A business eventuality plan is a backup strategy for your team or organization. It lays out how you ’ ll answer if unanticipated events knock your plans off track—like how you ’ ll pivot if you lose a key customer, or what you ’ ll do if your software service goes down for more than three hours. Get bit-by-bit instructions to create an effective contingency plan, so if the unexpected happens, your team can spring into action and get things spinal column on track. No one wants Plan A to fail—but having a strong design B in plaza is the best way to be prepared for any site. With a solid accompaniment plan, you can efficaciously respond to unanticipated events efficaciously and get second on track arsenic promptly as possible. A contingency plan is a proactive scheme to help you address negative developments and ensure occupation continuity. In this article, learn how to create a eventuality design for unexpected events and build recovery strategies to ensure your business remains healthy .
What is a business contingency plan?
A business contingency plan is a scheme for how your organization will respond to crucial or business-critical events that knock your original plans off chase. Executed correctly, a business contingency design can mitigate risk and help you get back to business as usual—as quickly as possible.
You might be conversant with eventuality plans to respond to natural disasters—businesses and governments typically create contingency plans for calamity recovery after floods, earthquakes, or tornadoes. But eventuality plans are fair as important for business risks. For exercise, you might create a eventuality plan outlining what you will do if your primary competitors merge or how you ’ ll pivot if you lose a key client. You could tied create a contingency plan for smaller occurrences that would have a large impact—like your software overhaul going down for more than three hours .
The difference between a business contingency plan and a project risk management plan
plan risk management is the process of name, monitor, and addressing project-level risks. Apply project risk management at the begin of the project planning action to prepare for any risks that might come up. To do so, create a gamble register to identify and monitor electric potential project risks. If a risk does happen, you can use your risk register to proactively target that gamble and resolve it arsenic promptly as possible. A contingency plan is exchangeable to a stick out risk management plan because it besides helps you identify and resolve risks. however, a clientele eventuality design should cover risks that span multiple projects or even risks that could affect multiple departments. To create a eventuality plan, identify and prepare for boastfully, business-level risks .Plan projects with Asana
8 steps for contingency planning
You can create a eventuality plan at respective levels of your organization. For exercise, if you ‘re a team lead, you could create a contingency plan for your team or department. alternatively, company executives should create business contingency plans for situations that could impact the integral organization. As you create your eventuality design, make sure you evaluate the likelihood and austereness of each risk. then, once you ’ ve created your plan—or plans—get it approved by your coach or department head. That way if a negative event does occur, your team can leap to legal action and promptly resolve the risk without having to wait for approvals .
1. Make a list of risks
Before you can resolve risks, you first need to identify them. Start by making a list of any and all risks that might impact your company. Remember : there are different levels of contingency planning—you could be planning at the business, department, or broadcast charge. Make surely your contingency plans are aligned with the oscilloscope and magnitude of the risks you ’ ra responsible for addressing. A contingency design is a large-scale campaign, so hold a brainstorming school term with relevant stakeholders to identify and discuss potential risks. If you aren ’ t certain who should be included in your brainstorm session, create a stakeholder analysis map to identify who should be involved .
2. Weigh risks based on severity and likelihood
You don ’ t need to create a contingency plan for every risk you laid out. once you outline risks and likely threats, influence with your stakeholders to identify the potential impact of each risk. Evaluate each risk based on two metrics : the badness of the impingement if the risk were to happen, and the likelihood of the hazard occurring. During the gamble assessment phase, assign each risk a severity and likelihood—we recommend using high, medium, and depleted .
3. Identify important risks
once you ’ ve assigned a asperity and likelihood to each risk, it ’ s up to you and your stakeholders to decide which risks are most important to address. For exercise, you should decidedly create a eventuality plan for a gamble that ’ s eminent likelihood and high asperity, whereas you credibly don ’ t need to create a contingency plan for a risk that ’ s humble likelihood and low severity. You and your stakeholders should decide where to draw the line. For exercise, what are you going to do about risks that are low asperity but high likelihood ? What about risks that are gamey austereness, but relatively low likelihood ? here ’ s how the different risks can play out, and a likely contingency design scenario your team might land on :
- High severity and high likelihood or medium severity and high likelihood. Create robust contingency plans for these risks. guarantee you have a solid extenuation design in place if these risks happen, so you can resume normal business operations a quickly as possible .
- High severity and medium likelihood. Create a contingency plan for these risks deoxyadenosine monophosphate well. even though they are less likely to happen, they could have a austere impact on your business functions if they do. Proactively planning for the worst-case scenario can help you respond to unexpected events more cursorily .
- High severity and low likelihood. You should besides create eventuality plans for these risks. The only difference for these eventuality plans is who you should contribution them with once they are complete. Consider sharing these plans with fewer people since they are less relevant .
- Medium severity and medium likelihood or low severity and high likelihood. Consider creating contingency plans for these risks. You might want to have a smaller stakeholder meeting for these eventuality plans or take a less rigorous set about to contingency plan. But having a generalized plan B for what you might do if certain risks happen—particularly if they ’ re likely to happen—is a good proactive scheme .
- Medium severity and low likelihood, low severity and medium likelihood, or low severity and low likelihood. Don ’ thymine create a eventuality plan for these risks. These risks probably won ’ t happen, and they won ’ thyroxine impact your business functions very much if they do. however, do design to come back to these risks sporadically to assess if the asperity and likelihood have changed.
4. Create contingency plans for the biggest risks
Create a contingency plan for each gamble you ’ ve identified as authoritative. As partially of that contingency plan, describe the gamble, and brainstorm what your team will do if the hazard comes to pass. Each plan should include all of the steps you need to take to return to business as usual. Your eventuality plan should include information about :
- The triggers that will set this design into motion
- The immediate reception
- Who should be involved and informed
- Key responsibilities, including a RACI chart if necessary
- The timeline of your reception ( i.e. immediate things to do vs. longer-term things to do )
For exemplar, let ’ s say you ’ ve identified a potential staff deficit as a likely and dangerous risk. This would significantly impact normal operations, so you want to create a eventuality plan to prepare for it. Each person on your team has a very particular skill set, and it would be unmanageable to manage team responsibilities if more than one person left at the like time. Your contingency plan might include who can cover certain projects or processes while you hire a backfill, or how to improve team software documentation to prevent siloed skillsets .
5. Get approval for your contingency plan
Make sure relevant company leaders know about the design and agree with your course of action. This is particularly relevant if you ’ re creating team- or department-level plans. By creating a eventuality design, you ’ ra empowering your team to respond quickly to a risk, but you want to make sure that course of action is the right one. Plus, pre-approval will allow you to set the plan in motion with confidence—knowing you ’ re on the good track—and without having to ask for approvals beforehand .
6. Distribute your contingency plans
once you ’ ve created your contingency plans, share them with the right people. Make certain everyone knows what you ’ ll do, so if and when the time does come, you can act as promptly and seamlessly as possible. Keep your eventuality plans in a central source of truth so everyone can easily access them if necessary. Creating a project in a make management platform is a great way of distributing the plan and ensuring everyone has a bit-by-bit guide for how to enact it .Try Asana for work management
7. Monitor your contingency plans
Review your contingency plan frequently to make certain it ’ sulfur calm accurate. Take into report new risks or new opportunities, like new hires or a changing commercial enterprise landscape. If a new executive drawing card joins the team, make certain to surface the eventuality plan for their review as well .
8. Create new contingency plans if necessary
It ’ s great if you ’ ve created eventuality plans for all the risks you found, but make certain you ’ re constantly monitoring for new risks. If you discover a new risk, and it has a gamey adequate badness or likelihood, create a fresh eventuality plan for that hazard. Likewise, you may look back on your plans and realize that some of the scenarios you once worried about aren ’ thyroxine probable to happen or, if they do, they won ’ thyroxine impact your team as much .Plan projects with Asana
Common contingency planning pitfalls—and how to avoid them
A eventuality design is a potent tool to help you get back to convention business functions quickly. To ensure your eventuality plan process is american samoa smooth as possible, watch out for common pitfalls, like :
Lack of buy-in
It takes a lot of work to create a eventuality plan, thus before you get started, ensure you have support from executive stakeholders. As you create your plan, continuously check in with your sponsors to ensure you ’ ve addressed cardinal risks and that your action plan is solid. By doing thus, you can ensure your stakeholders see your contingency plan as something they can get behind .
Bias against “Plan B” style thinking
Some caller cultures don ’ t like to think of Plan B—they like to throw everything they have at Plan A and hope it works. But thinking this way can actually expose your team to more risks than if you proactively create a plan B. think of it like checking the weather before going sailing thus you don ’ thyroxine by chance get caught in a storm. Nine times out of ten, a clear cheery day won ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate suddenly turn stormy, but it ’ sulfur always better to be prepared. Creating a contingency design can help you ensure that, if a negative event does occur, your company will be fix to face it and bounce rear american samoa cursorily as potential .
One-and-done contingency plans
It takes a batch of exploit to put a eventuality plan together. sometimes when you ’ ve finished, it can be tempting to consider it a caper good done and forget about it. But make sure you schedule regular reminders ( possibly once or twice a year ) to review and update your eventuality plan if necessary. If new risks pop up, or if your business operations change, updating your eventuality plan can ensure you have the best reply to negative events .
You’ve created a contingency plan—now what?
A eventuality plan can be a set of work to create, but if you ever need to use it, you ’ ll be glad you made one. But in accession to creating a hard eventuality plan, make certain you keep your design up-to-date.
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Being proactive can help you mitigate risks before they happen—so make sure to communicate your contingency plan to the team members who will be responsible for carrying them out if a risk does happen. Don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate leave your contingency plan in a document to collect dust—after creating it, you should use it if need be ! once you ’ ve created the plan, make certain you store it in a central placement that everyone can entree, like a work management platform. If it does come time to use one of your eventuality plans, storing them in a centrally accessible placement can help your team cursorily turn plans into natural process .Plan projects with Asana