Business Continuity Management: Is the Industry Due for a Change?

There’s an old saying that says “change it the only constant” and that’s true for almost everything in the world.  Our communities change, the kind of car we drive changes, our homes change, our families change, the technology we use changes, our music tastes change (though we do prefer some kind of music over others), so why is it there is so much push back when there is a recommendation – or even just the spark of an idea – to change our Business Continuity/Resiliency Management industry?

In recent years there has been the question about changing the way specific components of a BCM program are managed, in fact, there’s even the suggestion to stop performing the way specific components of a BCM program altogether.  In some circles, this seems to have sparked a firestorm of controversy with some jumping for joy that the scent of a change is in the air, while other BCM professionals and practitioners vehemently promote the same-old same-old way of doing things.  Of course, I’m talking about the Adaptive BCP movement that calls for the removal of the Risks Assessment/Analysis (RA) and Business Impact Analysis (BIA) from the overall BCM core competencies. I’m not going to go into Mark and David’s overall mandate, as that’s for them to discuss in detail, but I do think they raise a great point; the point that it’s time for a change.

Many of us have worked for organizations and clients that have various methods of building, implementing and validating Business Continuity and Technology Recovery Plans, so it’s only natural for those changes – and the reasons for them – to be promoted.  When our day-to-day processes don’t align with the supposed frameworks communicated by various BCM and DR governing bodies, then the reality is that there is a need to consider change.  From a personal perspective, I’ve been to many client sites that want a specific delivery within a specific timeframe – that’s reality – so I have to adapt what the client wants with the way I know how things should be done.  It’s just a fact, that we have to adapt ourselves and our BCM/DR processes to changing expectations of clients, communities and organizations.  Sometimes, that means not performing a specific program component in the same way a governing body would expect.  Sometimes, an organization, community or individual already know the risk or the potential impacts and has asked us – the BCM/DR professional or practitioner – to take the next step of developing contingencies.

That’s the reality, folks!  It DOES happen and programs and program deliverables are still created to the satisfaction and expectations of company executives. So why continue to deny that it doesn’t occur or that by removing a step – or changing the say a BCM program component is done – does not or should not occur?  Change is inevitable. If the Project Management Institute (PMI) can develop the Agile Project Management methodology, then why can’t our current governing bodies accept new ways of performing BCM program components.

Change can be difficult and make us feel as though we aren’t doing what we should, but as long as we get to the expected end-of-the-road deliverable, should it really matter what path we take to get there?  Especially if we understand the risks of doing things differently and we document and/or communicate that risk then we as practitioners and professionals should walk the path best suited to the situation and expectation at hand.

I think the shake-up and change in attitudes and ideas is good for our industry.  It might make some feel uncomfortable but that’s good – it means we are hitting the right notes because it’s getting attention.  If we stay stagnant then we’ll eventually lose our edge and value, as we’ll be seen as inflexible dinosaurs – and you know what happened to them.

The StoneRoad Team

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Perparing for the Unexpected (2019-10-31): Mastering BCM w/ Dr. Michael Redmond

Join us on October 31/19, as we talk with author and internationally recognized Business Continuity Management expert Dr. Michael C Redmond.  It’s sure to be an eye-opener and we also talk about her thoughts on the Adaptive BCP movement.

https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/117011/mastering-business-continuity-management

Enjoy!

The StoneRoad Team

Preparing for the Unexpected (2019-09-05): The Soulful Leader

Join us 2019-09-05 as we talk to author and clinical psychologist Dr. Arthur Ciaramicoli about how our Crisis Leaders can become Soulful Leaders.  

https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/115529/the-soulful-leader

Enjoy!

The StoneRoad Team

Preparing for the Unexpected (Apr 18/19): A New Approach to Disaster Education

For our April 18, 2019 show we talk about New Approaches to Disaster Education with educator and disaster hazard expert, Neil Dufty.

https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/113202/a-new-approach-to-disaster-education

Enjoy!

The StoneRoad Team

 

BCM PROGRAMS: It’s NOT a One-Time Thing!

When organizations build a Business Continuity management (BMC), Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) or whatever name you want to give the program, quite often they fail to communicate a specific aspect of BCM to their sponsors and executive management: BCM is not a onetime thing.  It’s not a single goal to reach and then it’s over.  It’s not final when you’ve tested a plan and put the plan on the shelf (or saved the plans in an online application).

It’s ongoing.

It’s cyclical.  Yes, that’s right – cyclical.  That’s because for the most part any methodology you leverage to build your plans, protocols, processes, teams and programs, will fit into – one way or another – the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) framework developed by W. Edward Deming.  I won’t go into detail the overall cycle in this blog (maybe some other time) but one way or another what you’re doing to create your program is the PDCA cycle.

The cycle is a wheel, which continues round and round and if that’s the case then how could creating and especially the maintenance and review of a BCM/DR program be a onetime thing?  It can’t. This is what executives fail to either understand or aren’t told, which is why later on down the road people – especially executives, begin to question why BCM/DR activities continue after they believe the program (and its deliverables) have been established.  They fail to understand and practitioners fail all too often, to explain that BCM/DR is continuous and not a onetime project.  It’s an operationalized program (hopefully), which needs ongoing support, review and maintenance.

This really needs to be communicated up front when you first start putting you program together.  You may not know the full extent of when, who or how the program will be maintained but when you start your planning you’ve got to communicate that it’s something that’s ongoing.  You may deliver the Finance BCP plan but you’ve got to communicate that it will need to be reviewed annually (at least) for updates, as well as other program components and findings.  Organizational Changes, IT Changes and personal changes will require the continued maintenance and review of strategies and plans otherwise plans – and the program overall – won’t address the needs of the organization.

So the next time you’re talking to you program sponsor or providing an update to executives, make sure they are aware that the program is ongoing and needs continue support and resources.  Then they need to ensure that support exists in all areas and that all areas continue to support and provide updates when required.  It’s not over when the BCP or IT DRP is documented.  The program needs to move in step with the organization.

© StoneRoad 2018

A.Alex Fullick has over 21 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.”

Preparing for the Unexpected (May 2/19) – BCM & Lessons Lessons Learned

Our May 2/19 show will focus on Lessons Learned with expert and author Nick Milton. 

https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/110848/encore-business-continuity-management-lessons-learned

Enjoy!

The StoneRoad Team

Preparing for the Unexpected (Mar 28/19) – BCM Program Trends: What the Most Successful Programs are Doing!

Our March 28/19 show focuses on another of our most popular shows – BCM Program Trends: What the Most Successful Programs are Doing! with Cheyenne Marling. 

https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/110847/encore-bcm-program-trends-what-the-most-successful-programs-are-doing

Enjoy!

The StoneRoad Team