Exception reporting – OPEN

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Topic 11.10: Exception reporting

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An exception is a risk or issue that might (or does) cause you to deviate from the latest version of the project plan.

So now we have the awesomeness of earned value management to show us where exceptions might be, the question is: what are you going to do about it?

Within your status report, you will need to detail these exceptions to your project plan.

Important data that is needed on these exceptions includes:

This should be both descriptive and brief.

We need this to see ageing. 

The older a risk or issue is, the more likely someone is going to get in trouble for not solving it faster.

Priority or severity of the risk / issue

How will your issue impact on the key drivers of scope, time and cost?

The name of the person who is responsible for the resolution of this risk / issue.

What is currently being done to resolve this risk / issue? 

Are you notifying stakeholders? 

Are you calling out for reinforcements from a particular group? 

Are there any secondary or residual risks? 

What are our options?

Stakeholders can be like children, always wanting to know when they are going to get something. 

‘Are we there yet? Are we there yet?’ 

For that reason you should always provide a time and/or date for when the issue will be resolved. 

If you cannot, then provide a time and/or date for when you will get to the next step in the issue resolution process. 

If you cannot do that, then provide an ETA for your next status update on the issue.

Note, too, that even though earned value data might be an obvious source for exceptions, it is not the only one.

Risks or issues that have yet to impact on schedule or budget should also be flagged for response.

Move along...

And bearing in mind our overarching interest in keeping things succinct, if you have no exceptions beyond the basics of a status update, there is nothing to report.

Do not waste stakeholders’ time with inconsequential facts or trivia.