Problem management is really an important aspect in each service and project management practices… Without proper problem management you will create more problems instead of solving them… And without problem management you can even lose your whole project!

Little intro

I always come across many problems in every project I do. Some of them are caused by my bad judgement of things, others are caused by the customer’s inability to take the right decision at a certain stage of the project. The amount of problem management I am doing is giving me a lot of priceless experience that I’ll never be able to get by money!

The only common thing between all of these problems, is they will all come on me to fix! I have been doing a project recently and the start up was great… However during the middle stages the customer made a mistake that was very bad… That issue was bad in timing and in its size!

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It was bad in timing because it came right before a public holiday that lasted one week! And it was bad in the size because it involved a person at the C-level in the customer’s company. As mentioned above every single problem will fall on me to fix, and this was no exception.

I got to admit that I almost screwed up in managing this issue because I was distracted in my vacation and family…  And I did not follow the steps I usually follow in working with such situations! At the end things got fixed quickly luckily…

No details, just my own method!

Without going into the details and specifics about this problem, I would like to list how I usually handle these problems and try to solve them…

Before doing anything, get to understand the problem completely and perfectly!

If you fail to understand what are you against, you will fail badly! You need to know what are you going to fix, because each item has its own process and workflow.

After knowing what is the problem and understand it completely, you will already know the cause!

Knowing the cause is like knowing half the solution! Because you knew everything about the problem it is now easy to find its cause and plan to deal with it!

Isolate the problem and prevent it from spreading

It is important to prevent the infection! If the problem is related to a user, make sure no procedures are taken to affect other users… If the problem is related to quality, make sure the defect does not go to other products! I’m not going deep into this as I am not exactly entitled to talk about problem management in every field. But the point is to prevent anyone from having this problem…

Remove the problem by going backtrack with the steps that led to the problem

This is simple and complicated at the same time! If a user installed a bad software, then remove the software… If a bad decision was taken, sit with the decision maker and review the information that led him to take this decision…

I got to say that of course not everything is subject to this approach, so make sure you set a problem management plan before you even start with your project!

Fix the problem slowly and effectively

Do not rush things and do not make any decision that you are not sure about which may lead to a larger issue! Consult subject matter experts and people who may have better knowledge than you about this problem… And never do things without proper documentation!

Problem management is knowledge and skill to be only used in emergencies. Do not make it a habit!

Learn from your mistakes, and document every problem and solution you have!

Before signing off… I am getting experience as I go. If you feel something is not right and I should fix it, I will be hyper-happy to get your feedback and notes! Contact me now!

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