Life / Can Do

Helpful tips to living a better life

What is the Worse That Can Happen?

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You may have all your ducks in a row. You have a great plan for that big project. You dotted the “i”s and crossed the “t”s and triple checked all your assumptions. Despite all your efforts things can still go wrong. If you didn’t plan for the unexpected this can cause frustration and anxiety which can only make matters worse.

It is important to have a plan for all those things that can go wrong and even for those things that can’t possibly go wrong. The very fact that you have a plan B (or C or D) will help keep anxiety under control.

Risk management should be an integral part of your planning process. This can apply to life events as well as business projects. If you are planning a wedding you may consider an alternate if you can’t get the caterer you were hoping for. If you a launching a new product to the market you need to consider what to do if a competitor at a trade show displays a similar product with more features.

A few months ago the company I work at had an issue with one of our systems. It was the middle of the night so we scheduled a conference call. After roll call we assessed the situation and everyone started brainstorming solutions. I interrupted the conversation and told the group that our team had a plan for this situation.

“Before we spend too much time on this, I have to let you know that we already have a plan in place in the event this occurred.” I said.

“You have a plan? But how could you know this would happen?” Someone asked.

“We didn’t know but we planned for it anyway.” I answered. “I’m sending you all the document which will outline the steps to route the files to an alternate service and around the component with the issue.”

There was a few questions most of which were already answered in the document. In the end it took us 30 minutes to resolve an issue that would have taken hours otherwise. Anyone in the IT field will know that every system has a contingency plan but usually they involve time consuming restores from backup and some manual re-entry of data.

In this situation we had a plan for each component failure to avoid the brute force approach. It may seem like a lot of extra work but actually it was done during the development and testing of the systems. We would play the “what if…?” game during the project.

“What if component A stops working?”

“We can route to the old system which use the same code at that step in the workflow.”

“Yeah? Let’s write up the instructions for doing that and include that scenario in our testing.”

It is much easier to come up with plan before a situation arises when minds are calm and you have all your notes handy. Trying to formulate a plan during the middle of a crisis situation is like trying to fix a flat tire while the car is moving – it is very complicated and dangerous and there is a risk that the situation can get a whole lot worse.

There are two kinds of people in this world. People that drive into a parking spot and people that back in. I’ll leave it up to you to consider why backing into a parking spot is the preferred approach.

Written by Tim ThinkAuthor

January 4, 2012 at 6:29 pm

One Response

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  1. Excellent strategy!


    January 22, 2012 at 1:15 pm

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