The Difference between Risks and Issues

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Project risk management is very important for any project regardless of size. It is one of the best practices companies enforce to cut down the costs of their projects and ensure that they run smoothly. However, one of the significant details which every project manager should know to enforce this best practice smoothly is the difference between a risk and an issue.

Risks vs. Issues

Risks are usually unknown events which may take place during the project and affect a project’s expenses, schedule, scope or quality. Though not all risks are bad, project managers and workers fear them.

On the other hand, issues are immediate problems that need to be solved on the spot through new tasks added to the project’s plan, an extended schedule and an increase to the budget. After these are set and implemented, issues will be tracked and resolutions will be attempted until the issue is removed from the project.

If a threat is identified as a risk, it will first be documented upon discovery. After that, its probability and impact will be assessed and tasks for removing this risk or reducing its effects will be planned. Finally, the project manager or the staff in charge of risk management will monitor the risk and update accordingly.

However, if the threat is an issue, it will be tracked until action is taken to resolve it. The process of tracking and taking action will continue until the issue is no longer a threat to the project.

Why Bother with Understanding Risks and Issues

Handling risks and issues differently will make managing projects much easier. Because risk management is very important in a project, knowing when to exercise it to its full potential is necessary. Besides, companies will not appreciate spending large sums of money on issues because these aren’t as costly or dangerous as risks.

So, knowing the difference between risks and issues is a must for every project manager.

Further reading: Corporate Governance | Audit | Performance Improvement

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