C02 - Plan responses for deviations

This management activity belongs to the Weekly Management group, which is a group of activities done at the beginning of each week.

If you have any deviations from your targets based on the performance measurements in C01, you should manage them and try to get back on track.

In complicated cases, you can have a workshop and get help from all or a select group of team members in planning how to recover from the deviation. In critical or sensitive cases, inform the sponsor, ask for their advice, and seek their approval for the recovery plan.

If it’s not possible to recover from the deviations, you should seek approval from the sponsor to set revised targets and goals, and have these approved. Make sure that the new information is recorded in the Project Description.

If there’s an underlying reason for the deviation that may cause similar issues in the future, record it in the Follow-Up Register as a risk, and plan a proper risk response for it.

Project Description template

Follow-Up Register template


To achieve the goals of the project, we need to recover from deviations as soon as possible, before they pile up. Even more importantly, if we try to recover from the deviations and don’t succeed, and see an alarming trend in the project, we will know that the project goals cannot be met with the existing targets, and we have to revise those targets. When revised, they may no longer be justifiable, in which case the project may be canceled and to avoid bigger losses in the future.

Common pitfalls

Remember that a general, vague, wishful statement such as “We have to work 15% faster from now on” is not a recovery plan. Recovery plans must be realistic and include actionable things that can be implemented and evaluated.

If you must choose between recovering from a deviation and solving the root cause of the deviation, which may cause the same issue in the future, give priority to the latter. Otherwise, you will be continuously firefighting.


The following principles play a significant role in this management activity:

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A - Project Initiation

B - Monthly Initiation

C - Weekly Management

D - Daily Management

E - Monthly Closure

F - Project Closure

G - Post-Project Management

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