There’s an Chinese proverb that states; “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Well, let’s update that just a bit and relate it to Business Continuity; “the establishment of a program begins with a single step.” Too often, there are two things that happen when someone wants to start building a BCM program; it sees itself through to the end successfully or it’s like a trying to roll a boulder up hill…backwards. Sisyphus would know
what that’s like.
Due to not many understanding the value or the workings of a BCM program, it has a hard time getting started. It starts, stops, stalls, trips, slips and falls all over the place. Understanding all the components of the program is key to keeping it successful and moving. Due to many corporations not understanding this, even getting it started can be tough. It’s like getting up early in the morning knowing you have to get the day started but you keep hitting the snooze button – delaying the inevitable. If you hit the snooze button, too many times the day will start to slip by.
If you hit the snooze button on the BCM program initiation, then you just invite the inevitable to come quicker.
Disasters can be like flies to a horse; attracted to those that don’t want them.
Why do people hit the snooze button in the first place? This might be even after a person has received approval to move forward in developing the program. What might be going through their minds and why is it they are hitting the snooze button so early in the program development?
1 – No Thought-out Action Plan: It’s one thing to present a PowerPoint presentation or place a business case in
front of executives providing a reason for developing a BCM program but its something else to have an action plan to make it happen. If you’re going to build a program – or any related plan – you must have an action plan that outlines how you’re going to pull it off. Without one, you might not get approval from executives to move forward and you’ll be under the misguided assumption that executives don’t want a BCM program; might be they do and just want to know how you’re going to do it. So make sure you plan for the making of the plans. (Known as a P2P in the Project Management world)
2 – No Resources: Many people believe they can create a program and their own but it’s impossible. Sure, you might have a single champion but they need the assistance of others to make things happen. You need to identify what other assistance you’ll need along the way. Some of it you may know – like who should be attending Business Impact Analysis (BIA) workshops – and some of it you may not. You may not know who’ll be apart of developing the TRP for now because you haven’t determined if you’ll be needed a 3rd party vendor site or not…but you can make some high-level estimates. Still, if you’ve only identified yourself as the single resource, everyone will expect you to do all the work – and that can be daunting. If you’re the only one and you have some other Business as Usual (BUA), starting something like a BCM program will slip down the priority list and not get the traction or focus it needs. And really, if you are the only one, you know you’re going to need assistance.
3 – No Defined Goal: Well, what’s you’re ultimate end goal here. What will the project – and eventually the program – have to show for itself once you’ve completed your action plan? Will there be multiple Department Business Continuity Plans (BCP), a Technology Recovery Plan (TRP) or a Crisis Communication Plan? Or something else? People want to know what they are going to see – or have – when it’s all over. Even if it is something that will be ongoing, they still want to know what they will have when the program moves over to an
operationally directive from that of a project directive. Know in advance what you need and what you’re
going to do; delaying this will only delay the overall program development because you won’t know where you’re going – so how can you move. It’s like standing in the middle of a cross-roads and being told to go to the right destination but having no idea in which direction holds that destination. You just stand there wondering….
4 – Lack of Knowledge/Skill: Sometimes people can talk a great talk but they may not have the skill to make things happen. They quietly let something slide into oblivion hoping no one remembers about the BCM program initiative they proposed (or any other initiative for that matter). Not having the skill means you need to acquire those skills for yourself or hire someone within the company (or externally) that does have the skills you require. When people don’t know what to do – they do nothing and thus, the programs development (and all the plans) end up being delayed or never starting at all.
5 – Afraid of Failure: Aren’t we all afraid of this though? Sure, we might be but then nothing gets accomplished by sitting around waiting for it to get done. You will find things in the organization that aren’t quite right, as the BIA tends to uncover these ‘unknowns’ and many see this as failure. Wrong! This is good. It’s better to find mistakes – in assumption, plans, processes etc – prior to any disaster than when the disaster strikes. In my view, you can’t fail when that happens. Many see it as failure because you’re bucking the trend or uncovering things and this might upset some people so they are afraid to move forward. Don’t be. This is good. Proactively identifying things that can go wrong can never be a bad thing, so don’t be afraid of it.
As the NIKE adds state; “Just do it.” The sooner you get started the better chance you have of creating a great program to address any disaster threats/risks and better empower your organization – and employees – to make sure the right responses are in place. …and for goodness sake, Plan your Plan.
“Heads in the Sand: What Stops Corporations From Seeing Business Continuity as a
Social Responsibility” and
“Made Again Volume 1 – Practical Advice for Business Continuity Programs”
by StoneRoad founder, A.Alex Fullick, MBCI, CBCP, CBRA,ITILv3