Steve Hart hates project issues. They distract the team, slow progress, and make it hard to reach milestones. As Hart points out, as much time can be spent discussing the issue as is spent correcting it. This “Issue Churn” can turn into a real problem – but Hart as a few tips to help reduce the issues with issues. One of these tips is to have the right metrics:
As is the case in most project management processes, it is important to have the appropriate metrics in place to manage issues. To establish a high degree of focus and sense of urgency, I prefer to measure and communicate high priority issues in the form of absolute numbers. Metrics like net change and average age are best managed through trend analysis. In addition, it is important to keep track of the overall impact of issues on the project. This metric can be tracked within the change control process.
Another tip is to have a “timeout”: stop forward work on a project if there are so many issues tied to it that doing so would be more detrimental than helpful. In this period of “timeout”, gather the team to identify and solve the issues and get the project back on track.