Contingency planning is not planning for the unpredictable. It is about planning for events that may or may not happen.

Sometimes a contingency plan (sometimes called a “Plan B”) is developed in case a course of action you have chosen doesn’t work out. Having a contingency planning guide is also a component of disaster recovery, business continuity scenarios and risk management that are part of nearly all business planning.

Like this article mentions, a contingency plan is a course of action designed to help an organization respond effectively to a significant future event or situation that may or may not happen.

What does contingency planning cover?

A good contingency plan should include any eventuality that might disrupt business operations.

  • events such as natural disasters,
  • exceptional employee events such as threats from staff or customers, injuries, and work site accidents,
  • departure or disability of a senior manager or discontinuity in senior management,
  • strikes or work actions by unions,
  • data loss because of technical problems, fires or natural disasters, sabotage or criminal hacking,
  • gross management, theft, critical neglect of duty, or accidental destruction of equipment, materials or products,
  • product issues such as product recalls, or huge demand orders that require plant relocation or reorganization.

The Contingency Plan:

Writing a complete contingency plan is a major planning operation that requires full staff and management investment. The contingency plan has to be an outline of steps that all are prepared to take and an outline that all are committed to following.

The first step is to analyze risks. A list of all possible events that could disrupt operations has to be drawn up. The list should be realistic and contributions from all departments should be included.

For each item on the list, the likelihood of it actually occurring should be estimated. Many of the possibilities are so unlikely that they could reasonably be left out of the plan.

Estimate how much impact each of the disruptive possibilities might have.  If a possibility would have minimal or manageable impact, you may not need a special plan for it.

For each contingency with a reasonable likelihood of occurring with a significant impact on the organization, work out steps that would protect people, property, and business continuity if that event occurred.

Contingency planning is about likelihood of occurrence and likely impact. Those are the key dimensions that pay a part in your decisions.

4 Corner IT has contingency plans for almost any organization. Our expertise in contingency planning comes from real experience. Please contact us to learn more.