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  • Project/Program
    Training Partners Program
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    On demand, short term consultancy
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    External Assessor
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    PM4NGOs Executive Director and PM4NGOs Partners Committee
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    On demand, each assessment is designed as a 3-hour process.
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    The consultancy is home-based
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    The fees paid to the consultant will be 40 USD per hour
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Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) as COVID-19 Risks Management Tool

By Bimal Ghimire

COVID-19 Pandemic has brought a new set of challenges and risks while managing projects in the recent time. Even though identifying and managing risks through risk management framework has been a norm among project management practitioners around the world, it will be difficult to find evidence of any project which could have anticipated and managed risk of this nature and level before this Pandemic. As a result, implementation of on-going projects has been affected and these needed changing some or all areas of project management e.g. scope/quality, time/schedule and/or cost/resources.

The Triple Constraint Triangle from Project D Pro

While many projects are already adopted as per the new normal, there is still a risk of COVID-19 and will continue to be so for up to several months or years in future despite the discovery of vaccine recently as it might take a long time to reach all the population of this world. Every project management requires at least some level of engagement within the project team and with stakeholders (including end beneficiaries) to plan and deliver its work effectively. Along with the Pandemic and restriction in movement, there has been increasing use of virtual/online means for communication, collaboration and even virtual visit which has contributed a lot in managing project. However, it is very difficult if not impossible to manage all the work virtually especially in development sector because many of the projects are implemented in remote and/or least developed areas. Therefore, to be able to continue projects to reach the people and communities in need, it is beneficial to develop and apply SOP which helps in managing the project risks.

While many projects are already adopted as per the new normal, there is still a risk of COVID-19 and will continue to be so for up to several months or years in future despite the discovery of vaccine recently as it might take a long time to reach all the population of this world. Every project management requires at least some level of engagement within the project team and with stakeholders (including end beneficiaries) to plan and deliver its work effectively. Along with the Pandemic and restriction in movement, there has been increasing use of virtual/online means for communication, collaboration and even virtual visit which has contributed a lot in managing project. However, it is very difficult if not impossible to manage all the work virtually especially in development sector because many of the projects are implemented in remote and/or least developed areas. Therefore, to be able to continue projects to reach the people and communities in need, it is beneficial to develop and apply SOP which helps in managing the project risks.

The US Environmental Protection Agency defines SOP as a document that provides set of instruction for a routine or repetitive work carried out by an organization. It further states SOP could be specific to the nature and need of an organization and it can help organization to maintain and ensure quality of process and to comply with organization as well as government regulation. With reference to this definition, SOP can be an important vehicle to mitigate COVID-19 related risks in a project. Even though SOP is generally applied in an organization with repetitive nature of work e.g. medical, it can also be adopted and applied in development projects because project also involves operation and administrative work and often there are similar set of activities in a project such as orientation and training.

Now the question is how to develop and apply SOP for a project to mitigate COVID-19 related risk to ensure health and safety of project team and stakeholders? Generally, a project in development sector delivers work in one or more of the following areas:

a. Office operation (desk-based work)
b. Meeting with stakeholders
c. Field visit and monitoring
d. Orientation and training
e. Construction activities

To take an example, if a project delivers its activities via desk-based work, then it can begin SOP development process by assessing and identifying risks related to COVID-19 while working in the office. After identifying risks, it should prepare mitigation measures considering the health and safety guideline of the organization, government and WHO as relevant and these measures can be implemented via standard operating procedures (SOP). Now, you might think why not COVID-19 related risks is simply mitigated through risk mitigation plan as before; but the advantage of SOP is that it helps to maintain and ensure quality of process and operation more systematically and effectively which is critical considering the current Pandemic. Once it is ready, the SOP should be communicated to the project team properly so that they understand and follow it thoroughly.

To make SOP for office operation more effective, some guiding questions might help for example: if SOP is easily accessible to read and easy to understand, if hygiene kit (mask, gloves, sanitizer, soap and water etc.) is available in office, if office/work space cleaned on regular intervals, if work space is arranged to maintain social distance, if work from home should be considered/continued, and if transportation should be organized for staff who depend on public transportation etc. Similarly, it is also important to consider how the suspected and infected staffs are handled, how the vulnerable staffs are taken care of, and how the COVID-19 related cost (for prevention and treatment) is covered. As the Pandemic is unfolding slowly and still unpredictable it is necessary to constantly review and update SOP on a regular interval such as weekly/bi-weekly or monthly. It is also important to identify focal person for communicating, monitoring and reporting of SOP implementation and escalating any risks or issues (including safeguarding) to appropriate level. If the project works with partner, it is also necessary to ensure the partner adopts similar approach to minimize risk throughout the entire delivery chain. Finally, the project should have functional grievance handling mechanism to ensure accountability and transparency in its work. The same approach can be taken to develop and apply SOP for other areas as mentioned above if needed.

The Golden Thread – Project Management in Three Sectors

This article and report has been originally published at the APM website
https://www.apm.org.uk/goldenthread/sector/

This report – the third in the Golden Thread series – is published at a time where many of the certainties in place when this research was conducted no longer exist. At the time of writing, the coronavirus looks like it will have a long tail of implications.

APM’s The Golden Thread research sought to identify the size and contribution of projects and project management to the UK economy and society. Following highly positive feedback and numerous requests for further information particularly for regional and sectorial detail, APM commissioned PwC Research to undertake a second phase to build on the original study. 

Our attention turns to some of the sectors where project management skills are increasingly being utilised to run projects more effectively, efficiently and professionally.

This research focuses on three growth areas for project management, which APM believes deserve specific attention as sectors where the contribution of project management has been overlooked or lacks specific data or attention.

These sectors are healthcare and pharmaceuticals/life sciences, the charity sector, and the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector as a whole. Our research concludes that project management is offering these sectors significant benefits and opportunities, which have the potential to result in improved professionalism and better project delivery.

Read the full article and access the reports at:
https://www.apm.org.uk/goldenthread/sector/

How to create and manage an Issue Log

Creating an Issue Log is an activity performed during project Implementation. The PMD Pro Guide defines an issue as:

An issue is an unresolved decision, situation or problem that will significantly impact the project and that the project team cannot immediately resolve.

The Issue Log is a tool for reporting and communicating designed to facilitate the timely resolution of issues. Without an issue log, it is possible to either ignore or forget about issues arising, only for those issues to have more serious consequences later on.

Click here to read this full guidance and access the series of “How to” guides available at the DPro+ platform.


The “How to” guides are booklets that present guidance and tips to develop some of the Project DPro and Program DPro tools. Some of the activities related to the project/program management routine are also included in the “How To” collection.

If you have an idea for a “How to” guide or you would like to write one, please contact our team and share your experience.

How to create a Work Breakdown Structure

The Work Breakdown Structure maps out the scope of the project, the work required to complete the project’s deliverables and the project management work required. It is a hierarchical decomposition of the project’s work. The WBS helps you to divide project work into smaller pieces.

Click here to read this full guidance and access the series of “How to” guides available at the DPro+ platform.


The “How to” guides are booklets that present guidance and tips to develop some of the Project DPro and Program DPro tools. Some of the activities related to the project/program management routine are also included in the “How To” collection.

If you have an idea for a “How to” guide or you would like to write one, please contact our team and share your experience.

How to create a Risk Register

Creating a Risk Register is a key activity during project Set Up. During the Identification and Definition phase high-level risk analysis is performed, and during project set-up risks are analyzed and risk responses are put in place.

Click here to read this full guidance and access the series of “How to” guides available at the DPro+ platform.


The “How to” guides are booklets that present guidance and tips to develop some of the Project DPro and Program DPro tools. Some of the activities related to the project/program management routine are also included in the “How To” collection.

If you have an idea for a “How to” guide or you would like to write one, please contact our team and share your experience.

How to create a RACI Diagram

Creating a RACI Diagram is a key activity during project Planning and is a key output of this phase.

As the complexity of projects increases, the web of relationships expands until it could potentially include community groups, government ministries, suppliers, local non-governmental organizations, universities, faith-based organizations and others.

Due to this complexity it’s sometimes difficult to know who is in charge of performing different activities within the project, and who needs to be informed about the progress of those activities.

Click here to read this full guidance and access the series of “How to” guides available at the DPro+ platform.


The “How to” guides are booklets that present guidance and tips to develop some of the Project DPro and Program DPro tools. Some of the activities related to the project/program management routine are also included in the “How To” collection.

If you have an idea for a “How to” guide or you would like to write one, please contact our team and share your experience.

How to create an Objectives Tree

Creating an Objectives Tree is an activity performed during project Identification and Definition. It is the second step towards creating a logical framework for the project and enables you to consider a positive future state in the target community when your project has had beneficial results.

Click here to read this full guidance and access the series of “How to” guides available at the DPro+ platform.


The “How to” guides are booklets that present guidance and tips to develop some of the Project DPro and Program DPro tools. Some of the activities related to the project/program management routine are also included in the “How To” collection.

If you have an idea for a “How to” guide or you would like to write one, please contact our team and share your experience.

How to create a Problem Tree

Creating a Problem Tree is an activity performed during project Identification and Definition. It is the first step towards creating a logical framework for the project, to be followed by the creation of an Objectives Tree.

Click here to read this full guidance and access the series of “How to” guides available at the DPro+ platform.


The “How to” guides are booklets that present guidance and tips to develop some of the Project DPro and Program DPro tools. Some of the activities related to the project/program management routine are also included in the “How To” collection.

If you have an idea for a “How to” guide or you would like to write one, please contact our team and share your experience.

How to perform a Change Control Process

The Change Control Process is a process map that helps Project Managers make changes to the project plan. It is used in the Implementation phase of the project.

Click here to read this full guidance and access the series of “How to” guides available at the DPro+ platform.


The “How to” guides are booklets that present guidance and tips to develop some of the Project DPro and Program DPro tools. Some of the activities related to the project/program management routine are also included in the “How To” collection.

If you have an idea for a “How to” guide or you would like to write one, please contact our team and share your experience.

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