An Exception Report is normally an issue report that documents an issue that is out of tolerance. It is produced by the Project Manager when a stage plan or project plan is forecast to exceed tolerance levels set and given to the Project Board. It will offer options and recommendations for the way to proceed so the Project Board can decide. So, it is best to see the Exception Report as an Issue Report that describes a BIG issue.
When should the Project Manager create an Exception Report?
Exception Reports are normally created during the Controlling a Stage process when the Project Manager is reviewing new or existing issues and if any of the issue are forecasted to put the stage or project out of tolerance, then the Project Manager should create an Exception Report. In fact sometimes, the Project Manager will just change the name of an Issue Report to an Exception report.
Inputs and Outputs:
- The Exception Report is an output off the Controlling a Stage process
- The Exception Report is an input the Directing a Project process as the Project Manager is requesting advice from the Project Board.
- The Exception Report is an input to the Stage Boundary process and an Exception Plan can be created to deal with the issue described in the Exception Report.
The Exception Report is derived from:
- Current plan and up-to-date information
- Register files (Issue, Risk and Quality)
- Highlight Reports or Checkpoint Reports
- Perhaps information from the Project Board
Format of the Exception Report
- An issue raised during a live progress meeting (face to face or conference call)
- A word / PDF document
- An email
- A notification from inside a Project Management Tool.
- Tip: If urgent, then the Exception Report can be oral (don’t sound too panicked). Later you can follow up with a written Exception Report if required.
Exception Report Quality Criteria
- The reason(s) for the deviation must be clearly stated the impact of the issues should be detailed
- Detail the impact to the Business Case
- Detail the impact to the Project Plan
- Options are clear and have been analyzed. The Project Manager should also recommend the most appropriate option.
Some tips from Frank
- Ask the Project Board how they want to be alerted if the issue is really urgent
- Use a reporting format that the Project Board are used to (ask the Executive)
- Be able to remind the Executive that you are waiting for a response if you are waiting.