Early examples of issue management systems appeared in the late 1980s with customer ticketing system. Businesses that implemented these systems were often addressing customer complaints and needed a method to document, track, and manage complaints to successful resolution. These systems evolved with the widespread introduction of Information Technology departments, leading to wider deployment of issue management systems in the form of 'help desk' systems.
Today, help desk and ticketing remain the most prevalent roles for issue management systems, though common enterprise-wide systems have emerged to consolidate and increase visibility of issues across an organization.
A typical issue workflow might look like this with regard to issue state: [issue submitted] -> [open] -> [in evaluation] -> [in work] -> [in test] -> [closed] Where the [in test] and [in work] phases often loop.
A typical issue management electronic workflow might look like this with regard to roles:
Any issue management process in which there are well defined inputs and outputs can be automated electronically.
There are both private and open source issue management software solutions available to companies interested in implementing issue management.
Open source issue management systems are steadily improving, but still have some short-comings compared to commercial solutions. At the time of this writing they have not incorporated important system features related to project integration. Specifically, open source solutions have not yet delivered features that contextualize issues as a part of an overall project, incorporate dependent and transitional fields, and support multiple workflows within a single interface.
In public relations, issue management is often used interchangeably with crisis management. Issue management is a formal management process to anticipate and take appropriate action on emerging trends, concerns, or issues likely to affect an organization and its stakeholders.
Issue managers often work in roles related to government affairs, legal affairs, public affairs and regulatory compliance.