Project Management Institute

Risks vs. issues

Poor risk or issue management can lead to project failure. This article features a program manager at IBM (Bangalore, India) and a project management consultant/CEO of RefineM (Springfield, MO) debating whether project managers should treat risks and issues differently. It defines a risk as an event that has not happened yet, and an issue as something that already has happened. It then details how project professionals use an issue register or issue log to track issues. In addition, the article addresses how a risk is handled when it materializes. It then explains how issues recorded in the issues register should be discussed almost every day, while risks recorded in the risk register should be reviewed periodically. If a project is two years long, it would be overkill to review risks every week. The article makes additional recommendations for projects of various lengths.
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