Expect the Best, Plan for the Worst, and Prepare to be Surprised

21 Feb

One interesting stage in the planning life cycle of a project is planning for and anticipating the unforeseen when things may not go as expected.  This type of planning is called “Contingency Planning” and plays an important role in any task when the results and outcomes cannot be absolutely guaranteed.  It is difficult to think of everything possible thing that could go wrong and prevent these roadblocks before they occur, therefore, it becomes quite an art to the profession and many times is learned through experience managing projects overtime.  An example of a simple contingency plan for a fried breakfast would be to plan for the possibility of breaking the yolk of an egg, in which case an additional resource (eggs) would need to be budgeted for and available if needed.  Another plan B option would be to prepare some hash-browns or bring fruit and yogurt in the event that any of the diners don’t eat eggs. 

 I use contingency planning in several aspects in my life, whether it is planning for what to pack for a trip in case we go out to a fancy restaurant and need to dress up or if I get a stain on my outfit to planning for an event where I don’t know the final count that are attending where I am preparing the meal for all that attend and need to make sure I have enough food for everyone.  My mind seems to always make a checklist and I continue to go through what-if scenarios, but as humans, we cannot plan for everything that could happen as something are out of our control.  When unforeseen roadblocks appear, I tend to think of different solutions and resources that I can utilities to resolve the issue, talk with others that may have experienced similar situations or can help guide/brainstorm a solution with me.  I think it is best to remain as calm as possible and breakdown the issue if the unforeseen issue is a large roadblock in the project, so others working on the project don’t overly stress and therefore add extra stress to your plate.  Things happen that will require you as the project manager to react to and handle, so remember to “Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised,” as Denise Waitley once said. 


Posted by on February 21, 2011 in Planning a Project



2 responses to “Expect the Best, Plan for the Worst, and Prepare to be Surprised

  1. RJ Haffke

    February 22, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Loved the breakfast food analogy! so very true!

  2. Lisa Drake

    February 22, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    Thank you very much RJ for your comment! It is such a perfect analogy for the cook in me. 🙂


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