An issue log is a key output that you should know for the PMP Certification Exam that documents an issue and the potential impact. It can include an indicator of the urgency of the situation and the person accountable for resolving the issue as well.

Issue. A point or matter in question or in dispute, or a point or matter that is not settled and is under discussion or over which there are opposing views or disagreements.

Work through issues

Working through issues requires communication skills, interpersonal skills, and management skills. Consider the example of a childcare center to demonstrate each of the skills. The parents, the human resources department, and vendors are the primary stakeholders.

For purposes of this example, the stakeholder register has the following information. Here M = medium and H = high.

Name Role Power Support Function
Parents Supporter M H End User
HR department Supporter H H Staffing
Project vendors Supporter M H Build-out

Assume the communications management plan has the following information:

Audience Message Method Frequency Sender
Parents Send milestone status information
Send changes to scope or schedule
Newsletter Monthly PM
HR department Receive HR progress reports
Send project status reports
Send changes
Progress report forms
Status reports
Change logs
As needed
HR team lead
Project vendors Receive vendor progress reports
Send plans
Send changes
Progress report forms
Change logs
As approved
As needed

Assume that it’s November 1. The childcare center is due to open on January 1. You have the following situations documented in your issue log:

Issue Impact
The contractor has discovered that the sprinkler system in the childcare center space is not up to the new codes that went into effect this year. The water pressure is not high enough, and the flow rate is too low. He has submitted a change request to bring the system up to code. The cost will be $15,000. He will bring in additional workers to complete the work so there will not be a schedule slip.
The staffing for the executive director and the childcare staff is running behind. By this time, they should have had 4 resumes for the executive director and 60 for the childcare staff. They only have 2 for the executive director and 50 for the childcare staff. In addition, they should have had 15 signed contracts for childcare staff, but they have only 10. This could lead to a schedule slip if there isn’t enough staff to open the center.

Issue resolution for the childcare center

To resolve these issues, you’ll need to meet with various stakeholders and employ communication, interpersonal, and management skills.

Contractor issue resolution

To deal with issues with the contractor, you convene a meeting with the contractor, the head of facilities, the maintenance supervisor, and yourself to discuss options. The maintenance supervisor says that his staff can handle the sprinkler issue, thereby saving the $15,000 for the change order.

You all review the remaining scheduled work to find a way to resequence the work so that the maintenance staff isn’t working in the same location as the contractor’s staff.

By looking at a detailed network diagram and resource histogram, you figure out that by doing some of the work after hours, and some on weekends, you can have the sprinkler system up to code within ten days and not lose any time. This scenario demonstrates collaboration, problem-solving, and negotiation.

Staffing issue resolution

Your next meeting is with the team leader for the human resources department. You ask why the staffing schedule is slipping. She states that in order to staff the center with licensed childcare workers, you have to pay them more.

You both agree that if you do hire only licensed staff, then the operating costs will be higher, and per Morgan Cuthbert (sponsor), the higher cost will have to be passed on to the parents. The increased cost works out to about $15 per week, per child.

You and the team leader discuss options as alternatives to the higher cost, such as reducing the number of hours that the childcare center is open and changing the ratio of childcare staff to children. Because the staff licensing issue represents a change to the project scope, the sponsor (Morgan Cuthbert) has asked you to meet with the parents to discuss impact.

You ask the team leader to accompany you to the parent meeting so she can help them understand the issues and participate in the issue resolution. She agrees. This scenario demonstrates problem-solving and active listening.

Talking to the parents

Although the communication plan states that scope changes would be communicated via newsletter, you believe you need to seek the parents’ input, and so you schedule a meeting in the company auditorium. You work with the human resources team leader to put together a slide presentation that outlines the issues and options.

The day of the meeting, about 45 parents show up. None of the parents are happy with the proposed price increase of $15 per week. The audience is split about needing all licensed staff members.

At the end of the meeting, the parents agree to the following:

  • They will accept a staff-per-child ratio of 1:7 instead of 1:6.

  • All caregivers will be licensed.

  • The center opening time of 6 a.m. will be changed to 6:30 a.m.

All these accommodations will allow the center to open with the original rates.

The common outputs from the Manage Stakeholder Engagement process are updates to project documents and the project management plan, change requests, and updates to project records.

One of the exam objectives states that you use the issue register to manage issues and assign corrective action. Wherever you see this type of question, the important point is to document issues in an issue register, determine the appropriate action, and assign it to someone to follow up with the resolution.

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