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Fallback Plan vs Contingent Response Strategy

Fallback Plan vs Contingent Response Strategy

If you enjoyed reading this post, check out all of our post on PMP Concepts Learning Series.

Designed to help those that are preparing to take the PMP or CAPM Certification Exam, each post within this series presents a comparison of common concepts that appear on the PMP and CAPM exams.

Fallback Plan vs Contingent Response Strategy

In project risk management, both fallback plans and contingent response strategies may be developed associated with certain identified risks. Both are planned and developed in advance of the risk event occurring.

Fallback Plan

A fallback plan is developed in advance of a risk event occurring and is designed to be used when the primary risk response proves not to be effective.

Think of the fallback plan as the “Plan B”.

Having it documented in advance will ensure that the project team is able to react to the risk in an expedient manner while hopefully minimizing any type of negative impact.

Contingent Response Strategy

A contingent response strategy is developed in advance and designed to be used only if the risk event occurs. As with a fallback plan, the contingent response strategy is a critical communication tool to ensure that all team members know what actions to take when the specified risk event occurs.


You are managing the annual employee recognition event: an outdoor luau. There is a risk of rain on the day of the event but it’s a low probability. As such, you decide not to take proactive action on the risk but rather develop a contingent response strategy should it be raining on the day of the event.

The park where the event will be held has a gymnasium. Your contingency response strategy will be to move the event into the gymnasium should it start raining. For the fallback plan you have the park office designated as a secondary location, should the gymnasium be unavailable.


Risk management may not always involve taking proactive action. Certain risks may be more appropriate for a contingent response strategy, designed to only be implemented if the risk event occurs. If the primary response is ineffective, a fallback plan, also developed in advance, may be implemented.

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