a safe and reliable way for the team to ask questions.
  • Track and assign responsibility to specific people for each issue.
  • Easier to analyze and prioritize issues.
  • Document solutions to problems for future reference and project learning.
  • Monitor overall project health and status.

You can manually create a problem log, build your own spreadsheet or database, or purchase project management software that includes problem management software such as Innovative Techniques PM.

You can include the following information in the problem log:

Problem type 

Defines the category of problems you might encounter. this can help you track the problem and assign the right person to solve it. you may have a broad description similar to the following:

  • Technology: related to technical issues in the project.
  • Business processes: relevant to project design.
  • Change management: related to changes in business, customer, or environment.
  • Resources: issues related to equipment, materials, or personnel.
  • Third party: issues related to suppliers, suppliers, or other external parties.

Inspector - the person who records the problem.

Timing - indicates when a problem is identified.

Description - details what happened and the potential impact. if the issue remains unresolved, determine which parts of the project will be affected.

Priority - prioritize the problem. here are some examples:

  • High priority: key issues that have a significant impact on project success and the potential to stop the project altogether.
  • Medium priority: there will be a noticeable impact, but it will not prevent the project from continuing.
  • Low priority: an issue that does not affect activity on the critical path and may not have much impact if addressed at some point.

Assignment/owner - determine who is responsible for solving the problem. this person may or may not implement a solution. however, he or she is responsible for tracking it and ensuring that it is handled according to its priority.

Target resolution date - set a deadline for resolving the issue.


Status - use a clear label to track the progress of the solution and determine the overall status of the problem. here are some examples:

  • Disclosure: the issue has been identified, but no action has been taken.
  • Investigation: this issue and possible solutions are under investigation.
  • Implementation: the issue is being resolved.
  • Upgrade: the issue has been referred to management or the project sponsor/guidance committee and instructions or approval for the solution are pending.
  • Resolved: the resolution has been implemented and the issue is closed.

Use "traffic lights" when reporting problems. this provides an easy-to-see indication of whether the problem is under control. the use of "traffic lights" is as follows:

  • Red: you cannot continue until the problem is resolved.
  • Yellow: the settlement is in progress and you can continue soon.
  • Green: solution implementation, the problem no longer exists.
  • Action/solution description: describes the status of the problem and the work done to find and implement the solution.
  • The final solution: include a brief description of how to resolve the issue.

Problem management framework

Add a framework or process to the problem log to address these issues. this framework helps the project team understand what to do after identifying and documenting problems. the development framework answers the following questions:

How will you assign responsibility for solving the problem? for example, is there a person responsible for all technical issues? 

Who deals with supplier issues?

How do you know when to refer an issue to management or the steering committee? you may want to create a matrix of potential business impact and problem complexity to help you decide which issues should be managed at a higher level.

Which criteria will determine the priority status of an issue?

Who will set the target resolution date?

How do i communicate questions in a team? do you use regular meetings, log checks, status update messages, and so on?

If more than one problem occurs in a project, how will you identify different problems? it's helpful to number these questions so that when you discuss them in an ongoing meeting, you can easily identify them.

What happens if i need to change my order?

When a resolution affects a budget or schedule, what is the update process and who will be responsible?

One of the key challenges of problem management is to resolve the issue quickly and move on with minimal impact on the project. 


The framework provides a structure for making decisions when problems arise. when developing a framework, keep in mind the needs of your team.

The most convenient approach is to manage project and activity layer issues with a variety of effective mechanisms provided by Innovative Techniques PM project management software to track and systematically resolve issues:

  1. Link issues to related risks, change requirements, and actions
  2. Provide problem maps to help project personnel gain insight into the context of the problem
  3. Provide a reporting mechanism for all reported issues, all reported issues will be highlighted in red, the person in charge must confirm and deal with the issues raised
  4. The next level of activities will automatically be summarized to the previous level of activities and projects

It was also important to ensure that all issues were covered in the post-implementation review. here you can learn lessons from future projects. the more you know about the problem, the better prepared you are for the next project.

Some problems can happen again, so by documenting what you learned from previous projects, future project teams will be more likely to identify problems and successfully resolve them. 


Other issues may be part of a risk pattern that you can proactively identify and manage through early risk assessment.


The problem management process provides you with a robust way to identify and document problems and problems that arise during your project. the process also makes it easier to assess these issues, assess their impact, and decide on solutions.

The problem log can help you capture the details of each issue so that the project team can quickly see the status and who is responsible for resolving it.

When you add a problem management framework or use project management software such as Innovative Techniques PM, which tracks problems in real time, you have a comprehensive plan to deal with problems quickly and efficiently. 


This organized approach to managing problems provides valuable insights that can be used to refine and improve future project results.

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