Project Contingency Plans

As a project moves forward, difficulties might well arise. Although the organization might be highly confident that the project will succeed, it is prudent to consider the possibility of some type of failure. Because such a possibility exists, the organization should put a plan in place to overcome difficult situations if they should arise.

Some examples of IT project contingency planning include:

■ Recognition that the planned level of hardware resources to support the project may prove inadequate when it is moved into production. One of the common failings of IT projects, particularly in client/server environments, is disappointing processing performance when the applications move to the production environment. Although the hardware plan might seem adequate, that might not be the case. Therefore, the project plan should have a provision to increase hardware resources should the need arise. In addition, senior management should be advised of this possibility.

■ Anticipation of "surprise" additions to the project's functionality as it moves forward. Too often, part way through a project, the project must incorporate items that were overlooked, or changes in the business needs associated with the project. This means schedule delays (with talk of "phase two"), and additional project expense. In addition, other projects may be delayed, and business initiatives dependent upon the successful completion of this project may be delayed.

Project surprises are always a possibility, despite a strong set of project requirements and specifications. It should therefore be a mandatory part of the development process to recognize this possibility and raise the issue with the appropriate people.

When an IT project is of paramount importance to an organization, it makes good business sense to consider the possibility of delay. In addition, an attempt should be made to construct a plan to work around this eventuality.

Developing a project contingency plan should be linked to the issues of project planning and project funding, as addressed earlier in this chapter. However, while appropriate planning will identify many of the issues that may arise and that should be built into the project, no amount of planning will anticipate everything that might happen. If funding is flexible, senior management will already realize the possibility of additional expense.

Obviously, the ideal is to generate a plan, the first time around, that is absolutely precise with regard to expense and functions. However, that is virtually impossible in a project of any magnitude. Believing that such a process is viable represents one of the fundamental causes of IT project difficulty.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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