When planning an event or project, there will always be uncertainties. Out of these uncertainties you get threats, which can lead to risks and issues. The distinction between a risk and an issue is relatively simple, but needs to be understood if both are to be managed effectively. Uncertainties can also lead to positive opportunities, which we will address at the end of the piece.

Both risks and issues relate to unplanned events that can have an impact on your project. A risk is something that might happen that would have an impact on your project. An issue is something that is currently happening and is having an impact on your project.

For a simple example let’s look at a project of running from one side of a field to the other.

  • When managing the risk of the poor field condition, you might take mitigating actions to eliminate or reduce the risk, such as filling holes before you start to run, or wearing padding so that you are less likely to be injured if you fall. You might also build a contingency plan with all the steps you’ll take in the case that you do fall, enabling you to still make it to the other side of the field.

  • When managing the issue of the poor conditions causing you to fall, you would enact that contingency plan to ensure that the actual impact to your project of running across the field is as small as possible. These actions should be given priority, as without them the project is likely to fail.

In risk and issue management it’s important to ensure items are classified correctly. Most importantly, if a risk comes to pass, it’s important to change that risk into an issue so it can be managed appropriately.

Opportunities are often forgotten about in risk & issue management, but they also need to be tracked correctly, or you could miss a chance to benefit from uncertainty. In WeTrack, you can set up a strategy to ‘Exploit’ an opportunity and create actions that work towards that goal.

Thank you for reading. Why not check out the rest of our introductory risk and issue management articles?

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