Issue Management Best Practices – Part 2

Chief Information OfficerIn Issue Management Best Practices – Part 1, we discussed the importance of having a designated issue management champion and the wisdom of tailoring your issue management process to the lowest common denominator. In case you missed it or want a quick refresher, here is the link to Part 1:

In Part 2 of best practices for issue management, we discuss two additional best practices that are vital for an effective issue management program. These include:

Focus on Information Visibility

Information visibility refers to how readily accessible information is to the people who need to see it and how easily the information is understood. Everyone is already too busy. You don’t want the people in charge of managing issues to waste time looking for or trying to interpret information.

If you want an accurate, humorous demonstration of what I mean by information visibility, click the following link to watch a short video of an alternate design for the STOP sign:

Better design for STOP signs in the United States?

Appropriate Use of Technology

The appropriate use of technology can greatly enhance the effectiveness and scalability of an organization’s issue management efforts. The appropriate use of technology is closely related to enhancing information visibility as described above. Many organizations miss this best practice and end up using technology that does little for information visibility.

If you want to leverage technology, here are two simple suggestions that greatly increase the chance of getting maximum value from an issue management software system.

Get feedback from all levels of users

Many times it is the executive or management level of an organization that determines the high level requirements for the system. In some cases top level management may also heavily influence the system selection progress. It is important to get input from all levels that will be using the system. The best way to do this is to get representatives from each level to actually try using the various systems that are being considered. The key here is to not rely on a demo of a system. Generally speaking, all demonstrations work well. It is the hands-on experience of the people who will be using a system day-to-day that will make a difference in getting to a working solution, as opposed to acquiring additional “shelf-ware”.

Streamline the information that will be captured

Organizations that start small and simple with the capture of issue data and their dissemination of issue management information tend to have very effective issue management systems. To do this is easier said than done. Our natural instinct is to think of how great it would be to slice and dice the numbers in any multitude of ways. That would provide instant answers to many ad-hoc questions and trace root causes of every issue. Through this incredibly valuable insight, the root causes can be addressed, which could prevent the organization from ever having to revisit an issue.

But there is a problem with this theory, because it does not generally mesh with reality. The more information that needs to be input into a system, the less likely it is that the information will be accurate if it gets entered at all. It is better to have basic reliable data than to have comprehensive dis-information.

Stay tuned for Part 3 of Issue Management Best Practices, which will include the most significant and often underutilized best practice.

“There are unlimited ways to make your life worse with technology, and many fewer ways to utilize it to your advantage.”
– Krishen Kota, PMP

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