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Effective Project Management: Traditional, Agile, Extreme, Sixth Edition by Robert K. Wysocki

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Defining a Problem Escalation Strategy

Something has happened that put the project plan at risk. Late shipments from suppliers, equipment malfunctions, sickness, random acts of nature, resignations, priority changes, errors, and a host of other factors can lead to problems that affect deliverables, deliverable schedules, and resource schedules. The project team owns the problem and must find a solution.

This situation is very different for the project manager than the case of a change request. When a change request has been made, the project manager has some leverage with the client. The client wants something and might be willing to negotiate to an acceptable resolution. That is not the case when a problem arises on the project team. The project manager does not have any leverage and is in a much more difficult position.

When the unplanned happens, the project manager needs to determine who owns the problem and the extent of the problem, and then take the appropriate corrective measures. Those measures often include helping the owner of the problem find an acceptable solution following the escalation hierarchy discussed later in this chapter. Minor variations from the plan will occur and may not require corrective measures. There are degrees of corrective measures available to the project manager: In trying to resolve a problem, the project manager begins at the top of the escalation hierarchy and works down the hierarchy, examining each option until one is found that solves the ...

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