I was talking to a group the other day about impediments. We were debating the temporal relationship between risks and impediments. We arrived at the following conclusion: Risks are potential threats to our projects that lie in the future. Once they manifest themselves in the present, we call them impediments. And once impediments are resolved and we move on, they become lessons. I’m intentionally not referring to them as “lessons learned” because I’m not sure we always learn from the experience.
So risks exist in the future, impediments exist in the present, and lessons exist in the past. I like the relationships and the terminology – it helps me to understand how to deal with these creatures.