In the prior post I discussed risk mitigation strategies, which can reduce the potential impact of risks that haven’t occurred yet. In contrast, risk contingency plans are meant to deal with risks after they have occurred. It is sometimes amusingly referred to as “Plan B” (and “C”, “D”, etc if necessary). Contingency plans answer the question “What will we do if …”.
It can be much easier to create contingency plans in advance because you are not under the stress of the risk having already occurred and you have more time to brainstorm the potential plans. Anticipating risks and having well vetted contingency plans keeps you in control of the project and minimizes “crisis mode”.
Here are a few examples:
- If there is a risk of testing taking longer than planned, you can have a list of additional testing resources identified to join the effort if testing falls behind.
- If there is a risk of inclement weather disrupting outdoor activities, you can have indoor activities lined up to keep the project moving.
- If there is a risk of a key resource leaving the project, you can have a consultant resource procured in advance to step in if needed.
As with all elements of Risk Management, conditions may change over time, so the contingency plans should be revisited on a regular basis to ensure they are still viable.