I wonder if the team putting on the Super Bowl had a risk register, and if so, I wonder if power outage was one of the qualitative and or quantitative risks they registered and dealt with. My guess is yes, and yes.

For those of you who were in Tora Bora during the Super Bowl, the power went out for part of the Superdome, and some of the lights went off. This delayed the game by 34 minutes. If you priced those minutes at the going rate (Super Bowl advertisements cost $8,000,000 per minute), those 34 minutes would have an economic value of $272,000,000.

In a classic risk assessment, one would rank both the probability and the impact of a given event in order to assign it a location on the risk matrix.

I would say that a quarter of a billion dollars would qualify as a high impact event with a fairly low probability.

News reports document that the Superdome and the local utility worked to upgrade the power delivery system prior to the game.

This is very instructive, because it highlights the dynamic nature of project risk assessments. In all likelihood, the project team introduced a new risk while mitigating an existing risk. Anyone who has worked around software development or electrical engineering knows that every change, no matter how innocuous, introduces risk of creating a new problem. That is why I’m an advocate of regular risk assessments throughout the project lifecycle.

  • Amit Kumar

    change is LAW of nature and every change brings both end of coins. It’s with us to judge it, accept it or neglect it. Simple rule for risk management. Don’t leave a single stone unturned specially when you are in infrastructure & construction. Comment is related to construction because I’m emphasizing on the issue in my current JD profile and improvisation of my organization.

  • http://www.facebook.com/saumil.maniar.7 Saumil Maniar

    From a different mantle, I would argue the cable companies earned their full portion of Superbowl minutes. Additionally, they shall charge a premium rate for advertisements shown during these mins. They would be armed with the argument that viewership was significantly high as the audience anticipated the game to start and it could start during any of those 34 mins. Is this why you used the word “instructive”?

    • Tim Mather

      Good point Saumil, I hadn’t thought of that. My instructive comment had to do with the thought that every change introduces risk, even changes meant to mitigate identified risks.

  • Ken Macsay

    In this case, it seems that the power outage actually generated revenue for the network because it extended it’s coverage time by 34 minutes allowing them to air more commercials than planned?

    • Tim Mather

      Yes, I can see that point of view. I wonder what a minute by minute viewership report would look like. I’m guessing lots of folks took a trip to the kitchen during the break…