A Workaround is a solution to an unanticipated problem. Not to be confused with a contingency, or backup plan, which is conceived in advance, a workaround is a far less elegant solution to the problem. Typically, a workaround is not viewed as something that is designed to be a panacea, or cure-all, but rather as a crude solution to the immediate problem. It’s not unusual for the project management team to have to devise several workarounds during the course of a project. Because a workaround is designed solely to bypass, not correct, the problem at hand it should not be expected to survive long past the initial discovery of the problem. However, as a temporary fix, a workaround will do very well until a suitable permanent fix can be implemented by project management personnel. It is always important to makes notes as to the way the workaround was orchestrated so project management can put in place a more stable fix as soon as possible. It is also important to note that, while a workaround is extremely effective for the immediate problem, the moment the problem evolves beyond the parameters of the workaround it becomes useless.
This term is defined in the 3rd and the 4th edition of the PMBOK.