What is a contingency plan in project management?

Contingency plan definition 

A contingency plan in project management refers to a well-structured strategy designed to address unforeseen events or circumstances that could negatively impact a project. It's a proactive approach that identifies potential risks and outlines specific actions to be taken if those risks become realities. By anticipating possible obstacles and creating ready-made solutions, contingency plans enable agencies to swiftly respond to unexpected challenges, thereby minimizing delays and disruptions and ensuring a smooth project life cycle.

In the broader framework of risk management, contingency plans hold a significant role. Rather than focusing on the prevention of risks, they provide actionable strategies for the identified risks, acting as a response mechanism. Contingency plans serve as a safety net, fitting into the risk management process by allowing project managers to maintain control in volatile situations. They enable the project to proceed smoothly even in the face of unforeseen challenges.

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Contingency plan vs. mitigation plan

While both contingency and mitigation plans deal with risks, they differ in their focus and application. A contingency plan is designed for risks that might occur, providing a predefined response if the risk does materialize. On the other hand, a mitigation plan aims to reduce the likelihood or impact of a risk actually occurring. In essence, contingency plans are reactive and prepared for specific, identified risks, while mitigation plans are proactive and focused on preventing risks or minimizing their impact.

How to create a contingency plan

Creating a contingency plan is a fundamental aspect of risk management in project planning. It involves identifying potential risks and developing strategies to handle them, should they occur. The steps below provide a comprehensive guide to formulating a contingency plan, ensuring that unexpected events don't derail the project. can be an invaluable partner in this process, offering features to manage risks efficiently.

  1. Identify potential risks: Analyze the project to pinpoint areas where unexpected events might occur.

  2. Assess impact and probability: Determine the potential impact and likelihood of each identified risk, ranking them accordingly.

  3. Develop response strategies: For each major risk, create specific actions or plans that can be implemented if the risk occurs.

  4. Assign responsibility: Designate individuals or teams responsible for executing the contingency plans when needed.

  5. Create monitoring mechanism: Implement tools and procedures to monitor risks and trigger the contingency plans when necessary.

  6. Integrate with project plan: Ensure that the contingency plans are fully integrated into the overall project plan.

  7. Communicate and train: Share the contingency plans with the project team and provide training if necessary.

  8. Review and update: Regularly review and update the contingency plans to ensure they remain relevant and effective.

By following these steps, agencies can ensure that they are prepared for unexpected challenges, making project execution more resilient and adaptable. provides essential tools to support the creation and management of contingency plans, aligning them seamlessly with the overall project strategy.

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