Creating a contingency plan

A Lesson for the EU Commission and DEFRA - adapated from

How do you create a contingency plan?

7 Envision best-, probable, and worst-case scenarios. As you develop your Plan A, anticipate any issues that may arise. Draw on similar experiences and feedback you've received on other projects. With this list of potential "bumps along the way", create Plans B-Z, which spell out how you'll address each of the issues as they arise.

7 Fortify your resources. Take an inventory of your team resources so that you know what tools you have in your "emergency kit" before trouble hits. For example, what range of talents does your team feature? How can you shift team members' schedules to accommodate work on several projects? Are there any extra funds budgeted?

7 Be creative. Think of at least one additional way to meet the desired goal so as not to be boxed in by one plan. If something doesn't fit in with your plan, you'll already have another path thrashed out before you're in the thicket of confusion.

7 Make it clear. To avoid any confusion around the idea for and the tasks in the contingency plan, communicate your intention to your team members and your client. Your team members will be better equipped to carry out the contingency plan with clear information, and your client will appreciate your proactive thinking that has her best interests (and top-flight service) at heart.

7 Make sure it's realistic. Your contingency plan shouldn't take you out of the frying pan and into the fire. Any components that can't be done right should be dismissed from consideration. There's no room for complacency in your contingency planning.

7 Stay flexible. There's no way that you can anticipate every possible detour in your project. By staying flexible, you'll be better able to see the options and opportunities, and be more willing to change course - instead of digging your heels in just to save a process. The sister component to staying flexible is always keeping your eyes on the goal. As you might say, "I don't care how I get from A to Z, so long I get from A to Z in an ethical, cost-effective manner."