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I have to disagree with some of my colleagues here. COVID19 is indeed a risk. Yes, I understand that it could also be seen like any other illness that might impact projects; i.e. flu. But that is the point, it is not like any other illness; it is not like almost any other event. A project risk is "an uncertain event or condition that, if it occurs, has a positive or negative effect on one or more project objectives". I could list all the risks that COVID19 poses to my projects, but rather have kept it as an umbrella for several risks. If some are reluctant to include it as a direct risk, then it would certainly qualify as an ambiguity risk. My organization's entire workforce will be moved to a work-from-home solution next week, normal project deliverables have been put on hold as we prepare for that solution, and the lists goes on. We don't know what the future holds. We can have terminology and semantic wars, but at the end of the day, history will record the disruption to our projects as COVID19; a risk that was identified (certainly in my risk register), eventuated, disrupted our project, and then ultimately mitigated...we hope!
There are also force majeure clauses in many project contracts that "excuse performance obligations or to extend time of performance on a contract when an unforeseeable event, or one that is beyond the contractor’s control, causes project delay." Watch this space for the many projects that go down this road waving the COVID19 banner. Is that also not a risk? ;-)
I may come across as academic, but COVID-19 is NOT a risk. A risk is an uncertain event which COVID-19 is not. It has happened.
It is certainly a source of risks to your project. For example, if a key team member falls sick then our project will be delayed.
The probability of that risk being realized might increase due to a pandemic occurring, but COVID-19 itself is not a risk.
It depends on the timeline and what really is uncertain.
And it should best be handled on organization level.
Before December 2019, Covid-19 was a unknown unknown, which was a risk, comparable to a meteor hitting NYC, though more likely. Since then and until it impacted your project it was definitely a risk and you could have taken countermeasures at least since January. Many people hoped in this period that it would not blow up like it did, so it certainly was uncertain for some weeks. Did you develop risk responses?
Now it is a problem that you have to deal with, agree with Kiron on that.
Still based on that problem, what will happen to your project is still uncertain in many aspects: Will your company go bankrupt, will your project still be a priority, will your sponsor be gone, your residual team capable, etc..
Besides these threats, also look on the bright side: every disruption creates opportunities.
At least, you should review your business case.
Epidemiologists warned about such a virus since years, but many people warn about many things, so it was a good practice not to add Covid-19 as a single risk.
Yes it is a risk.
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