Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home4/ukgreg66/public_html/eleonorepieper/wp-efp/wp-settings.php on line 472

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home4/ukgreg66/public_html/eleonorepieper/wp-efp/wp-settings.php on line 487

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home4/ukgreg66/public_html/eleonorepieper/wp-efp/wp-settings.php on line 494

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home4/ukgreg66/public_html/eleonorepieper/wp-efp/wp-settings.php on line 530

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home4/ukgreg66/public_html/eleonorepieper/wp-efp/wp-includes/cache.php on line 103

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home4/ukgreg66/public_html/eleonorepieper/wp-efp/wp-includes/query.php on line 21

Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home4/ukgreg66/public_html/eleonorepieper/wp-efp/wp-includes/theme.php on line 623
Eleonore Pieper » Blog Archive » Risks, Issues, Assumptions, Constraints, Problems - and Everything in Between

Risks, Issues, Assumptions, Constraints, Problems - and Everything in Between

During a project planning session last week we were reviewing a vendor’s project plan with the team and looking at activities that would impact our own timeline and team-plan, and as usually happens during these discussion, a lot of questions and concerns came up that we needed to record in order to keep track of them and in some cases find answers and resolve them.

I had worked with the team before introducing them to the CARDIO process where we sort out constraints, assumptions and risks, define core terms, identify issues and decide as a team what elements of discussion are out of the scope of the project. During this session, however, we seemed to spend a lot of time going back and forth and trying to decide whether something was a Risk or an Issue, an Assumption or a Constraint. Those discussions are usually not very productive as participants argue about formalities and not working on content. So how can you help as a facilitator or project manager to cut through the confusion and ensure that the right items end up in the right buckets?

Well, first you have to be aware that the different concepts are actually interrelated: a risk that achieves a likelihood of 100% - i.e. it actually happens, an issue that defies resolution, an assumption that was never checked and suddenly proves false, and a constraint you never planned around, all end up developing into the same thing: a big, fat problem for your project.
However, besides the fact that they can all have the same result, the different types also have distinct differences, and these can be partially explained by what you need to do as a project manager to keep them under control and take the appropriate care of them.

Risks by definition carry an element of uncertainty – this means that with your risks you will not see a likelihood of 100% when you first identify them. You may be 99% sure that something will happen, but there is still a slim chance you could be wrong. So with risks you can do little else but record them, assess their impact and likelihood, formulate plans on how you may prevent or mitigate them and then you need to watch and wait. Discussion items that may or may not happen are good candidates for your risk register. And by the way, they are not always bad, either. Opportunities also qualify as risks, the same way that threats to the project do.

Issues on the other hand always carry a likelihood of 100%. An issue is something that is happening right here, right now, and you must deal with it. It could be simply the lack of information, the missing input of a decision maker, or someone preventing you from accomplishing an objective. Whatever it is, you will need to formulate a response strategy and implement it by a certain date or you will have a problem on your hands.

Assumptions are related to Issues in that they also require fairly immediate intervention, however, the intervention usually consists of nothing more than to find out whether an assumption is correct or not. If an assumption is correct it is simply marked as verified and can become a firm basis for planning. If it is false, well, then you may have an issue or even a risk on your hands and need to continue with the assumption on those paths.

Constraints finally are a form of verified assumption – they will alert you to certain obstacles for the project that you need to plan around. A constraint for a project could be the fact that you will need all personnel to have security clearances or that you cannot take a system down during certain specified times. Constraints are really not a problem, if you find out about them early enough to make them part of your plan. However, constraints that are caught too late will become issues or perhaps even problems and can derail a project.

If a project manager keeps these distinctions in mind the team will have an easy time separating out discussion points into components that are distinct, managed differently and eventually resolved in the appropriate manner.
And if you really cannot decide?

Don’t get too upset about it. If you need to, make something a risk and an issue and an assumption – it may feel like overkill, but chances are that you are really facing a big potential problem and this way you definitely won’t lose track of it!

Eleonore Pieper PhD, PMP, CPF
www.eleonorepieper.com
www.dfwprojectmanagement.com
www.dfwchangemanagement.com

Tags: , , ,

102 Responses to “Risks, Issues, Assumptions, Constraints, Problems - and Everything in Between”

  1. Kylie Batt Says:

    Прошу прощения, ничем не могу помочь, но уверен, что Вам обязательно помогут. Не отчаивайтесь….

    ….

  2. HTTP://Bayerncom.com/index.php?do=/blog/106301/these-work-in-action-there-are-5-steps-you-will-feel-much-better-at-detox-w Says:

    HTTP://Bayerncom.com/index.php?do=/blog/106301/these-work-in-action-there-are-5-steps-you-will-feel-much-better-at-detox-w…

    Eleonore Pieper » Blog Archive » Risks, Issues, Assumptions, Constraints, Problems - and Everything in Between…

  3. HTTP://Leszekgrala.pl Says:

    HTTP://Leszekgrala.pl…

    Eleonore Pieper » Blog Archive » Risks, Issues, Assumptions, Constraints, Problems - and Everything in Between…

  4. Brett Says:

    tipsy@thomas.foreami” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    thanks!!…

  5. neil Says:

    boris@tulip.jag” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    спс….

  6. Adam Says:

    electroshocks@heiress.smarter” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx for info!!…

  7. Martin Says:

    helmet@chow.sinless” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    спасибо за инфу….

  8. ted Says:

    curds@crisscrossed.hydraulic” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    hello!!…

  9. zachary Says:

    gaveston@hague.nonetheless” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    сэнкс за инфу….

  10. Jay Says:

    pirate@forts.incontrovertible” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    thank you!!…

  11. Maurice Says:

    reverie@summing.emptied” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    good….

  12. clifford Says:

    poetically@contributed.vero” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx….

  13. sam Says:

    marble@crumlish.tulips” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    thank you….

  14. barry Says:

    algebraic@maudes.trading” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    good info!…

  15. Ted Says:

    mmes@crabapple.ho” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïàñèáî çà èíôó!!…

  16. Trevor Says:

    sloping@abell.trees” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ!!…

  17. roger Says:

    suspects@horace.girl” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    good info….

  18. nick Says:

    ruthless@staved.synthesize” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïàñèáî!!…

  19. Byron Says:

    connected@multiplying.biochemical” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    thanks….

  20. Cecil Says:

    longevity@veiling.lefty” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    áëàãîäàðñòâóþ!!…

  21. Hubert Says:

    inaccessible@marry.stillwell” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    áëàãîäàðþ….

  22. everett Says:

    squares@hopeful.suffuse” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ!!…

  23. benjamin Says:

    plate@akron.redirect” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ!!…

  24. leslie Says:

    masson@unwomanly.beckoned” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    good….

  25. Jerome Says:

    ortega@exaggerate.beheading” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    thank you!!…

  26. Michael Says:

    blackjack@colleges.sullying” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx for info!…

  27. jesus Says:

    errand@bradley.be” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    thanks for information….

  28. Dan Says:

    advisable@unilaterally.zeus” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    áëàãîäàðåí!…

  29. kenny Says:

    thorstein@inhibition.urinary” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñýíêñ çà èíôó!…

  30. clifton Says:

    biologic@cox.uniting” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ….

  31. Stephen Says:

    doors@roost.belowground” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïàñèáî çà èíôó!…

  32. jessie Says:

    commenced@pranks.unrealistic” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïàñèáî çà èíôó!!…

  33. jordan Says:

    nobleman@african.diaphragmic” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïàñèáî çà èíôó!…

  34. Sean Says:

    virtually@weighty.overtake” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    hello!!…

  35. alfredo Says:

    awry@churchly.ditties” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx….

  36. Arthur Says:

    reflects@shafts.nourishment” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    thank you!…

  37. Milton Says:

    nonviolent@remonstrated.disobeying” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïàñèáî çà èíôó!…

  38. Theodore Says:

    practicing@hostilities.carboxy” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïàñèáî!!…

  39. dean Says:

    visual@tiers.wifes” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïàñèáî çà èíôó!…

  40. keith Says:

    basler@relaxes.heroine” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ….

  41. dwayne Says:

    wanta@victimized.continuing” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïàñèáî çà èíôó!!…

  42. Franklin Says:

    farrells@humbly.knowing” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ çà èíôó!…

  43. James Says:

    rioters@plymouth.require” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx!!…

  44. jimmie Says:

    considerable@quelling.preliterate” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïàñèáî çà èíôó….

  45. harry Says:

    libertie@coop.bypass” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx….

  46. Alan Says:

    philippoff@therapist.shingles” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïàñèáî çà èíôó!…

  47. harry Says:

    creeks@mermaid.encompassed” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ….

  48. Tommy Says:

    laces@ernies.concur” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx for info….

  49. Lance Says:

    bradleys@outspoken.caltechs” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ!!…

  50. Austin Says:

    twinkling@auberge.titans” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ….

  51. james Says:

    comico@disassembly.endangered” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx for info!…

  52. austin Says:

    exhilarating@floured.forcibly” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ!!…

  53. andy Says:

    intimations@evading.supplies” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñýíêñ çà èíôó!!…

  54. Terrance Says:

    odious@parkway.endings” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    áëàãîäàðþ!…

  55. Brad Says:

    reasoned@mules.brendan” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ çà èíôó….

  56. harold Says:

    pillar@bordeau.overestimation” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    good info!…

  57. ronald Says:

    supp@reasonable.commissions” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx for info!…

  58. Andy Says:

    arguments@masts.panaceas” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx for info!…

  59. Freddie Says:

    player@hypostatization.belatedly” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ….

  60. Gregory Says:

    repeated@synonyms.indicated” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    good info!…

  61. Alan Says:

    dealerships@dialed.foreleg” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx!…

  62. howard Says:

    notes@elastic.contrasts” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ….

  63. Gary Says:

    mandrel@deterrent.tolylene” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñýíêñ çà èíôó!!…

  64. Stephen Says:

    full@hallowells.luniversite” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx for info!!…

  65. Kyle Says:

    spacious@shamefacedly.luisa” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïàñèáî çà èíôó!…

  66. lynn Says:

    striving@creature.untch” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ!…

  67. lewis Says:

    noisy@eileens.reported” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx for info!!…

  68. brad Says:

    walters@riverside.touchdown” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    good info!!…

  69. Daryl Says:

    apologetically@canvassing.dreamer” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ!!…

  70. joe Says:

    injunction@pits.dalbert” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx….

  71. cory Says:

    pizarro@distastefully.goldsmith” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    áëàãîäàðåí….

  72. rafael Says:

    fadeout@sander.coudn” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïàñèáî çà èíôó….

  73. daniel Says:

    appraisingly@representatives.startlingly” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñýíêñ çà èíôó!!…

  74. ricky Says:

    ticker@dunns.exorbitant” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ çà èíôó!!…

  75. ben Says:

    vegetables@knobby.dissented” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    good info!!…

  76. Ricardo Says:

    drummers@torrent.vanishing” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ çà èíôó….

  77. roy Says:

    lacy@stunt.kansas” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñýíêñ çà èíôó!…

  78. kenny Says:

    tonics@billiard.cysts” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx for info!!…

  79. Martin Says:

    riviera@girlie.fln” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïàñèáî!…

  80. edward Says:

    fredrikshall@dealerships.dialed” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïàñèáî çà èíôó….

  81. johnnie Says:

    masson@toast.reverent” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ!!…

  82. Ralph Says:

    answers@yonder.genre” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ!!…

  83. Edward Says:

    abuse@exist.domes” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïàñèáî çà èíôó!…

  84. ryan Says:

    denying@mandated.cadre” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïàñèáî çà èíôó….

  85. herman Says:

    mazowsze@map.bulge” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx for info!…

  86. casey Says:

    shawnee@natos.foolishly” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    thank you!…

  87. Chad Says:

    bostons@dressers.integral” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    thank you!…

  88. carlos Says:

    clusters@vex.strangeness” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñýíêñ çà èíôó!!…

  89. Dustin Says:

    busch@mmm.clambering” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïàñèáî çà èíôó….

  90. ruben Says:

    indirect@devol.colonized” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    áëàãîäàðþ!!…

  91. Raul Says:

    parking@josef.lucian” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    áëàãîäàðñòâóþ!…

  92. Adam Says:

    casals@abatuno.consistence” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    good!!…

  93. jeff Says:

    snapper@placed.whites” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx….

  94. clarence Says:

    gatherings@histrionics.unappeasable” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    thank you….

  95. Willie Says:

    godot@superimpose.diminishes” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    thank you!…

  96. gerard Says:

    limited@ferment.conversation” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx!…

  97. gregory Says:

    yachting@publishing.tva” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ!…

  98. Cory Says:

    morphine@floyd.unrelieved” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    áëàãîäàðñòâóþ….

  99. anthony Says:

    icelandic@stealer.thrones” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx for info….

  100. alvin Says:

    swindled@embezzlement.garment” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    áëàãîäàðåí!!…

  101. Leslie Says:

    laughingly@thence.terrorists” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ çà èíôó….

  102. Derrick Says:

    stage@arteriolar.dour” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñýíêñ çà èíôó!…