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What is an Exception Report? And what’s an Exception? | Video

What is an Exception Report? And what's an Exception? | Video

An Exception report is issued when something exceptional happens (an Exception), and they document the incident and how it is to be handled.

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Exception Report and an Exception: Definitions

An Exception report is issued when something exceptional happens (an Exception), and they document the incident and how it is to be handled.

An Exception

And an Exception is something that will cause a deviation in cost, schedule, scope, or quality that goes beyond the tolerance levels agreed upon between the Project Manager and their client, sponsor, or project board. It can also include Health and Safety threats.

An Exception Report is prepared by the project manager for their client, sponsor, or project board.

When there is an Exception, Time is of the Essence.

Never start your response to an incident by writing your exception report. Instead, start by taking whatever action you need to, to stabilize the situation. And your first communication with your client, sponsor, or project board should either be in person, by Zoom, or by phone. Your exception report is part of the formal process of governance, rather than the informal process of getting things done!

The Exception Report Process

The Contents of an Exception Report

The Contents of an Exception Report are typically:

  • The incident or situation that has arisen
  • An assessment of the impacts
  • Options for addressing the situation
  • A recommendation for action, along with the justification and potential risks that go with it

Exception Reporting can be done in many ways:

  • As a printed document
  • By email
  • Within a Project Management Information System
  • Presented at a formal meeting

The Outcome of a Well-prepared Exception Report

The purpose of your Exception Report is to generate a decision. And it will be a decision that is:

  • Informed by good evidence
  • Considered and discussed by the right people
  • Made promptly
  • Documented for the record

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About the Author Mike Clayton

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.

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