Risk Management

Project Management is Issue Management…is like National Defense?

Risk management could take a page from the playbook of the US Armed Forces, since nobody deals with great threats more efficiently than them. Let’s imagine Kerry Willis’s advice on risk and issue management in this light to see how efficiently we can shut down the risks in our projects.


Let’s first assume that the project is well planned out, that all contingencies have been considered, and all the proper estimations are in place. At what point would you do a double take? How would you know when to switch on your awareness to the presence of an issue?


Any issue associated with stakeholders, logistics, or resources may trip off a state of sudden alertness. Willis points to techniques such as Earned Value, status meetings, Management by Walking Around (MWA), or stand-up meetings as a way to facilitate issue identification. The project manager must be ever-vigilant. Everyone is counting on them to identify potential threats.

DEFCON 3 & 2

It is important to cultivate a culture of issue identification. Imagine if employees are punished for reporting issues. In the future, they’ll think twice before speaking up, allowing issues to grow large in the shadows of everyday workflow.


Once an issue is identified, it needs to be aggressively managed and closed. If the issue threatens to delay the project, it is the PM’s job to eliminate it and to ensure that a similar issue does not crop up in the future.

Issue management is a role of the project manager that operates a lot like a national defense plan: identify, escalate, and then execute closure.

Read the full blog post at: http://kerrywills.wordpress.com/2014/09/19/project-management-is-issue-management-3/

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