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BCM Planning Methodology and Singapore Standard SS540


BCM Planning Methodology

BCP Methodology & SS 540 For BCM-2008

BCM Planning Methodology & SS 540:2008 For BCM

Alignment of the BCM Planning Methodology with Singapore Standard SS540

This is the first continuation of the previous Blog “BCM Concept: BCM Planning Methodology.” The objective is to share how an organization can use a common planning methodology to implement its BC planning project or BCM programme and yet, be able to meet the respective international standards such as the Singapore Standard SS540:2008.

Common Challenges on Meeting Standards

A common dilemma faced by BCM professionals assigned to implement its BCM is having to be well-versed with the many internal organizational guidelines/standards, regulatory requirements and international BCM standards before they start any BC planning (BCP) project.

One key step to managing this is to understand that most BCM standards are similar except that they tend to be written to look different from each other.   As a BCM implementor, you should have and adopt a common approach towards BCM implementation. The key is to use the BCM Planning Methodology as a common approach within your organization. The first diagram above is the BCM Planning Methodology used as part of the BCM Institute’s training curriculum. The second diagram above is a simple illustration of the Singapore Standard SS540 BCM standard being mapped to the phases within the BCM Planning Methodology.

Why is there no Project Management in SS540:2008?

What is the unique about SS540 is that the “Project Management” phase is not part of the Singapore Standard SS540:2008. I have attended presentations over the last few years (both in Singapore and internationally) and heard comments that this is not a standard as it does not have a “Project Management” phase. Often, I have to explain that it is important to understand what basis and background was the standard written and when/how is the standard used. If an organization is certifying itself to the BCMS SS540:2008, they should be in the “Programme Management” phase as the BCP project should be long over. The morale of the story in that professional should attempt to find out more and to understand the underlying principles behind each standard before they make such comments as it is a clear reflection of a need to know more about the the BCM domain. Only when you have crafted each statement within the standard and challenged every single word and it meaning can you then truly understand the meaning of any standard.

The Originator for SS540 (ex-TR19)

I remember being summon by a large government agency (one of the strictest due diligence that I have encountered by a government body) regarding the fact that there are three other consultants in Singapore (and the organizations that they represent) that one can blatantly claim that they developed the SS540 (previously known as Technical Reference TR19). Initially, I felt sad at the unwarranted claims that they wrote the standard but was pleased that the previous Executive Director of Singapore Business Federations (SBF), a previous head of Department for the Economic Development Board (EDB) and also the chairperson for the National BCM Committee were willing to vouch for me that my team and I wrote the standard. The good ending was they caved in and later replied that they “participated” in o or two of the national standard technical committee meetings when they were told to clarify to this government agency.  I guess it is important to ask and differentiate between what is “writing” the standard and what is “attending” the standard committee meetings.


  1. BCMPedia: Glossary for BCM
  2. Singapore Standard SS540 Glossary
  3. Singapore Standard SS540 Framework
  4. Fundamental BCM Courses in Singapore Standard SS540
  5. A Manager’s Guide to SS540 Singapore Standard for BCM, ISBN 978-981-05-4299-3

Author: moh_heng

Dr Goh Moh Heng is the Managing Director of GMH Continuity Architects and President of Business Continuity Management (BCM) Institute.

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