Contingency Approach is for me at least one of the two major areas which determine the likelihood of a project successfully delivering. The other is of course a tightly written project scope.statement.
Why should this be? After all read any project management training manual and the emphasis is all on the planning aspect of the project. Contingency approach, if it is even mentioned is only paid lip service to.
And yet one of the reasons I have been able to deliver so many complex high profile projects is because I always found a way to ensure I had contingency in the plan and activities. The simple reason for this was because I quickly learned that no matter good the plan was, tasks always slipped because most of the inputs to the project namely: scope, resources, budget and time aka project scope triangle were always liable to change.
However Project Sponsors never seemed to understand this. In their world they just saw an incompetent Project Manager who seemed unable to deliver what was required,and worse still, was making a load of excuses for this.
So the way out of this predicament is to have a contingency approach. Now this shouldn't be some formal words which go into the
Project Initiation Document. It should instead be something which you keep to yourself. After all if Workstreams, Stakeholders and Sponsors know that you have contingency in the project plan, they'll either work more slowly, or increase the project scope. Should this happen, well there will have been little point in inserting the contingency to begin with!
Now a Contingency Approach can usually be implemented in the following key areas:
Now this is rather more than you will find in project management theory, but then as someone with countless years of real world experience in this area, I have found it pays to think laterally rather than rely on theory.
Luckily contingency can be added into all these areas, which as you'll find later on in the project, you will be extremely grateful for. Remember no project runs exactly to plan. Every project runs into problems.It's how you deal with them which willl create your reputation. By ensuring you have plenty of contingency you immediately give yourself a head start in this department.
Contingency Approach 1/6 - Tip
You must find a way of adding Contingency into every facet of the project possible. This way you give yourself a buffer in case you run into problems. Just make sure you keep it to yourself, otherwise you'll quickly find that it's disappeared!
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