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Issue, Action Item, and Risk Management Enhancements


Out-of-the-box (OOB), Project Online can create a SharePoint "project site" for each project that is added to the system.  The site includes a list for managing project issues and a separate list for risks (i.e. risk register).  The consolidated content of these lists for all projects is available for developing single project or project portfolio reports and dashboards.  The various lookup lists used by the issue and risk lists cannot be maintained centrally for all projects.  There is no provision for maintaining "action items" or to-do items.

Objectives of Enhancements

  • Maintain backward compatibility with out-of-the-box issues and risks system
  • Utilize only end-user tools (i.e. SharePoint / SharePoint Designer, Project Server / Online, and Excel) to implement and maintain; no Visual Studio development
  • Align with PMI risk framework and terminology
  • Add action item support to issue management system to create a single spot for managing dynamic project activity
  • Reduce system data items to the "essential few"
  • Rework project site template issue and risk list columns to draw from a single "site column" list of choices for all dropdown columns subject to on-going maintenance
  • Consolidate issue and risk data into single a single reporting system with dashboard components including an enterprise issue & risk impact quantification system
  • Reduce redundancy of project status reporting by making the issues and risks system the system for updating all relevant status data
  • Add additional issue and risk categorizations with customizable content for grouping common content across projects on reports and dashboards, including:
    • Category (i.e. risk breakdown structure)
    • Function (or department)
    • Impact type (i.e. most impacted project objective such as scope, schedule, or cost)
  • Support a "management by exception" system by adding an issue and risk escalation categorization that brings focus by filtering content by the lowest relevant level of management or intervention required (i.e. team member, the project team, the PMO, specified functional (or department) management, or the leadership team)
  • Add a cost column to the issue system to optionally capture the estimated unplanned budget impact generated by an issue (as exists with risks)
  • Add additional risk-only categorizations with customizable content for grouping common content across projects on reports and dashboards, including:
    • Risk trigger (i.e. type of risk event / likely risk cause to be monitored)
    • Risk response, indicating the intended approach to managing the risk
  • Implement a customizable and maintainable risk probability and impact matrix used to assign a risk class (i.e. high, medium, low, or none)
    Risk Class Mapping Chart High Probability Medium Probability Low Probability
    High Impact High Priority Medium Priority Medium Priority
    Medium Impact Medium Priority Low Priority Low Priority
    Low Impact Low Priority No Priority No Priority


  • Synchronize the risk status (a maintained copy of OOB status for reporting purposes) column data:
    • If risk class is "no priority", update risk response to "ignore"
    • If risk response is "ignore", update risk status to "ignore"
    • Otherwise risk status is the same as status (field exposed on the risk form)

Additional Possible Objectives

We have performed significant upgrades, consolidation, and administration simplification to the out-of-the-box issues and risks management system.  Support for action items management was added to the issues system.  An analytical dashboard presenting the pressing concerns found within the current project portfolio was developed along with dashboard parts summarizing the data to be included within project status dashboards.

This approach to system enhancement could also be used to provide system support for logging decisions, communications, lesson learned, assumptions, constraints, and corrective actions etc.

Additional Potential Objectives

There are some additional goals that your organization may be interested in that we have addressed in past client deliverables, including:

  • Automatically pre-populated risks standard / common risks to edit or delete
  • Capture of estimated schedule impact by issues and risks
  • Maintain risk priority / urgency data (i.e. urgency of risk planning; different from risk class)
  • Add support for:
    • Assumptions
    • Constraints
    • Decision log
    • Lessons learned log
    • Corrective action log
    • Communication log

Enhanced Issue Management Form

Enhanced Risk Maintenance Form

Previous Adaptations have Included:

  • User-friendly, governed "project intake" systems combining SharePoint elements and automated workflow integrated into Project Online
  • Project meta-data upgrades in support of:
    • Multiple project portfolios
    • Program management of related and integrated projects
    • Project and product department relationships
    • Tracking of current project execution status
    • Other project important classification and categorization attributes including alignment with corporate strategy
    • Task metadata enhancements tracking project phase, standard deliverables, and major and minor milestones
  • Implementation of a project role-based roster system administered in SharePoint and integrated with the Project Online database tracking roles such as:
    • Project sponsor and other stakeholders
    • Product owner and manager
    • Project manager and team lead
    • Architect and business analyst
    • Testing lead
  • Issue, action item, and risk management enhancements
  • Implementation of budget development and management tools supporting quarterly reporting on a annualized, projectized, and cost center basis of expensed and capitalized planned and actual costs
  • Development of customized and simplified approaches to project evaluation and prioritization, fully implemented into Project Online's project portfolio planning tools
  • Skills-based resource capacity and assignment management tools
  • Delivery of graphical management dashboards consolidating multiple out-of-the-box and extended data sources in support of management escalation and management by exception including:
    • Project portfolio summary DB
    • Project status DB
    • Milestone achievement DB
    • Budget status DB
    • Risk and issue management DB
  • Implementation of error identification and governance systems ensuring the data integrity of essential management metrics
  • Re-working of system approach and terminology to match the PMI framework