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Exception Report

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Here you can find a simple Exception Report in Microsoft Word/Excel format, along with explanation on how to use it.


Oops! An Exception!

What’s an Exception by the way?

It’s when one of the six variables have a deviation larger than the tolerance set for that variable. For example, you set the time tolerance of a stage to two weeks. Whenever you analyze the performance and see a deviation…

  • If it’s below the tolerances: you, as the Project Manager, should decide how to fix it.

  • If it’s above at least one of the tolerances: you have to escalate it to the Project Board and let them decide what to do.

How do you escalate it? Using an Exception Report!

One thing that I have to explain here is about the cause of the exception. Sometimes, a single issue is the cause of exception. For example, one of the suppliers inform you that your product will be delivered 4 weeks later, and you see that it will delay the stage for 3 weeks, and the tolerance is 2 weeks. Then it’s an Exception caused by a single Issue.

Sometimes, no single issue is the real cause of Exception, but it’s the cumulative effect of many issues that do that. In that case, instead of one issue, you can mention all those issues, but more importantly, you have to see why those issued could pile up and cause such a problem; maybe there’s an underlying issue that you have to find and fix (e.g. a problem in your quality management system).

Remember that you should be proactive. Project management is not firefighting.


The template has these main sections:

  • Document information: this is the generic information about the document and connections with your Configuration Management system. Feel free to add more information here, but it’s best to keep it simple.

  • Approval: this section is for capturing approvals. There are multiple lines, because you may have multiple versions of this document approved. If you have a well-formed Configuration Management system to track approvals, feel free to remove this section.

  • Cause of the Exception: Issue or issues that have cause the deviation.

  • Consequences: explain what’s going to happen, or can happen, because of this Exception.

  • Options: what can be done about it? Give your opinion, but remember that’s the Project Board that makes the final decision.

  • Project and stage objectives: the six variables with their target value, tolerance, current value, and forecast. At least one of these is out of tolerance, and that’s why you’re preparing this report.

  • Lessons Learned: have you learned a lesson facing this problem? If so, write it down. Also, don’t forget to also add it to your Lessons Log.

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