When planning our various BCM/DR components, you need to build and maintain some level of a schedule. If you don’t have a schedule built for let’s say the BIA or the development of a Crisis Communications Plan, then Executives will never know when to expect the results and participants will continually ‘put you off’. This is because they’ll know there’s no deadline so there’s no level of urgency to complete their tasks and thus, the BCM/DR component will never be completed.
When you do develop a schedule, don’t develop it in a silo. You need participation and feedback from everyone involved so that dates and timelines are realistic and achievable. If not, then no one will buy into your schedule and will do what they want when they want to- if at all.
A schedule also helps other managers assign resources at the appropriate times, as it’s their job to ensure their department employees are fully engaged with work and those that have timelines and specific goals and objectives will end up with the resources. Your project – BCM program components – will fall by the wayside because you don’t have it mapped out for when they need to have a resource(s) available to assist. If they don’t/ know when you need someone, they can’t and won’t, keep a resource sitting on the sidelines.
When a schedule has been determined, ensure that all participants review the final schedule; communicate it. This ensure that everyone is on the same page and that there isn’t something that is completely ‘out of whack’. This could be something as simple as having a deliverable being worked on over the Christmas holidays because someone forgot that the company works at a reduced staffing level during that two week period. Of there might be ways where the schedule can be compressed and have multiple deliverables being worked on at the same time rather than on an individual basis. This communication and review can help with an Agile delivery schedule rather than a waterfall schedule.
A schedule will also have risks associated with it; all scheduled will, and like a good BCM project manager, you need to identify them and document them. I’ve written about them before here (risk management). Manage those risks and you’ll be able to keep to the schedule and be able to manage any hindrances that you might come across that try to derail your schedule.
Finally, be willing to change. Without flexibility – reasonable flexibility – you won’t be able to deal with those hindrances I noted earlier. Change is constant and executives and corporate circumstances will sometimes throw a wrench your way – not nece3ssarily on purpose – but because that’s the way businesses are run. Things change. So be flexible in your scheduling and always be proactive in knowing how and where you schedule is at all times. Know what can be done when one aspect of the schedule is being impacted and what you can do to amend it. Don’t panic and be frustrated with the schedule, be flexible and know what can be delayed (if necessary) and what can continue.
Remember, your schedule is your roadmap; it’s your plan for moving forward. If you were taking a road trip with family you map your route and have checkpoints along the way and even identify some alternate routes if something goes wrong. You need to do that with your BCM schedule to make sure you get to where you need to be and deliver what needs to be delivered.
© StoneRoad 2016
A.Alex Fullick has over 19 years’ experience working in Business Continuity and is the author of numerous books, including “Watch Your Step”, “BIA: Building the Foundation for a Strong Business Continuity Program.”and “Testing Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plans.”