What is Contingency Plan

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Aug 27, 2022

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What is a contingency plan?

Smart managers, who know there are always hazards that could put a project or organisation on hold, implement contingency planning in project management. Even if robust planning software was used to create the project plan, the likelihood of project success is decreased without a project contingency plan. 

Any business requires contingency planning in project management. For instance, governments use them to prepare for economic downturns or disaster recovery. Here is a complete guide on what is a contingency plan and the significance of contingency planning in project management.

What is a Contingency Plan?

An executive or management-created strategy plan, known as a contingency plan, is designed to help a company deal with an unfavourable circumstance that may or may not occur in the future.

A contingency plan, in the simplest terms, is a strategy for a "what if" scenario that could derail a project or business. A project contingency plan is set up to lessen the business risk, hasten catastrophe recovery, and guarantee that business operations run without a hitch.

A business project contingency plan is set up to prepare for any disruptive events. A project contingency plan offers a strategy for continuing regular business operations without interruption, minimising the effects of unforeseen events. Contrary to risk response plans, which are more of a response to a risk incident, contingency plans are proactive strategies.

Contingency Planning In Project Management

Contingency planning in project management frequently includes risk management. In project management, a project contingency plan is a predetermined, executable strategy that should be used if a risk that has been recognised materialises. It serves as a "Plan B" when things don't turn out as planned.

Use the following advice to determine when a project contingency plan should be used:

There should be no contingency preparations for dangers that have not been identified. One cannot prepare for a risk unless one is aware of it.

A project contingency plan may also be created with the organisation in mind. For instance, if adding a new tool in the middle of the process seems required, contingency planning in project management can ensure that everything goes perfectly without any issues.

Need for Contingency Planning in Project Management

Although every business aspires to achieve success with every project, failures are an inevitable part. While some hurdles and challenges cannot be avoided, most obstacles can be overcome with some advanced preparation. Businesses and their concerned management executives always have a project contingency plan in case their first strategy doesn't work out as expected. With proper PMP training, one can work on having the best contingency plan.

Contingency planning in project management might be essential for a company because it can protect it from calamities and guarantee the successful execution of its business strategies. A business, organisation, or project's likelihood of success can drastically decrease without a project contingency plan.

Any business plans to ensure that its product or service will be successful in the market, but that market is far from steady. Every organisation should have a business project contingency plan in place so that it can prepare for both positive and negative risk management.

Now that the idea about contingency plan is clear, here is a list of benefits that contingency planning in project management brings to the table:

Lessens Damage:

Solid contingency planning in project management puts one in a better position to respond to risky circumstances and reduce harm. In addition, a business is less likely to jeopardise its credibility and brand image if it knows how to tackle unfavourable events.

Better Reactivity:

The main benefit of contingency planning in project management is its increased responsiveness. Contingency planning in project management spells out the precise actions that must be taken to solve the challenge, allowing any business or person to respond to the situation swiftly and without overthinking it or, worse, panicking.

Bounce Back Swiftly:

Any project manager can rapidly handle challenges and return to normal in no time since they know exactly what to do when a tragedy happens. Therefore, contingency plans ensure that a business’s development is not slowed down for any longer than necessary.

Builds Self-assurance:

Once a project manager or business has a project contingency plan in place for dealing with any obstacles that come in the way, things become much easier to handle. The confidence a project manager and the entire team have when they have a project contingency plan in place comes from knowing what to do in the event of an emergency. Solid contingency planning in project management lessens uncertainty and the dread of the unknown.


Types of Project Contingency Plan


Safeguarding Assets

Contingencies may also include contingent assets, which are gains (as opposed to losses) that a business or person will experience if a future uncertain event is resolved.

Protecting Investment Positions

Investors safeguard themselves against unforeseen events that can result in investment-related financial losses. Investors may use various hedging techniques, such as stop-loss orders, which cause a trade to be closed at a particular price level. The use of options strategies, similar to purchasing insurance in that the strategies make money as an investment position loses money due to an adverse event, is another hedging method.

Business Recovery and Continuity

Businesses must have strategies in advance as part of a project contingency plan for emergencies like pandemics in order to guarantee that operations will continue during and after the event. This kind of project contingency plan is also known as a business recovery or business continuity plan.

A business continuity team is typically established to prepare for potential emergencies and oversee the continuity and recovery strategy during an interruption. In addition, many project managers up-skill themselves to become experts in creating a project contingency plan.

Project managers and businesses must recognise their core activities and analyse the potential effects of a possible event on those operations and procedures. Implementing the recovery of crucial company functions would be part of the contingency plan.


Cybercriminals frequently try to use a crisis to break into a company's networks and steal data or interfere with corporate operations, as is the case with any tragedy. Cybersecurity project managers employ contingency plans to outline their steps to safeguard a company against risks and malicious attacks.

Steps to Prepare a Project Contingency Plan

Once aware of a contingency plan, the next step is to create a project contingency plan that requires thorough ideation and research.

Step 1: Determine and Order Resources

Research the business needs. Make a list of all of its essential assets and assess what is a contingency plan as per the business niche. After that, place the items on the list in order of importance.

Step 2: Determine the Major Risks

Determine the business’s weak points by consulting with teams, executives, and stakeholders to understand the situations that could jeopardise the resources. If necessary, use the aid of an outside consultant.

Step 3: Create a Project Contingency Plan

Write a backup plan for each risk identified in the previous steps, but focus on the most important risk to the business. Whatever the strategy, it should consider the measures required to restart regular business operations, taking into account communication, individual responsibility, timetables, etc.

Step 4: Promote the plan

Ensure everyone in the organisation has a copy of the project contingency plan after it is created and approved. No matter how thorough a project, a contingency plan will be useless if it hasn't been effectively conveyed and everyone understands what a contingency plan is and how it works.

Step 5: Recheck the Plan

A backup strategy is not set in stone. It needs to be reviewed, updated, and maintained to reflect adjustments to the organisation. Contingency planning in project management needs to be updated as new personnel, technologies, and resources are added.

Become an Expert in Creating a Project Contingency Plan

Enrol now to secure a PMP certification course online and supercharge your skills with comprehensive project management capabilities. One can now create smarter project management solutions, including creating a project contingency plan for the project and company with a PMP course online. Learn what a contingency plan is, understand how to identify the contingencies associated with the company or project and build a valuable project contingency plan.


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