I've often heard the question asked, "What are the challenges and issues faced in implementing X technology?" or "What are the challenges and issues faced by X?". Do challenges and issues mean the same thing here, or do both need to be answered separately? (If both need to be answered separately then what is the difference between the two?)
closed as off-topic by tchrist♦, 200_success, Drew, andy256, FumbleFingers Dec 22 '14 at 18:21
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I suggest that a challenge is an obstacle to overcome. The challenge may be daunting, and its outcome uncertain, but it must nevertheless be faced and dealt with.
An issue, on the other hand, may not qualify as a challenge (though it might), but it needs to be addressed if there is to be a chance for a good outcome. Perhaps an illustration might help.
Let's say that the Board of Education in a given town has determined that every teacher and paraprofessional within its system be required to have an iPad while they are at work, but within the school system a fairly large majority of teachers and paraprofessionals are 50 years old or older! That means there will be a significant number of people who are not comfortable with what they consider to be "new" technology and would rather do without that new-fangled gadget called an iPad.
A challenge in implementing the Board's directive might be overcoming the objections of the older teachers who are not comfortable with the new technology and are content with the status quo. How can they be convinced it would be in their best interest to get on board with the iPad. Some possible tactics could include one or more of the following:
demonstrating how much easier their jobs would be with an iPad
making one-on-one tutoring available to those who request
calling a meeting of all teachers in every school (the principal would do this) and have a person who is 50+ give a testimony of how helpful the iPad can be in doing a variety of education-enhancing things
An issue, on the other hand, could involve any of the following, for example:
how to keep track of the iPads and what to do if a teacher loses one or breaks one (accidentally or otherwise!)
which model of iPad the school will provide
how many are needed, since some employees already have iPads
what rules will govern the use of iPads during the school day
how to install wireless capability in the schools which may not have it yet, and who will do the installation and what equipment will be used
In conclusion, a challenge denotes an obstacle to overcome, whereas an issue, generally speaking, denotes a protocol for addressing the challenge in bite-size pieces, so to speak, and determining which issue(s) will be addressed first, second, third, etc., in order of importance (and how to rank the issues in order of importance).
If one is specifically referring to the common jargon known as "Corporate B.S.", the word "challenge" means logistical problems - "How are we gonna get this done when the boss won't pay to have the proper software installed") and "issue" means political problems - "The only way to get this done is to leave Dept.X out of the loop - but what will we do when they find out we went around them."
I run three corporations, and I can assure you that, in the real world, their meanings overlap significantly, but in the minds of many who use them, issue is more general than challenge.
An important topic or problem for debate or discussion:
the issue of tipping waitresses
raising awareness of environmental issues
A task or situation that tests someone’s abilities:
the traverse of the ridge is a challenge for experienced climbers
he took up the challenge of organizing a sports afternoon
In the real world, people would likely consider all their challenges to be issues , but they would not necessarily consider all their issues to be challenges.
Hardware compatibility issues would usually be a challenge for a successful software developer. It is a subject to talk about and a problem to solve.
Revenue issues might not be a challenge for a successful software developer. It is an issue to talk about, but it is not a problem to be solved.