1.3.1 Contingency Planning Models and Methods

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1.3.1 Contingency Planning Models and Methods

There are different models you can use in contingency planning. Among these, those that merit discussion include:

1. Prevention, Preparedness, Response and Recovery Model (PPRR)

This model makes use of the emergency management cycle which essentially takes into consideration the four phases involved in preparing for and addressing the occurrence of risks. The model establishes plans to minimise losses caused by a risk event. This is done through the identification of the risk events (i.e. incidents) that could occur.

The emergency management cycle begins with prevention, meaning the actions that are done in the hopes of mitigating risk. The phase is then followed with preparedness, which is essentially all the actions that are done to keep the organisation prepared for the emergence of risk at any point in time. The third phase in the cycle is response, and this involves the immediate intervention done once a risk event occurs. Finally, the cycle ends with the recovery phase, where the organisation would undergo reconstruction after the occurrence of a risk event before the cycle starts again.

2. Robson Risk Management Model

This model takes a holistic approach to assessing and managing potential risks that you may encounter. It is composed of five interconnected components, namely:

  • Personal Risk Perception
  • Risk Identification
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Strategies
  • Risk Evaluation

This method is inclusive and unbiased, taking into consideration as many perspectives as possible in understanding risks. This model also highlights the necessity of resources in preparing for risks and executing your contingency plans.

Like any other plan, working on your contingency plan requires much effort. Though there is no one way to create contingency plans, there are several key steps you ought to perform in the process of making your plan. These are:

1. Identify resources.

Just like your operational plan, your contingency plan would have resource requirements. Determine what these are and then prioritise them based on their relative importance to the project.

2. Determine key risks.

Identify the areas where you are most vulnerable and the events or situations that could negatively affect your undertaking. In doing this step, it is important to involve relevant stakeholders, especially your work teammates, staff and immediate supervisors. Schedule brainstorming sessions with them. You may also seek subject experts or consultants who would enable you to better understand the things that could cause problems along the way. 

During this step, it would be helpful to employ a mind map in organising the risks you determine from brainstorming with your stakeholders. 

Mind Map for Determining Risks

Types of risks would pertain to what the scope or concern of your risk is (i.e. resources, environment, time), and identified risks would refer to the specific events or scenarios that you are anticipating. An example of this filled up map would be:

3. Prioritise risks.

After listing all the possible risks, prioritise them based on the level of threat they pose. A tool that would help you in this step is the Risk Probability and Impact Matrix. It is a tool that determines the relative level of your risks based on their probability of occurring and likely impact should they occur. 

4. Create contingency plans.

During this step, you will now note the courses of action you plan to take should your identified risks occur. It is crucial to keep in mind that all your efforts are towards ensuring that you can maintain and return to regular operations after the event has occurred and impacted your undertaking. It is also during this step that you would need to consider communications, timelines and responsibilities of employees. 

There are several methods of creating contingency plans, but using a simple table format would make it most organised and digestible.

5. Share you plan.

After completing your plans, finalise them, seek approval, and then make them available. Make sure that they can easily be accessed by your stakeholders as needed.

6. Revisit your plan.

Keep in mind that things are constantly changing. This means that you may never have to employ the contingency plans that you have made. It is, therefore, important to note that your contingency plans are not set in stone. As such, it is important to review your plans from time to time. Revise and update them as necessary so they continue to remain relevant and useable.