Issues and Risks
Why understanding Issues and Risks can bring your project in early
Many people confuse issues and risks, but having a clear understanding of how they differ can easily bring your project in on time or early. Simply put, an issue is a problem that is with you today, a risk is just an issue waiting to happen.
1. Keep two separate logs in an excel spreadsheet, one for issues and one for risks. This helps you think through the each problem that comes to you. When thinking about issues you're concerned with their impact to your project today, so you prioritise and take action accordingly. With Risks, you're considering their likelihood and impact, so you plan and action mitigating strategies accordingly.
2. Don't make the mistake of many project managers and only consider risks at the beginning of a project. Risks, just like issues, need to be monitored daily. Failure to do this and you soon become an expert fire fighter, which is great if that's what you want to be.
3. Keeping an updated Issues and Risks log is a great way for you to quickly provide those all important weekly status reports your boss needs. Most of what you need will be in there.
4. An Issues and Risks log is essential for you if things go bad. In this situation there is always a post mortem of the situation, this is essential as a lesson learnt exercise. Your logs will show that you were actively and proactively managing things and had identified the issue previously and if not how it got past you. You don't want to get caught out twice, if you can avoid it.
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