The PMBOK® Guide describes risk as, An uncertain event or condition, that if it occurs, has a positive or negative effect on a project’s objective.
While a risk is considered an uncertain event, an issue can be defined as an event or condition that has already happened and impacted or is currently impacting the project objectives.
In other words, we can say that improperly managed risks can result in issues during the project lifecycle. Generally, suppose the project manager will be able to identify all possible negative risks, define proper, effective, and efficient response plans and continuously monitor the risk indicators throughout the whole project, triggering response plans as necessary. In that case, the probability of issues can be drastically reduced.
There are mainly four types of risk management strategies:
- Risk acceptance, meaning you are fine with the consequences of such risk factors on your project.
- Risk transfer is using third parties such as insurance agencies to transfer or share the risk.
- Risk avoidance, which mainly means deciding not to move forward with the idea
- Risk reduction is the strategy that requires well thought, actionable plan if a risk indicator is triggered. The main idea here is to reduce negative impact by implementing necessary treatment plans.
In the table below, you may see a comparison between examples of risk and issues to better understand their difference:
A critical resource might leave the project
A team member resigns
Team members of the project might take vacations during the critical time of the project.
No one can be confirmed when team members will take vacations.
There may be unanticipated requirement changes.
New functionality has been found that needs to be added to the scope of the project.
Something new might come up after impact analysis that may push the project dates.
Two new changes, which are the outcome of the Impact analysis, resulted in pushing the project deadline by a week.