Issues Management Process: Essential Steps to Manage Risk

November 14th, 2023 Hannah Tichansky Reading Time: 5 minutes
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The issues management process is a proactive approach designed to identify, track, and mitigate challenges before they escalate. In the dynamic world of third-party management, unexpected problems can arise, potentially derailing your company’s progress. Properly implementing a process can result in more efficient and successful outcomes.

This methodology is fundamental to project, product, and third-party management. It ensures issues are addressed promptly, reducing their negative impact.

By establishing a structured framework, teams are empowered to anticipate and respond to changes, both internally and externally. As a result, organizations can stay aligned with their objectives, even when facing challenges.

What Is an Issues Management Process?

The issues management process focuses on the challenges and obstacles organizations might face when handling third-party relationships. It emphasizes the identification, tracking, and resolution of problems to ensure that business goals stay on course and meet their intended objectives.

In third-party collaborations, issues management is critical for maintaining a project’s integrity and safeguarding the organization’s reputation. Platforms like Aravo highlight the importance of a structured approach in managing third-party data challenges.

Furthermore, it’s essential to set up an issues register, define responsibilities, and ensure clear communication among stakeholders. Such strategic measures enable teams to navigate unexpected hurdles and retain control over project trajectories.

What Is a TPRM Issues Management Process?

The Third-Party Risk Management (TPRM) issues management process specifically targets external risks associated with third-party vendors, suppliers, partners, and other entities outside the organization. This process is designed to manage and mitigate the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of these external collaborations.

Your first step is to identify and evaluate the risks related to third parties. Assessing the potential risks enables you to prioritize and determine the most critical risks that require immediate action.

As you assess risks, consider the following aspects:

  • Financial risk: The possibility of financial loss or instability through a third party.
  • Reputational risk: Potential negative repercussions to your brand or reputation.
  • Security risk: Threats to your organization’s information, systems, and data.

Once you have identified these risks, establish preventive measures for managing and controlling them. Effective communication is essential in helping you and your stakeholders understand the risks and work together to implement preventive strategies.

Moreover, adhering to compliance standards when interacting with third-party entities ensures operational safety and regulatory compliance.

Why Is It Important to Have an Issues Management Process?

Having a TPRM issues management process in place is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Protect your organization: Identifying, assessing, and managing risks helps prevent potential harm to your organization’s finances, operations, systems, and reputation.
  2. Enhance decision-making: You can make more informed decisions regarding third-party relationships with a thorough understanding of the risks involved.
  3. Improve response time: A well-structured process allows for a quicker, more efficient response to any issues that may arise, ultimately minimizing potential damage.
  4. Meet regulatory requirements: Adhering to a TPRM process ensures compliance with regulatory guidelines and standards.
  5. Strengthen relationships with stakeholders: Transparent communication fosters trust, resulting in more productive and lasting partnerships.

Maintaining open communication lines and engaging with public affairs and other relevant stakeholders is crucial for the success of this initiative.

In summary, implementing an issues management process enables you to proactively assess and manage risks associated with third-party relationships, safeguarding your organization and enhancing overall performance.

Issues Management in 6 Steps

The following key steps detail a comprehensive issues management process, helping you optimize time and resources.

Proactively identifying potential issues is the first step in the process. Conduct thorough research, leveraging internal and external sources, including third-party risk assessment tools, to detect patterns and trends.

By staying ahead, your organization will have a better chance to avoid crises.

Step 2: Prioritize Known Risks

Not all issues are equal. Allocate your resources efficiently by prioritizing them based on their potential impact, likelihood of occurrence, and resources required –helping you focus on the most critical issues to address.

Step 3: Establish Policies and Collaborate

Once you’ve identified and prioritized issues, establish clear policies and structures for addressing them. Collaboration among your team members is essential, making it easier to create and maintain a coordinated response. Seek input from all relevant parties.

Step 4: Monitor and Review Progress

Regularly monitor how you’re meeting issue resolution deadlines and using resources effectively. Adjust your approach when new information comes to light.

See how Aravo’s continuous monitoring capability automates the ongoing monitoring process.

Step 5: Strategic Planning

Your issues management process should be an integral part of your organization’s strategic planning. Assess which issues may impact your long-term objectives and incorporate them into your strategic plan.

Step 6: Promote Career Development

Acknowledge the importance of issues management as a key aspect of career development for its employees. Provide training, mentoring, and development opportunities for those involved, bolstering their expertise and effectiveness.

Understanding and expertise in issues management can act as a catalyst in fostering robust third-party relationships, making it a valuable skill set for employees.

Remember to continuously refine your approach as circumstances change, ensuring that your process remains effective in addressing new concerns that arise.

The Stages of the Issues Management Lifecycle

The lifecycle stages help you respond effectively to potential problems and achieve issue resolution.

Here are the key stages you need to consider:

  1. Early Stage: During this phase, you should always be on the lookout for emerging issues that could impact your project. Keep track of these potential issues in a database and maintain open communication with team members to ensure a timely response.
  2. Emerging Stage: As issues begin to take shape, it’s vital to assess their urgency and potential impact on your project outcomes. Establish transparent workflows for problem-solving and involve the necessary team members in the resolution process. Language barriers or other communication issues may play a role in identifying problems, so be proactive in addressing them.
  3. Current Stage: At this stage, issues now affect your project and require immediate attention. Track progress on the resolution and set a realistic deadline for resolving each issue. Ensure that all team members are aware of the problem and are actively working on the problem-solving process.
  4. Crisis Stage: If an issue escalates to a crisis level, it will demand your full and immediate focus. In this phase, it’s crucial to prioritize the issue and work with your team to identify the best approach to resolve it as quickly as possible. Communicate with all affected parties, including the public, to manage their expectations and maintain transparency.
  5. Dormant Stage: After resolving the issue, take the time to reflect on the process and how the parties handled it. Evaluate the actions taken, learn from mistakes, and improve your issues management system to prevent similar issues from arising.

Throughout each stage of the lifecycle, always maintain open lines of communication with your team members and ensure that everyone stays informed of the issue’s status.

Using a systematic approach to issues management, you can foster a culture of continuous improvement and minimize the impact of potential problems on your project outcomes.

Final Thoughts

As a professional, you will encounter various challenges and obstacles, from government regulations to internal disagreements.

Your organization’s autonomy and ownership over the issues management process is crucial. Proactively identifying, tracking, and resolving emerging concerns will prevent potential reputation risks and crises.

Crisis management and issue resolution require effective communication, decision-making skills, and a clear understanding of the priorities. Regularly reviewing and updating your strategy is a must to adapt to evolving circumstances and stay ahead of the competition.

In conclusion, by incorporating issues management as a vital part of your organization’s strategy, you can establish a robust system that not only guards against risks but also leads to better decision-making.

See how Aravo’s issue management and remediation capabilities allow you to manage every stage with full tracking, reporting, and auditability.

Hannah Tichansky

Hannah Tichansky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at Aravo Solutions, the market’s smartest third-party risk and resilience solutions, powered by intelligent automation. At Aravo, she manages all content and thought leadership produced for products and campaigns, and contributes as an author for articles and blog posts.

Hannah holds over 12 years of writing and marketing experience, with 6 years of specialization in the risk management, supply chain, and ESG industries. Hannah holds an MA from Monmouth University and a Certificate in Product Marketing from Cornell University.

Hannah Tichansky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at Aravo Solutions, the market’s smartest third-party risk and resilience solutions, powered by intelligent automation. At Aravo, she manages all content and thought leadership produced for products and campaigns, and contributes as an author for articles and blog posts.

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