No one necessarily wants to escalate an issue. It implies that something went wrong and that now you have to call in the big guns to help fix it. Escalation needs to be handled carefully and properly so the issue can be solved in a timely manner. In a post for Voices on Project Management, Marian Haus gives some best practices for managing project escalations:
- Be prepared.
- Assess and qualify the risk.
- Communicate the escalation.
- Follow up.
Enriching Your Escalation
Before the project even begins, there should be a means to escalate issues to higher management. Your project needs to have a built-in escalation mechanism to help solve the issue as quickly as possible. Make sure the tools in place are effective, but they should be used sparingly. Only escalate when it’s absolutely necessary and could have major implications to the project. When a risk does pop up, Haus says to assess and qualify the risk:
Is it serious enough to escalate? Is there anything else you can do to avoid an escalation? Is it the right time to escalate?
Certainly, in order to be effective, the escalation should be raised in a timely manner. Therefore, neither should you exaggerate with going through an elaborated risk assessment, nor should you wait too long until raising the escalation (e.g., do not wait until the next reporting period is due).
Once you’ve determined that the risk is worth escalating, you can spring into action. Haus gives five tips in this area, starting off with escalation via the right channels for the project. You want to reach someone quickly and effectively, so schedule a face-to-face meeting or a call. Try to avoid mediums that would promote delays, like email. The second tip is to avoid playing the blame game or getting too personal in order to remain objective. List off the major issue, the implications, and the steps you took to avoid getting to this point. If you can, propose some ways to resolve the issue.
After the issue has been resolved, have a follow-up session where you can talk about some lessons learned from the experience and continue to give updates until it is unlikely the issue could arise again.
You can view the original post here: https://www.projectmanagement.com/blog-post/33334/Best-Practices-for-Managing-Project-Escalations