We talk a lot about risks and issues in the project world but some folks may not be clear on the difference. Here’s the 411…

A risk is the probability that an event may occur that will have a negative impact on your project. It arises from uncertainty and typically identified in the planning phase of a project. So it’s something that could happen

An issue on the other hand, is something that already has happened.  Like it or not, issues come up in every project.

Risk identification and assessment is about taking action to decrease or prevent the chance of an event happening, or preparing your course of action to deal with the impact if the risk event does occur. In the planning stage of your project, you should be gathering all the potential risks to the project from the experts on the team. Call it playing the ‘what if’ game to get them brainstorming about the things that could possibly go wrong. You’ll need to rank your risks in terms of how likely they are to occur, how severe the impact would be and assign a priority to them. Document your risk plan and monitor it throughout ht project.

Issues are inevitable. Depending on the complexity of the project, skill sets, team makeup or the expectations of clients, some projects attract more issues than others.

Managing issues is just part of managing a project and the better they are managed, the less chance the project will be late, over budget or not meet the requirements. Early warning is everything with issues – the sooner you are made aware of them, the sooner you can get them resolved and hopefully minimize any impact. Issues need to be tracked and owned – just like tasks or risks – so you don’t lose sight of them.

Fascinating eh? Dying to know more? Then get our ‘Painless Project Management’ online training … $50 off until September 28, 2012. Use Coupon Code BTS2012 www.virtualpminabox.com/pmcourse