Thursday, October 23, 2008

Risk Issue Problem

In software development, people tend to use the following definitions:
Issue: something that will cause complications or setbacks for the project.

Risk: something that has the potential to cause complications or setbacks for the project, if it occurs; and there is no plan to actively prevent it.
Under these definitions, an Issue is more severe than a Risk.

To me, that is backward:
Risk: something that has the potential to cause complications or setbacks for the project, if it occurs; and there is no ability to completely be sure of preventing it.

Issue: a complicating detail to attend to. Something intrinsically manageable, however, so that as long as it is addressed as planned, there will be no significant negative consequences to the project.

Problem: a complicating detail which is not routine, and presents a significant challenge to overcome. This seems to be what most people want to call an "issue".
It seems that the general lingusitic trend of replacing the word "problem" with "issue" has crept into software development.

1 comment:

  1. Weird - I always thought the word 'issue' was just corporate/biz euphemism for 'problem' or 'bug.'

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