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05 May 2013

Differences between Risks and Issues in Projects, Part 1

Differences between Risks and Issues in Projects, Part 1


Updated 1 June 2014

People define issue in many ways, but in project management, issue has a special meaning.

In everyday English, one synonym for issue is topic. An issue is a situation that merits discussion. For example, the issue, what caused the last ice age or is man's contribution to climate change significant compared to factors such as volcanic ash and the variability of our star.

Everyday issues include past, present, and future situations. Discussions about issues may or may not lead to actions. Often, when we say that something is an issue, we imply that people disagree about it.

In project management, an issue is a situation that merits consideration because it affects the project. For example, the vendor left our parts to rust on the dock and will not ship them until they get paid, but our policy prohibits paying for the shipment until we receive and inspect it.

If the issue is significant, the project team will study actions that would reduce or remedy the situation effects on the project. This leads to change requests.

Part 2 (click here) focuses on the definition of risk and explains a side of risk that most PMP prep materials overlook.

Copyright 2013, 2014 Richard M. Wheeler

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