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Topics: PMI Standards, Risk Management, Stakeholder Management
What is the difference between Workaround Plan, Contigency Plan & Fallback Plan ?

Looks like I have some confusion when it comes to those three Risk Response Plans. Are they different or they are all the same and all address:

1- Risks that were accepted and then occured.
2- When the risk response plan for a certain risk proved not to be enough.

Appreciate your input.
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Rami -

A workaround is usually something developed as an outcome of a passive acceptance risk response - we haven't done anything to plan so we develop a workaround.

A contingency plan would be synonymous with a fallback plan and represents an active acceptance risk response, or could be used as a secondary response measure if mitigation, transfer or avoidance don't work for a given risk...


WORKAROUND plan is used to situations that can not be anticipated. In this case the risk has been materialized and it is a crude solution to an immediate problem. Is a bypass, it does not correct the problem. CONTINGENCY plan is conceived in advance for risk that have been accepted, usually high probability low impact risks. FALLBACK plans is used when contingency plan does not work. They are plans "B" or "C" regarding contingency plans.

I agree with Sergio. Workaround plan is plan for risks which are not anticipated Unknown - Unknow, response strategy for it in most of case is acceptance strategy. Whereas Contigency planing is active planning of known Unknown risk and Fall back plan is plan that if contigency plan does not work an alternate plan can be work( Plan B)


Kiron put it nicely.

To me a Workaround should also be consider a way to avoid. You could avoid a bigger risk by finding a way to do the work using a workaround.

I like the way Sergio put nuance on Contingency being conceived in advance and Fallback the plan B to contingency. To me they are more synonyms.

Just to comment, I took the definitions from PMBOK. I do not know if the new version or what version they are but I took them from it. I took them from it because I was in charge of making this type of things due to I belong to the methods and process steering committee in my actual work.

Thank you so much gents, this is great.

I agree with my colleagues here.

Initially resonated with Kiron's answer; However I also agree with the subtle difference Sergie has provided in his response above.
Nice discussion.. helpful in reinforcing concepts. Thanks!

I am glad this question was raised and appreciate the additional insight.

This is the beauty of this community. People contribute, help, assist to the best they can. Cheers !
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