D01 - Manage risks, issues, and change requests
This management activity belongs to the Daily Management activity group: It’s done daily.
We should manage risks, issues, and change requests proactively. When you identify a new item, you should record it in the Follow-Up Register immediately. Then, assign its follow-up activities to a custodian (one of the team members) and start planning responses for the item. You must be continuously in contact with team members and other stakeholders to identify risks and issues.
You can get help from other team members, or even external stakeholders, to respond to items. In complicated cases, you can gather the whole team and facilitate a workshop for all of them to suggest a collective response using the wisdom of the crowd. In critical cases, you should involve the sponsor as well and seek their approval for your response plan.
The main goal is to respond to risks, issues, and change requests proactively rather than letting them resolve automatically. Doing so will give us control and the possibility of getting the best results.
Relying on your memory or on unstructured notes takes too much mental energy and runs the risk of forgetting items. That’s why it’s best to have a simple register and the self-discipline to record items as soon as they are identified.
It takes too much time and energy to manage all the items, and that’s why you need to assign custodians. In addition to spreading the work, it also helps align everyone with the same goal.
Consider the following to avoid some of the commonest problems in this area:
- Don’t add too much assessment information to the Follow-Up Register.
- To ensure that all items are closed properly, you can define thresholds and oblige yourself and others to close items within that threshold.
- Avoid generic, unactionable responses. Responses must be something the team can implement and the custodian can measure.
- Don’t spend all of your time firefighting (managing issues) without paying attention to risks, as unmanaged risks are a major source of future issues.
The following principles play a significant role in this management activity: