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Issue Management Guide

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Issue management is the practice of managing problems, incidents and obstacles that get in the way of a strategy, project, task or process. This is a leadership activity that requires influencing and facilitation as there is seldom agreement on how to deal with each issue.

Issue Management Process

The process of risk management is an intuitive loop with the following steps:
identify & evaluate → treatment→ monitor & review
Issue management processes are typically some variant of the simple process above. In many cases, issue management falls under a project management or information technology service management (ITSM) methodology.

Issue Log

A list of issues is maintained by those responsible for issue management. It typically includes a unique identifier, description, impact, priority, status notes, status code, identified date, target resolution date for each issue.


Treatment is the process of deciding what to do about each issue. It is historically referred to as action implementation. The term treatment comes from risk management and is gaining popularity in recent years.

Treatment Options

Issue treatment is a process of decision making and problem solving. Generally speaking, there are five treatment options:

Completely solving the problem.

Partially solving the problem or reducing its impact.

Transferring the issue to someone else. For example, find a contractor who is willing to take the problem off your hands.

Sharing the issue with someone else. In some cases, one team's issue is another team's opportunity. For example, if you have idle resources another team might have things for them to do.

Not all issues are worth solving. It is common for issues to simply be accepted.

Marking an issue as parked for the moment with the idea that it should be fixed eventually. Usually these never get fixed.

Risk Management vs Issue Management

Risks are potential problems. Issues are actual problems. As such, issue management is essentially an extension of risk management. Where risk management identifies and treats problems that might happen, issue management identifies and treats problems that are in the process of happening. It is considered a good practice to treat high probability risks as issues. In other words, if something is almost certain to be a problem it is an issue as opposed to a risk.

Issue Management

This is the complete list of articles we have written about issue management.
Business Issues
Issue Management
Management Issues
Project Issues
Quality Issues
Root Cause Analysis
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Risk Control

A list of common risk controls.

Risk Value

A definition of risk value with example calculation.

Risk Impact

The common types of risk impact.

Risk Communication

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Risk Management Process

Overview of the steps in a risk management process.
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