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Defining Issues & Risks

By bryanmorison ·
I'm looking for a clear definition for project risks & project issues; by definition, what's the difference?

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by stress junkie In reply to Defining Issues & Risks

You might get a better answer by reading a book on
business management. If you are asking this question
for a classroom assignment then I would strongly
recommend getting a formal answer from a business
management text book.

From a practical side I'll say that a useful answer
depends on the culture of the group using the terms. It
seems to me that 'issues' could include 'risks', so
'risks' would be a subset of 'issues'.

If you want to say that issues is not a perfect synonym
for risks, again depending on what the people in the
conversation believe, then issues are any potential
problems while risks are potential causes of calamity.
For instance an issue might be that there is not enough
time to complete the project before it 'has' to be
deployed. You would, therefore, have to consider
whether to get the project partially functional by the
deadline and deploy that partial solution on time or to
just completely slip the deadline and deploy a fully
functional product when it is available. On the other
hand a risk might be known or unknown bugs in the
technology used to implement the project. A couple
examples might be that a bit of software used to create
the project might have a bug adding numbers and the
project is focused on adding numbers, or a network
centered project would be susceptible to vulerabilities
in networking technology.

Another example in the area of software development
could be that an issue would be concern over whether
the end user interface would be confusing and likely to
cause delays and mistakes from the end users while a
risk might be that unauthorized people might be able
to see and alter application data.

I think in the end that the distiction between risks and
issues is dependent on the culture of the group
discussing these subjects.

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by eokimber In reply to Defining Issues & Risks

At the simplest level:

risk - might or might not happen, a threat, probability varies, plan for, differetn type: personnel, technical, political, etc.

issue - has happened or 100% probability will happen, a problem, impact is being seen, must be addressed

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by DC_GUY In reply to Defining Issues & Risks

There are no standard definitions of these terms, especially in relation to each other. In fact, I don't hear the terms "risk" and "project issues" in the same conversation.

This does look an awful lot like a homework assignment, because I can't imagine any other place where this particular question could have arisen.

I think you're stuck. You may get a lot of good definitions from this crowd, but there's very little chance that any one of them will be the precise one that your instructor is looking for.

If by some quirk this is really not a homework assignment, then I can't imagine the context of the question. The answer you've already gotten looks good enough for me.

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by ansonrah In reply to Defining Issues & Risks

this looks like homework to me too. if so, the answer is somewhere in your notes or the text. the other posts are correct, there is no fixed definition of these terms- find out what the instructor wants and repeat it back. having said that, i will add my own definition: risk is an unknown with a potentially fatal impact, issue is a decision point.

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by SridharPandu In reply to Defining Issues & Risks

Project risks are something that can derail your project if they arent mitigated. Issues are small hinderences that are usually overcome by dicussions. Let me illustrate with examples.

Not getting a singn off for the use cases within the stipulated time is an issue.

Your application supporting 2 decimals for amount is a risk if you happen to have a client in Oman (The rial requires 3 decimal places)

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