First of all, let’s look at the high level difference between “Issues” & Risks”:
– Present focused
– Always negative
– Documented in “Issue register”
– Response will be “Issue work- around”
– Future focused
– Can be positive (or) negative
– Documented in “Risk register”
– Response will be done based on “risk response planning”
Now let’s see how risks & issues play an integral role in a project:
In general, if a project manager identifies all the possible negative risks and their respective response plans within the project, then the possibility of issues can be drastically reduced. (i.e. prevention is better than cure).
However, certain unforeseen situations may still arise which turn out to be issues. They could be certain potential risks which were unidentified in the past. They could also be risks which have been already identified, where the risk response plans are inadequate- and those events turn into issues and impact the project. If a project manager pays inadequate attention to risk management, there is a greater possibility of his spending his valuable time & efforts later in managing the issues that arise!
Now, when it comes to issue management the project manager will document the issues in the “issue register” and will perform an issues analysis to identify the possible “work-arounds” to fix the issue.
Let us suppose there is a FIRE in the room.
If we consider this in the context of issue & work-around, we say that there has been an occurrence of a fire, and we need to put it off by using a fire extinguisher. Since issues are present focused, there is a very limited time available to identify the work-arounds required to fix the issue.
Once the work-arounds are identified, it’s also equally important that such issues should not get repeated in future. There should also not be any possibility of re-occurrences in a different form, in order to bring it to a permanent closure. In case of a re-occurrence then such events will be treated as “risks” because risks are future focused. They will be documented in the “risk register” and then sufficient risk response plans should be identified to cover those possible future risks.