What tools would you recommend to prevent problems or make contingencies?
26.04.2019 at 13:37 h / Edited 04.06.2019 at 15:32 h
I would like to implement and try in my team tools for preventing problems or making contingencies.
My idea is to think of the problems beforehand, rather than firefighting afterward.
Thanks for the ideas,
Jason Consultant Director
You have asked a very good question and one that is not very easy to answer.
As you haven’t mentioned your industry, type of work, type of operations, technology baseline, team size, ways of working etc, my response will be somewhat ‘vanilla’.
In terms of tooling, unless you are using some form of machine learning, then it sounds like you will need to create a Knowledge Base using an information sharing platform, with some form of search facility.
There are a number of possible examples here COTS, OpenSource and others e.g. Sharepoint, Noodle, Bitrix 24, Slack, Alfresco, Samepage.io, Nuxeo opensource.
What you can or can’t use will depend on your industry and the policies and restrictions that your IT function will allow.
Having chosen an information sharing platform, you would need to create the Knowledge Base on it and then populate it with the information necessary for search, recall and sharing.
In order to do that you will need to either:
Look at all the problems that have been encountered more than once over a timeframe (we’re taking years here):
How those problems were addressed
Define contingency plans to prevent them occurring again (solve the problem at its root) or define contingency plans for how to address the problems based on how they were addressed before; or
Get a consultant/analyst in to analyse:
The operations (People, Technology and Process)
The problems that have occurred more than once
how those problems were addressed
Defining a process for capturing those problems and their associated contingency plans to address those issues at their root (so they don’t occur again) or contingency plans on how to deal with the problems when they occur.
How to teach the process for identification and capture of problems and contingencies to your team and then your team can populate the tool over time building up a kind of knowledge base.
Once you have obtained the intelligence from this type of analysis, populating an information sharing type of too/platform is relatively straightforward. The one thing you would need to ensure is that the relevant information can be found by search (keyword, subject, operational area etc).
I hope that helps.
Chuck LEAN Business Consultant
You’ve heard the phrase, “Always have a Plan B.”
Well, “Plan B” is just common vernacular for what’s known as a contingency plan. In other words, a contingency plan is put in place in case the primary plan that you’re executing doesn’t unfold as expected.
Contingency plans are used by smart managers who are aware that there are always risks that can sideline any project or business. Without having a contingency plan in place, the chances of completing a project successfully will drop considerably, even if that project plan was made with [removed] .
The use of contingency plans is widespread and applies to any business venture. Governments, for example, use them to prepare for disaster recovery or economic disruption. If you’re not working on a contingency plan when you’re planning any enterprise, then you’re opening yourself up to unnecessary risk.
What Is a Contingency Plan for a Business?
In most cases, a contingency plan is devised to respond to a negative event that can tarnish a company’s reputation or even financial livelihood. However, contingency plans in business aren’t, by definition, always negative. There are positive contingency plans, such as what to do if the organization receives an unexpected sum of money or other resource.
The contingency plan is a proactive strategy, different from a crisis management plan, which is more of a reaction to something that happened. A contingency plan is set up to account for those disruptive events, so you’re prepared if and when they arrive.
While any organization is going to plan for its product or service to work successfully in the marketplace, that marketplace is anything but stable. Unpredictability might be the enemy of business, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. To execute a plan believing you can avoid unpredictability may be fatal to your organization’s future.
How to Create a Business Contingency Plan
A contingency plan is a plan, and like any plan, it requires a great deal of research and brainstorming. And like any good plan, there are steps to take to make sure you’re doing it right.
Identify and Prioritize Resources: Research your company and list its crucial resources, such as teams, tools, facilities, etc., then prioritize that list from most important to least important.
What Are the Key Risks? Figure out where you’re vulnerable by meeting with teams, executives and every other department in the organization to get a full picture of what events could compromise your resources; hire an outside consultant, if necessary.
Draft a Contingency Plan: If you can, write a contingency plan for [removed] in the above steps, but start with what’s most critical to the life of your organization. As time permits you can create a plan for everything on your list. Whatever the plan, the thought behind each should be the steps necessary to resume normal operation of the company, thinking about communications, people’s responsibilities, timelines, etc.
Share the Plan: When you’ve written the contingency plan and it’s been approved, the next step is to make sure everyone in the organization has a copy. A contingency plan, no matter how thorough, is not effective if it hasn’t been properly communicated.
Revisit the Plan: A contingency plan isn’t chiseled in stone. It must be revisited, revised and maintained to reflect changes to the organization. As new employees, technologies and resources enter the picture, the contingency plan must be updated to handle them.
Contingency Plans and Risk Management in Project Management
In project management, contingency planning is often part of risk management. Any project manager knows that a plan is only an outline. Sometimes the project will extend beyond those lines. The more a manager can prepare for chance in their plan, the more effective it will be.
But risk management isn’t the same as contingency planning. [removed] is about identifying, assessing, avoiding, mitigating, transferring, sharing and accepting risk; while a contingency plan is about developing steps to take when an actual issue occurs. However, they do share the aspect of what to do when the risk happens.
So, a contingency plan is what to do if an unplanned event occurs. It can be as simple as asking, “What if…?,” and then outlining the steps to your plan as you answer that question.
Project Risk for Contingency Planning
When managing a project there are many entry points for risk that need to be accounted for with a contingency plan. For example, there’s the physical, as in loss due to damage to information, equipment or facilities as a result of an accident or natural disaster.
Technical issues are another risk factor, in that systems can stop working or not work as needed to deliver the project on time and within budget. Of course, human resources are another risk, as teams get sick, [removed]
On a larger scale, there are factors even further beyond the control of a project manager, such as political and social change. For example, if you’re working on a government contract that can change with whoever is currently in control of the government. The policy can change, and communities can protest projects and effectively stop them.
Liability issues are also at play when managing a project. There is a threat of legal action or compensation plans.
Key Steps in Contingency Planning
Project managers are adept at creating contingency plans, as the structure and actions are like many of the processes already familiar to their profession. For instance, a contingency plan breaks down tasks to get more detail and, in so doing, more control.
The following are the key steps in contingency planning:
Note where there are resources that can be used in an emergency. Also, note where in your contingency plan these resources might be applied.
Identify dates that if missed will negatively impact your plan, for example getting approval from a group or committee that only meets every now and then.
Know your contingency plan. Check for any weak links and strengthen them. Identify any slack that you can find in it.
See if you can find points in your plan where alternative routes can be taken, and think through each one’s scenario to add flexibility to your plan.
Use your experience to help you see patterns in your project’s ebb and flow of activity to sharpen your plan.
Challenges of Contingency Planning
Like any plan, there are always challenges that managers need to think about before and during the process of creating their contingency plans.
The Desire to Focus on “Plan A”
Human nature likes to focus on one solution. A contingency plan might not get the attention it needs because people are solely invested in the main action. They want “Plan A” to be successful and feel spending too much time on a “Plan B” could potentially sabotage that success.
It’s critical that managers stress the importance of a contingency plan. That will serve as a safeguard that helps facilitate success rather than hinder it. Therefore, it cannot be put on the back burner or given little thought, but rather, must be thoroughly followed through.
The Small Probability of Occurrence
Another issue is that because of its nature, a contingency plan has a small probability of occurring, and so many might not see the urgency in such an activity. That means that it can land on the bottom of their [removed] or never get done.
Again, the need for a contingency plan might seem like a luxury when planning for a project, but without one, you’re putting your project and your business at risk. The time you put into creating a thorough contingency plan will pay off if you need it, while if you don’t, you’re lucky. But never place a bet on chance.
Using ProjectManager.com for Contingency Planning
[removed] has the project planning tools you need to make a reliable contingency plan that can quickly be executed in a dire situation.
Use Task Lists to Outline the Elements
Use our task list feature to outline all the elements of a contingency plan. Since a contingency plan likely wouldn’t have any hard deadlines at first, this is a good way to get grasp all of the necessary tasks and resources. You can add comments and files to each task, so everyone will know what to do when the time comes.
Gantt Charts for Rolling Out Deadlines
If your contingency plan has to be executed, switch to the Gantt chart view. From here you can visualize your due dates, set dependencies and track progress in real-time. You can also assign tasks to team members and balance their workload in the very same view.
[removed] and how they can help you execute your contingency plan by watching the video below. You’ll realize why thousands of managers turn to Gantt charts when they have to execute an important plan.
Dashboard to Monitor the Contingency Plan
Our dashboard gives you a bird’s eye view of all of the critical project metrics. It displays live data, so you’re getting a real-time look at how your project is progressing. This live information can help you spot issues and resolve them to make sure that your contingency plan is a success. Which, given that it’s your plan B, is tantamount.
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