Resolve critical project issues

Consider how projects really get done and why resolving issues is one of the most important skills project managers can have.

  • Assess how projects are ‘born’ and completed in your organization
  • Determine how issue resolution can improve project results
  • Discuss how to involve and collaborate with others for rapid issue resolution

Situation Appraisal

Break down project issues into specific components, set priority for working on them, and determine who will do what, and by when.

  • Create a clear and complete list of all the issues related to a particular situation
  • Use three key criteria to put the list in priority order, so action can be taken on the right thing at the right time
  • Plan appropriate action for each concern and assign responsibilities to ensure the best outcome

Decision Analysis

Understand which criteria will influence your choice, see how various options meet your needs, and ensure that your choice can stand the test of time.

  • Identify the decision scope and who should be involved 
  • Identify criteria that will be used to evaluate choices, including clear measures of success
  • Understand which criteria are mandatory and which are not
  • Use simple-but-robust scoring techniques for comparing alternatives and assessing risks

Potential Problem Analysis

Consider what might go wrong with future project actions, identify ways to keep bad things from happening, and/or minimize damage. 

  • Brainstorm a list of things that could impact the success of a plan or action, and put the list in priority order
  • Identify and prevent possible causes for each potential problem
  • Prepare actions to minimize effects if problems happen along with triggers to ensure those actions happen only when needed
  • Learn Potential Opportunity Analysis: a similar process for identifying and leveraging future opportunities

Problem Analysis

A structured way to quickly find the cause when things in the project are not working as they should. 

  • Define problem through setting up a simple description of the problem and then use four key categories of information to precisely describe it
  • Compare items that do not have the problem to those that do, and use those clues to identify specific changes that caused the problem
  • Create and test hypotheses to eliminate causes that don’t support known facts

Additional topics

Covered if time and learner interest are available.

  • Questioning Skills
  • Advanced topics for each process (e.g. for Problem Analysis (PA): Think Beyond the Fix; Using PA for Specific Types of Problems; etc.)

 Download Advanced Problem Solving for Project Managers Outline

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