Jul 28 2023

Is Project Issue Management Central to Success?

Team Collaboration
8 minutes
project issue management

Imagine you are embarking on a new project. You have the team, the resources, and the vision to create and execute a successful project. But, wait, what about the unexpected challenges that might pop up along the way? That is where project issue management comes into play! In this article, we will explore project issue management's importance in project success, how it differs from project risks, potential consequences of unaddressed issues, and early issue identification strategies.

What Is Project Issue Management?

project issue managementProject issue management is the process of identifying, analyzing, and addressing potential and existing issues that may arise during a project’s lifecycle. These issues can damage your project's objectives, resources, or overall success. You might now question, "But, isn't that the same as dealing with risks?" Unlike risks, which are uncertain events, issues are actual problems that require immediate attention and resolution. When planning a project, you must anticipate and plan for potential risks and issues.

Project Risks V/S Project Issues: Understanding the Crucial Distinction

Project risks and issues are often confused, but they have distinct characteristics. Risks refer to potential events that may or may not occur and can have positive (opportunities) or negative (threats) project impacts. On the other hand, issues are real problems that have already manifested and require immediate attention and resolution. Consider it the difference between expecting a rainy day and getting caught in the rain.

How Critical Is Issue Management in Project Success?

Is the issue resolution process significant to your project's success? Unresolved issues can affect your project's timeline, budget, and overall success. Additionally, unaddressed issues cause dissatisfaction among stakeholders and negatively impact the project team's morale. Consider it as fixing a small leak before it turns into a burst pipe flooding the entire project! When you promptly identify and address the issues, they are less likely to escalate into significant problems that could derail your project’s success. Timely issue resolution undoubtedly keeps your project on schedule, and within budget, and ensures that deliverables meet quality standards. "If you want your project to be a success, you need to have a plan in place to respond quickly and effectively to any issues that arise," says the founder of PDUs2Go.com Jennifer Bridges, in her article at ProjectManager.

According to a study by ProjectManager, the risk response plan and risk response strategies are critical to manage projects and deliver success. By effectively managing project issues, you can mitigate negative impacts and capitalize on positive risks or opportunities that may arise during the project.

Potential Consequences of Unaddressed Issues

project issue managementWhen issues go unaddressed, they can lead to severe consequences for a project. For instance, a study by the Project Management Institute (PMI) reported that about 17% of projects failed due to ineffective communication, which often stems from unaddressed issues. Moreover, unmitigated issues can result in costly rework, client dissatisfaction, and reputational damage.

According to data compiled by Wrike, 75% of IT executives believe their projects are doomed right from the start. Furthermore, project leaders attribute the top five reasons for project failure to poor communication, insufficient resources, unrealistic expectations, inadequate project planning, and a lack of stakeholder involvement. Imagine the chaos that unaddressed issues can create. It is like a domino effect that can topple your entire project!

Benefits of Effective Issues Management Process

A robust issue management process brings numerous benefits to a project.

  • It enhances the team's ability to identify potential risks and issues early on, allowing them to develop mitigation plans proactively.
  • It fosters open communication among team members, stakeholders, and clients, facilitating prompt issue resolution.
  • It reduces the chances of project failure and increases the likelihood of meeting project objectives.

Additionally, you can improve stakeholder satisfaction and maintain a positive project reputation by addressing issues. Ultimately, effective issue management leads to better project outcomes and higher levels of project success.

Proactive Strategies for Identifying Potential Issues Before They Strike

Early identification of potential issues is crucial for effective issue management. There are several strategies that project managers can employ to spot these issues:

Comprehensive Risk Assessment
Conduct a thorough risk assessment during the project planning phase to identify potential issues that could arise. You can develop mitigation strategies to address these issues by anticipating risks.

Stakeholder Engagement
Engage stakeholders at all project stages to gather insights and identify potential issues you might have overlooked.

Lessons Learned from Previous Projects
Leverage lessons learned from previous projects to anticipate common issues and incorporate best practices into the current project's planning and execution.

Issue Tracking Tools
Utilize issue-tracking tools and software to monitor the project's progress and identify emerging issues.

Regular Progress Reviews
Conduct regular progress reviews with the project team to identify any emerging issues and address them.

Approaches to Mitigate Identified Issues Before They Escalate

Once you have identified potential issues, implement effective strategies to mitigate them. Some approaches include:

  1. Early Intervention: Address potential issues as soon as you identify them to prevent them from escalating.
  2. Risk Response Plans: Refer to the risk response plans developed during the risk assessment process to guide the resolution of identified issues.
  3. Collaboration and Communication: Foster open communication and collaboration among team members and stakeholders to collectively resolve issues and make informed decisions.
  4. Contingency Planning: Develop contingency plans to handle potential high-impact issues. Contingency plans outline predefined actions you must undertake if specific issues occur.

From Turmoil to Triumph: A Real-Life Issue Management Case Study

Project issue managementISB AG, an IT service provider based in Germany, faced challenges in project issue management due to using various bug-tracking applications for each new project. This led to lengthy setup times and delays in project delivery. To address this issue, they decided to streamline their bug-tracking process by adopting one of the easiest-to-use tools already in their arsenal.

The impact of this decision was significant. With the new bug-tracking solution, ISB AG reduced defect liabilities from 5% to below 3%, a remarkable 50% improvement in quality. Additionally, the project setup time, which used to take two weeks, was reduced to just two days, marking an impressive 85% decrease in time. This enhancement accelerated project delivery and eliminated unnecessary overhead that had no value to the customers.

By making this smart move towards a more efficient issue management process, ISB AG improved its project success rate, ensuring smoother and more streamlined project development and implementation.

Aligning Issue Management with Overall Project Objectives

You cannot deal with issues in isolation. Therefore, align the issue management process with your project's goals. Whenever addressing issues, you must consider how each resolution aligns with the project's strategic direction and benefits stakeholders. By maintaining a clear alignment between issue management and project objectives, you must prioritize your team’s efforts effectively, focusing on issues that can significantly impact the project's success.

Empowering Your Team with Cutting-Edge Issue Management

In today's fast-paced business environment, effective issue management is crucial for project success. Modern-day project issue management platforms provide a comprehensive and real-time overview of all projects in an organization. With flexible monitoring through customizable dashboards, you can quickly identify deviations or potential issues and make informed decisions based on the latest project insights. Furthermore, predictive analytics identify potential project issues by analyzing the project’s hard data from the project and context-sensitive feedback from stakeholders. The tools also assist you by providing timely and objective information critical at all stages of project development. Identifying failed projects early on can save considerable resources. When deadlines are met, budgets are tamed, and clients are happy, it is a win-win for everyone. Isn’t it?

Are you looking for a comprehensive solution to manage project issues and ensure project success? TrueProject has it all. This powerful platform leverages predictive intelligence to assess project health, allowing managers to identify risks, ensure best practices compliance, and predict potential problems well in advance. With its 360-degree view based on both hard data and context-sensitive feedback, TrueProject offers a holistic understanding of project dynamics. If you want to stay ahead of issues and achieve project excellence, TrueProject is an absolute must-have for managers!

Project issue management is like having a shield to protect your project from unexpected trouble. To master the art of issue management, employ various proactive strategies such as conducting comprehensive risk assessments, engaging stakeholders, learning from past projects, and utilizing issue-tracking tools. But do not stop there! Always align your issue management with your project's objectives. So, as you embark on your next project, remember that while challenges are inevitable, effective issue management enables you to transform turmoil into triumph. Empower your team with TrueProject, and watch your project soar to new heights of success!

Dale MalcolmAbout the Author:

Dale Malcolm is the Director of TrueProject Customer Success with over 30 years of experience spanning software development, consulting, and business process re-engineering across multiple industries and countries. He has excelled in roles ranging from lead architect for data collection systems to database architect for telecom software and has led various teams in implementing cost-effective and efficient IT solutions, including ERP and Enterprise Architecture practices.



  1. “Project Issue Management.” MindTools, 2023. https://www.mindtools.com/a7dj6xv/project-issue-management
  2. Bridges, J. “8 steps for better Issue management.” ProjectManager. February 14, 2022. https://www.projectmanager.com/training/managing-project-issues
  3. “Project management statistics.” Plaky Learn, 2023. https://plaky.com/learn/project-management/project-management-statistics/#What_causes_project_failure
  4. “How do you identify potential problems in your projects before they escalate?” Problem Management. LinkedIn, (n.d.). https://www.linkedin.com/advice/0/how-do-you-identify-potential-problems-your#:~:text=One%20of%20the%20first%20steps,to%20mitigate%20or%20avoid%20them.
  5. Everitt, Jessica. “How to spot early signs of project failure.” Blog Wrike, June 08 2021. https://www.wrike.com/blog/spotting-project-failure-early/
  6. Project Management. (n.d.). “How do you measure and demonstrate the value of issue management?” Project Management. LinkedIn, (n.d.). https://www.linkedin.com/advice/0/how-do-you-measure-demonstrate-value-issue-management
  7. Indeed Editorial Team. “Issue Management: 5 steps for creating an Effective process.” Indeed.com, June 25, 2023. https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/issue-management. https://www.pmi.org/learning/library/contingency-planning-necessity-risk-assessment-8898
  8. Sharma, Nandini. “30 Authentic project management Statistics you cannot afford to miss!” ProofHub, May 30, 2023. https://www.proofhub.com/articles/project-management-statistics
  9. Miller, David. “100+ Project Management Statistics & Facts (Updated 2023).” ProProfs Project Blog, January 6, 2023. https://www.proprofsproject.com/blog/project-management-statistics/
  10. Totenberg, Tom. “How issue management Helps Shorten project Times: 3 examples.” Perforce Software, January 14, 2021. https://www.perforce.com/blog/alm/how-issue-management-shortens-project-time-example