So I took my mother to the pharmacy which shares a small, busy parking lot with a doctor’s office. The lot was jammed fender benderthat particular morning and there were 3 cars, including me, all trying to back out of our spots at the same time. A fourth car came screaming in the exit (there’s only 1 way in and one way out of this lot and this driver violated the natural order) and whipped into the parking space behind me. Seeing he had pulled in, and silently confirming via eye contact with other drivers around me that it was my move, I proceeded to back out. BAM! The car that had flew into the lot, decided to straighten out his park job and backed right into me!

I got out to inspect the damage (a scratch in my mind, a catastrophe is what my husband would call it), looked at the guy that hit me (decided it wasn’t worth pursuing with my insurance company) and told him to have a nice weekend.

In my head, I had run through my options and outcomes for managing this issue:
1. Ignore it. Do nothing. Deny all knowledge if my husband notices the scratches (high likelihood he will notice but low probability he can pin the blame on me with any certainty). Impact to performance of car – zero. Resolution: the white paint on my sleek and shiny black bumper can be buffed off.
2. Identify the issue to my husband immediately. Suffer the drama and suggest we use the buffing kit I gave him for Christmas 5 years ago to fix the issue. Car still performs as usual.
3. Keep the issue on my radar. If it is discovered in the future, wheel out our handy buffing kit, and keep on driving.

It’s much the same with managing issues in projects or on the job. When issues occur, clarify them, rank the severity of the issue (high or low impact on project), formulate a plan for resolving the issue (and an owner), then monitor until it is resolved or no longer an issue.

We all secretly hope for an issue-free project but that’s not the world I live in. Having a plan for how issues will be managed however, makes dealing with them a whole lot more effective.

Postscript … the instant this blog was posted, my issue became a risk. Someone could read it and expose my issue on Facebook to my husband! Now … the dark art of risk management … that’s another story …