The Issue Register and Issue Report

Issue Register

The purpose of the Issue Register is to capture and maintain information on the issues raised in the project.

See this as a spreadsheet with a number of columns like Issue Identifier, Issue Type (Request For Change, Off-Specification or Concern), Priority, Severity, Date on Which Issue Was Raised, Raised By, Description, Status and Closure Date.

Issue Reports

An Issue Report is a description of an issue, which could be:
• Request for Change
• Off- Specification
• A Problem/Concern

It also contains an impact assessment of the issue(s). The report is usually created when the issue is first registered in the Risk Register. Basic information can be added like Identifier, Issue Type, Date on Which it Was Raised and Raised By. It can then be updated again after the issue has been examined, solutions proposed, and a solution chosen. The final update that is done to an Issue Report document may be to change the status to “closed” and add the closed date.

Issue and Change Control Procedure

Capture is the first step in the Issue and Change Control procedure. The five steps are Capture, Examine, Propose, Decide and Implement.

The objective is to determine the type of issue (change request, off-specification, problem/concern), and then determine how serious it is and if needs to be treated formally.

It is then added to the Issue Register. If the issue does not need to be handled informally, then it can be noted in the Daily Log.

The Project Manager will receive many issues during the project, some of which can be solved immediately by the Project Manager without the need for any formal follow-up.

For instance, if a team member needs access to an application; the Project Manager could send an email to request it. This type of issue can be handled quickly and informally.

Distinguishing between formal and informal issues has a number of advantages.

  • Some issues can be solved immediately, so there is less administrative burden at having to handle every small issue formally (e.g., entering in the Issue Register and creating an Issue Report)
  • It is possible to avoid the Project Board from being overwhelmed with too many issues. Less time can be devoted to dealing with the issues that really do need attention.

Let us look at the three example issues, the type of issue and their severity:
1st Issue: The 2nd external hard-disk used for taking backups of the project data is broken.

What type of issue is this? Is it (1) Change Request, (2) Off-Specification or (3) Problem or Concern? This is a problem or concern, as it is not an off-specification or change request.

This is something that can be handled immediately by the Project Manager. The cost of a new hard-disk is just €90 and it does not need to be registered in the Issue Register, but can be noted in the Daily Log.

The severity is low, as it can be solved by the Project Manager.

2nd Issue: Default Page Background Color needs to be changed to match the new corporate color.

Question: What type of issue is this? Is it (1) Change Request, (2) Off-Specification or (3)

Problem or Concern?

This is a change request.

Question: Do you think it has it has to be handled formally or informally? (Tip: The Project Product Description has already been baselined and this change request happened during the project).

  • This issue has to be handled formally, as we cannot change the Project Product Description that has already been baselined; therefore, this issue will be recorded in the Issue Register
  • The severity could be normal, as the cost & time to do this change will be low and should be well within the tolerance level of the Project Manager
  • The Project Manager will normally contact the necessary people to request permission to do this. Update the Project Product Description and get it approved.

3rd Issue: The supplier did not complete the automated Forget Password feature, as it was difficult to integrate the intended module into the CRM application.
Question: What type of issue is this? Is it (1) Change Request, (2) Off-Specification or (3) Problem or Concern?

This is an off specification and it should have been done by the supplier but it was not.

Question: Should it be handled formally or informally?

  • It needs to be handled formally and will therefore be entered in the Issue Register
  • The severity maybe high, as only the Project Board can take a decision on this.

When is an Issue Report created?

You should start to create the Issue Report once you enter the information into the Issue Register, then start to investigate the issue. The Issue Register then acts as an overview for all the issues. It is possible to see at any time how many issues are open and the status of each issue.

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About the Author Dave Litten

David spent 25 years as a senior project manager for USA multinationals, and has deep experience in project management. He now develops a wide range of project-related downloadable video training products under the Primer and Projex Academy brand names. In addition, David runs project management training seminars across the world, and is a prolific writer on the many topics of project management.

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