3 Key Steps for a Plan B
"The purpose of any contingency plan is to allow an organization to return to its daily operations as quickly as possible after an unforeseen event. The contingency plan protects resources, minimizes customer inconvenience and identifies key staff, assigning specific responsibilities in the context of the recovery.” - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2018)
I grew up to be a pretty anxious child, as an introvert who always found myself to be excused whenever my neighbor would knock on my front door- asking to play with dolls. Tummy aches used to be a great response, though I ought to be more creative if I had to constantly face the social anxiety I had almost every week. I thought of headaches, then pretended to be asleep- to a point where I knew what my guardians would tell my neighbor when I felt like having a day by myself. Even as a child, I knew I needed to have backup ideas for me to sound not only convincing but to increase my success rate in actually sending a memo over.
Now that I’m 20, almost the same skill set that I’ve built being overly cautious, has applied to more technical situations over the course of my college, intern and entrepreneurial experiences.
Being in the Project Management field within ACTM, I’ve experienced enough inconveniences to know that not everything falls perfectly as you could have planned- even with months of work, dedication and research placed into planning specific projects. A lot of factors can be deemed uncontrollable, whether how many participants sign up for a project, or simply if speakers can’t make it last minute.
In my experience, I’ve identified three key steps on the road to contingency planning: 1) Policymaking, 2) Critical identification, and lastly; 3) Acknowledging risks and threats.
I believe that every entity or organization that intends on starting a project must make contingency planning a policy, in order to provide the authority and guidance necessary to develop an effective plan. In a project context: All Project Management members in ACTM are trained and required to build contingency plan scenarios with each and every single project.
In identifying what is critical, it is important to know what systems and data are critical to operations that will help prioritize contingency planning and minimize losses. In a project context: Should we prepare an extra database for contingency speakers? How should we go by the process and timeline in contacting them last minute?
Lastly, I always recommend performing any risk analysis to identify the various risks that your business or entity may possibly deal with. In a project context: Setting up a contingency planning meeting to address pain points and potential threats for any upcoming project.
Of course, every approach may come across differently. If you are handling a business or dealing with organizational work within school academics, never wait for an emergency to happen! Let yourself and your team come first and foremost prepared for anything–be it the worst or best!