Do you provide enough focus to risk and issue management on your project, to ensure it can deliver successfully? ….or do you just wait and hope that your project will simply follow the path and plan you put in place without any deviations?
We have many collective years of experience here at Simplify Consulting, helping clients manage risks and issues more effectively. We have seen a vast array of projects where not enough attention was provided to this subject, resulting in adverse impacts – from difficulties to deliver to time, quality and budget to stopping the projects overall when delivery was no longer feasible.
Risk and issue management ensures that projects can manage and tolerate uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. Management and communication of risks and issues is vital to support decision making by Sponsors and Stakeholders and to facilitate resolution/mitigation.
We’ve helped guide our clients to get the projects in better shape with a few simple steps, to ensure risks and issues are understood, managed and communicated. From our experience, we’ve summarised some of our top tips for you, to help you towards achieving a more successful project…

What should you consider:

Risks vs Issues – understanding the difference.

A Risk can be defined as a potential event or a set of events which, should it occur, will have an impact on the achievement of the objectives. An issue is an unplanned event that has already happened and have impact on your project. The main differences between risk and issues are related to timing and probability.

In summary it is as simple as this: A risk is something that has not happened yet, but might, and an issue is a problem you currently experience.

•   Actions – both risks and issues require you to take appropriate actions. In the case of risks, this relates to what we do to prevent them from happening or how to minimise the damage should they occur. As Issues are the things which have already gone wrong, and you are therefore (hopefully) in the middle of sorting out so they require appropriate actions in place to resolve.

   Record – ensure all your risks and issues are recorded and clearly articulated. This will help all your stakeholders to understand what it is that may impact the project and what is causing it. This will enable you to determine actions required to resolve. Key headers to consider include: Description, Date identified, Impact/ likelihood, Owner, Resolution or Mitigating actions, Target Resolution Date (and regular updates!)

•   Review – issues need to be resolved and risks controlled. Agreeing the actions to reduce the adverse impact and regularly reviewing the status of them, depends on the project and risks and issues identified. The frequency required may differ from project to project or even between the items on your log. Despite all efforts to identify and articulate them, not being diligent and missing an important action may still have adverse impact on your project so checking them regularly will help.

•   Communicate – identify how you plan to communicate with everyone, and how you will tailor the level of detail to differing audience. Your immediate team may need to have all the details of risks and issues to help day to day management and resolution. However, your sponsor and senior stakeholders will likely only be interested in the key items of escalation and when their support is required.

•   Management Strategy – Risks can be avoided, reduced, managed, transferred or accepted. It is important to understand that not all risks can be avoided or reduced. There are risks which are outside of our control and whilst we identify them, sometimes there is nothing that can be done about them (think pandemic!).
The lack of a risk and/or issue management strategy can ultimately cause a delay to project, increased costs and even the project failing completely where it’s not communicated. So regular review and management is critical for any project to be successfully delivered.

If you’d like to know more about how we can help guide you through setting up and running your projects and today’s key topic of ‘risks and issues management’, please get in touch with us using