Crisis Management Plan & Strategies in Project Management

When planning projects, you’ll want to make sure you account for every possibility imaginable. Things rarely go as planned, but the last thing you want is to be caught off-guard.

To prepare you and your team for unexpected situations that might negatively impact your project’s results and operations, take the time to prepare a crisis management plan.

What Is a Crisis Management Plan?

A crisis management plan is a set of actions, procedures, and resources your team will execute if a crisis occurs. Preparing this would require you to evaluate scenarios that might affect your project negatively; assess their impact; and identify the needed skills, knowledge, and facilities you need to secure to manage them if they happen.

Read more: Understanding the Risk Breakdown Structure (RBS)

The Benefits of Having a Crisis Management Plan

Helps Lessen a Crisis’s Impact

Being prepared for a crisis can help you lessen the impact that it otherwise would have if you weren’t prepared. A plan in place will help you manage problems before they cause irreversible damage. In times of crisis, time is almost always of the essence.

Builds Trust and Confidence

Awareness and preparedness for crises are good ways to secure trust from your team and stakeholders. This tells them that you’re fully aware of risks, and your decisions are well-thought-out. It also displays your capacity to deal with adverse situations if they come up.

Keeps Team Calm Under Pressure

Equipping your team with a solid game plan of what to do when unexpected things happen will help them stay calm and collected even when things are awry. Panic makes people make wrong decisions, so a crisis management plan prepares your team operationally and mentally to respond to dire situations.

Avoids Potential Crises

Ironically, identifying crises can also lead to a better understanding of how to avoid them. Bringing bad situations to your awareness might make you consider implementing preventive measures, if possible.

Read more: Risk Assessment Matrix

How to Create a Crisis Management Plan

  1. Identify Worst-Case Scenarios
  2. Prioritize Most Relevant Crises
  3. Formulate Your Plan
  4. Secure Resources
  5. Document and Review

Identify Worst-Case Scenarios

Before you start planning how to react to a crisis, you’ll have to identify them first. Look at your project milestones, plans, and deliverables. Think about the factors that would affect your operations and resources.

Here are different types of crises you can consider:

  • Natural Disasters: Volcano eruptions, typhoons, earthquakes, etc.
  • Man-Made Disasters: Violence, cyber crime, political unrest, etc.
  • Technological Service Interruptions: Inaccessibility of tech services (e.g., a social media outage)
  • Shortages and Price Hikes: A sudden shortage or price increase of materials (e.g., the recent fuel price surge)
  • Accidents and Health Calamities: Outbreaks, explosions, fire, etc.

Prioritize Most Relevant Crises

Depending on your project, different types of calamities might bear different levels of impact.

If your project operations are primarily done outdoors, natural calamities might be massive considerations. If you rely on remote work, technological calamities such as cyber crime and services going down might affect you more.

Consider shortages, man-made calamities, and accidents among others, and prioritize crises according to their impact and their likelihood of occurring. You can do this easily by using a risk register for an organized approach.

Formulate Your Plan

Now that you know which crises are most relevant for you, formulate your plan to mitigate and manage them.

Identify the trigger for the protocol to commence: Does someone have to greenlight it? Is it a specific date and situation? Will you need to establish a new chain of command to facilitate collaboration?

Think of what to do, who will do it, and how it will be done. These are things you might not have time to think about anymore when a crisis strikes.

Secure Resources

With your plan in place, identify the resources you’ll need to carry it out. These may include information, supplies and equipment, a venue, or emergency contact details of relevant groups or personnel.

Be sure to prepare them and make everyone aware of where they can be found. This way, they’re easily accessible when they’re needed.

Document and Review

Document everything for easy dissemination and review. Make this a living document you can update with new possible situations and solutions as you gain more information. Schedule sessions to review them, especially for long-term projects.

If training is required to execute some planned procedures, find time to conduct them. After all, the best time to prepare for a disaster is before it strikes.

Read more on CIO Insight: Best Risk Management Software

Be Prepared With a Crisis Management Plan

Regardless of how detailed project plans are, there will always be things beyond your control. However, these don’t have to leave you defenseless. With a crisis management plan, you’re taking advantage of what you can control: your mental and operational preparedness to take on whatever comes your way.

Recommended Project Management Software

If you’re interested in learning more about top-rated project management software, the editors at project-management.com actively recommend the following.


Hannah Donato

Hannah Donato is a SaaS freelance writer for project management and productivity. Her works help SaaS brands become more relatable with actionable tips and relevant stories. Currently, she’s also an events manager and brand coordinator for a game development company in the Philippines, with four years of experience as a producer for games on multiple platforms.