An Issue is an event that has an impact on the project. It can be problems with staff or suppliers, technical failures, material shortages, etc. These events address obstacles that can hinder project success and/or block the project team from achieving its goals. They can be caused by such factors as situations to be investigated, and emerging or unanticipated responsibilities. Even if these issues usually are identified and created from an external point of view (Customer or Team Member), it is the responsibility of the Project Manager to effectively manage and monitor issues on a regular basis in order to maintain project stability and efficiency throughout the project lifecycle.
Issues and Risks are often used interchangeably and are presumed to mean approximately the same thing. However they are not the same. The fundamental difference is one of timing.
According to PMBOK, risk can be defined as an uncertain event or condition that results in a positive or negative effect on a project's objectives. Whereas, an issue can be defined as an event or condition that has already happened and has impacted or is currently impacting the project objectives.
Problems with Staff or Suppliers,
Technical or Design failures,
Material shortages or delays,
Resistance to change,
Sponsor Support Disengagement.
Managing an issue is a form of crisis. The degree of seriousness may vary.
A Major Issue: one that could impede progress or the successful completion of the project and requires immediate attention.
A Concern: is not a major issue, but it’s something you want to stay aware of, because it could develop into something that requires attention.
A Situation: is another issue that might be a concern or a major problem, but develops from a situational standpoint.
The Issue Management Process is very similar to the Risk Management Process.
Issue Identification – It is the process by which issues are identified. Indeed, Issues can come from multiple sources; for example, from a question raised via email, or any of the regular project meetings which are held. As soon as an issue has been identified it should be recorded.
Owner Identification – Once an Issue has been identified, it should be assigned to an Owner who will be responsible for resolving and/or reporting back on the Issue.
Issue Analysis – Issues should then be analyzed in order to determine their urgency and criticity. An Issue with a high impact but low urgency needs to be dealt with but the Project Team has some time to plan how to handle it, whereas an Issue with a high urgency and high impact needs to be dealt with immediately or it will very quickly have a large detrimental impact on the project.
Issue Evaluation – If lots of issues arise at the same time, they will be compared and prioritized.
Action Steps Definition – It represents the time when the Issues are resolved by the Issues Owners.
Monitoring & Reviewing – Periodically, the Project Manager reviews and updates all issues to see if they have been resolved and can be closed, or if the impact and urgency of the issue has changed.
The relationships available for Issues are as follows:
This relationship will be created when the Issue reaches the “Closed” Workflow State. The Issue can thereupon be transformed into another object, while allowing the user to keep track of its evolution.
Issues can be turned into Tasks (1-1).
The Issue can be attached to another object, allowing the user to associate some or all of the elements they respectively share with each other. This connection can be created and deleted without any consequences.
Actions (1-N), Attachments (1-N), and Backlog Items (N-N) can be attached to Issues.
Duplicate & Attach to
The relationship will be created when the Issue reaches the “Duplicate” Workflow State. The Issue can thereupon have a Parent-Child relationship with another Issue.
An Issue can be attached to another Issues (N-N) when “connecting” them together.