Contingency planning is a systematic approach to identifying what can go wrong in a given situation. Rather than hoping that everything will turn out OK or that "fate will be on your side", a planner should try to identify contingency events and be prepared with plans, strategies and approaches for avoiding, coping or even exploiting them.
At MJH Solutions we consider Contingency Planning is a "What if?" skill important in all types of planning domains. The objective of contingency planning is not to identify and develop a plan for every possible contingency. That would be impossible and a terrible waste of time. Rather, the objective is to encourage the operational teams to think about major contingencies and possible responses. Few situations actually unfold according to the assumptions of a plan. However, people who have given thought to contingencies and possible responses are more likely to meet major goals and targets successfully. The following questions can help develop contingency plans:
- What events may occur that require a response?
- What disasters might happen during execution of the plan?
- What is the worst case scenario of events for the situation?
- What scenarios are possible for the situation?
- What event would cause the greatest disruption of current activities and plans?
- What happens if costs of the plan are excessive? what happens if delays occur?
- What if key people leave the organisation?
- What are the expected moves of antagonists and competitors?
- Who or what might impede implementation of the plan?
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