Why Should Organizations Adopt A Consistent Planning Methodology?
I had the opportunity to review close to 200 types of planning process/ methodology for BC, IT DR and crisis management during the late 90s’ when the market was fairly immature as it lack consistency within this industry. The planning methodology ranges from a 3-stage to a 50-steps approach. I did a comparison with every available methodologies and compiled the merits and also disadvantage (Image my challenge of not having Google and good access to the internet at that time). Each planning methodology has its strength (as it is specific for an industry or particular product) but noticed that the key features of any planning methodology are consistent with several key areas. The final part of my research which is 20% of my PhD research was to develop an implementation model for implementing business continuity and it looks something like the current planning methodology (appended below). It has evolved over the decade as we understand and embrace the development of each economies, various cultures, evolution of technology, and more recently, the introduction of BCM standards.
What Exactly is a BCM Planning Methodology?
BCM Planning Process or Methodology is the planning process for the implementation of any BC plan (IT DR or Crisis Management plans). The following summarizes each phase of the BCM Planning Methodology:
- Define and organize the project planning parameters and identify the resources needed to complete the BC Plan.
- Identify existing risks and threats that the business organization is exposed to, particularly with respect to its geographic location, processes and procedures.
- Evaluate the critical operations for each business unit and determine the resources needed to run them.
- Develop interim recovery guidelines and procedures for business units operating between “time of disaster” and “ready for normal business.”
- Arrange for alternate facilities and store backups of vital records in a safe place.
- Determine the procedures for notifying the right people, assessing the operational impact and activating the recovery.
- Develop specific steps for minimizing the risks of an outage, and restoring normal operations after the outage. The output from these steps is the BC Plan.
- Subject the developed recovery plan to be tested to ensure that it works.
- Update and maintain the plan constantly to reflect changed conditions in the business.
- Review and audit the readiness and completeness of the plan.
- Ensure that all staff members who are involved in the recovery process understand the recovery plan.
- Manage the overall BCM program.
Consistent Implementation Approach for All Planning Efforts
It is crucial that organization adopt a common set of planning methodology when you are implementing business continuity, disaster recovery or crisis management planning. This will allow alignment to all plan implementation. An example is the sharing of data collected from the risk analysis and review phase for business continuity (usually conducted by Organization BCM Coordinator), IT Disaster Recovery (Usually managed by the Organization DR Coordinator) and Crisis Management (Crisis management Coordinator). This phase can be combined as the information can be gathered from the same business unit representatives.
Modifications to the BCM Planning Methodology
it is important to note that if an organization had already implemented its BC plans, it should combine the requirement of project management into the “Program Management” phase. This application is meant for organization embarking on BCM for the first time and also for organization that are maintaining its BCM program. Another point to note is that training and awareness during initial project implementation applies to all the phases while, in program management, it can be centrally coordinated at the program management phase by the corporate BCM office.
Final Implementation Considerations and Advices
As we globalized and conduct our implementations outside of our host country, there are various considerations in implementing BCM. What I have learn over the years is to have a consistent way to implementing (which is the BCM Planning Methodology) by instituting a proper BCM framework and governance structure. Once that is done, it is also easy for organization to comply to their regulatory requirement and also international BCM standard as this becomes a re-mapping of the BCM planning process to the requirement if the BCM standard and specific regulations. I will elaborate more in my later blogs on the comparison to the various BCM standards (such as BS25999:2006:7 and SS540:2008) and eventually to the to be published ISO 22301.