When a project goes awry, it can be difficult to pinpoint the cause. You may have nailed down the scope, assembled the right team, communicated effectively, and created a detailed plan, yet still, something’s not quite right. The next step is to explore issues and risks.

As project managers, we can sometimes get caught up in focusing solely on requirements and schedules and lose sight of the importance of managing issues and risks. So, what are issues and risks, and how do they differ?

An issue is a problem that has a solution. It’s important to identify the issue, explore possible solutions, select a course of action, document and track it. We practice issue management throughout the life of the project to ensure that problems are addressed and resolved quickly.

Risks, on the other hand, are possible eventualities. They may or may not happen, but it’s important to identify them and develop possible scenarios. We need to determine how we’ll know if they happen, as well as the approach for mitigation. From there, we monitor activities to watch for possible signs of the risk taking hold. This activity is conducted early in the project and periodically through its life-cycle.

When your project is in trouble, assessing how well you as a project manager have managed both issues and risks is crucial. Chances are you’ll find the likely culprit and be able to get back on track.

In conclusion, don’t underestimate the importance of managing issues and risks in your project management process. They may not always be at the forefront of your mind, but they are a critical component to ensuring your project stays on track.

We’re ready to help you identify your business’s issues and mitigate risks. Contact ClearPath Strategic to get started.