Project Management

Where's Your Plan B?

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected]. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

You may be a new project manager, but you have already been given a lot of training, guidance and coaching around how to build a project plan. It’s a big part of basic PM training—an area where your employer has a lot of processes, templates and tools—and it’s the major area of focus in the first days and weeks of your project.

But how many times have they told you about the need for Plan B? My guess is that it’s never come up, and that’s a problem. Because I guarantee you are going to need it, and probably sooner than you think.

Now let’s start by stating what I hope is obvious. I’m not suggesting that you should be developing some secret second project plan that you hide away so no one finds it but that reflects how you are really managing the project. What I am saying is that the carefully crafted plan you are putting together is gong to fall flat on its face at some point (probably many points), and you are going to need to know what to do about it without having the luxury of a few days’ analysis.

Enter Plan B.

The elements of Plan B
I always have a Plan B on my projects; it’s always sitting there in the back of my head as the answer to the question, “What will I do if this goes wrong?”

I always encourage new PMs to take this approach—not only because it helps you deal with things…

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"Of all the 36 alternatives, running away is best."

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