Preparing for the Unexpected (2020-06025): COVID-19 – 2nd Wave, Vaccines, Therapeutics and the Future

Join me this Thursday, June 25/20, as I continue our monthly chat with Regina Phelps about Covid-19.  Covid-19 is going to be with us for some time yet, especially with the numbers we’re seeing around the globe. We’ll talk about what’s happening around the globe right now and what we can expect in the future. Regina will also talk to us about the latest news with regards to vaccines and therapeutics. It’s another informative episode you won’t want to miss.

Enjoy!

The StoneRoad Team

Preparing for the Unexpected (July 16/20): COVID-19 and Business Continuity Management

The global Business Continuity Management (BCM) landscape is changing; from supply chain management to disaster response to the effects and impacts of the Covid-19 global pandemic. We talk to internationally recognized BCM industry leader and expert, Patrick (Pat) Corcoran from IBM. Continue reading

{PREPARING FOR THE UNEXPECTED: COVID-19 – Pandemic ‘Waves’ and Your Work Re-Entry Plan

Join me this Thursday (May 28/20) for our monthly talk with Regina Phelps on Covid-19 and continue our chat from Apr 23 on what organization’s need to consider if they want to re-enter their workplaces. You might find some of it quite surprising…  Enjoy!

The StoneRoad Team

 

New Business Functions: The BCM Professional and the Project Manager

I recently read an article where individuals were asked what the role of the Business Continuity Management (BCM) should be when a new business function will be introduced. There were comments from ensuring Change Management is introduced to the BCM professional needs to perform a Risk Assessment (RA), Business Impact Analysis (BIA) to developing continuity plans and implementation and rollback plans. Now, all that is good BUT, I found it odd that not a single respondent gave the most obvious answer – and it has nothing to do with the BCM professional.

If the organization has determined to introduce – or develop – a new business process (and related technology functionality), the responsibility to ensure all of the things I noted above are completed belongs to the Project Management Office (PMO) and the assigned Project Manager (PM). It’s not the responsibility of the BCM professional to ensure all that is completed.

Now, I’ve always said that BCM professionals need to have a project management experience, or at least have some basic knowledge of project management (as outlined by the Project Management Institute – PMI) but they don’t suddenly become the driver of the bus for all projects.

BCM gets involved at the time the PM – and the schedule – says it’s logical to get involved and execute the appropriate project deliverables, which when completed accordingly, help mitigate risks and/or update the appropriate risk plans, contingency plans (it may be a new plan if the new process creates new departments etc) and technology recovery plans.

With allot of PM experience behind me, I know that every single PMO office I’ve ever worked for – as a PM, Control Officer or Program Officer – there are some basic deliverables that are performed through project management. That includes completing some sort of Risk Profile and Business Impact Assessment, which the BCM professional may be brought in to assist with completion and in most cases, it’s not their responsibility to determine how this is managed. The PM will take the appropriate completed documents and provide to the project stakeholders for approval or additional input/amendments. Then, it may be provided to the BCM professional to action accordingly (e.g. update contingency plans, technology plans etc.). The BCM professional isn’t the one that makes the final determinations during project flight; that’s the responsibility of the PM.

The BCM professional has to make sure that when that inflight project becomes Business As Usual (BAU), all the appropriate activities are completed and ready to accept the new function (project deliverable).

That means that the implementation plans (business and technology) and rollback plans are developed by the appropriate project team workstream lead but is not developed by BCM. There are already people within a PMO office responsible for those activities.

On another note, the Crisis Management Team (CMT) may not even ben involved during project implementations, even when there’s an issue with implementation and roll back occurs.  If it doesn’t impact operations then it’s the project’s Command Team that takes control, though some of those individuals on the CMT may be part of the project team based on their daily roles and responsibilities.

Implementation communications are usually managed by the Business Operations team whose job it is to manage communications with clients and customers (the name of the department may change from company to company).  Still, they aren’t done or managed by BCM, they are done by the Project Team.

The PM is responsible to make sure that all of these activities are completed properly and to the standards required by the organization’s PMO and documents the handoff to the business owner, which would include ensuring that BCM/BCP/DR has been involved and are ready to accept the new process (if they haven’t been already).

I found it odd that not one responded to the question in the article mentioned Project Management, which is a discipline on its own with various skill sets. Good PMOs and good PM’s will bring in the BCM group when it’s acceptable to do so to ensure that the moment the new process (and related technical functionality) goes live, it’s in a good position to respond to a disaster situation. This might even include a dry ‘test’ or ‘DR simulation’ prior to going live or very shortly after going live. I’ve been in organizations that say a full DR of a new function/technical configuration, must be tested within 60 days of going live – or sooner.

The BCM role isn’t the same as a Project Manager’s role, but the BCM professional must understand Project Management to ensure a smooth transition from idea to implementation to a ‘live’ state.

© StoneRoad 2020

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

BCM/DR & Covid-19: The Rush is On!

All around me I see people focused on Covid-019 and as it’s such a major aspect, incident and focus in today’s world, that’s not surprising. The amount of impact a tiny virus cell has had on the world is incredible. Who ever said the small things don’t matter, obviously didn’t know anything about diseases and pandemics.  

The rush seems to be on to update plans? Seriously? Where was the updating over the last few years? Have BCM/DR practitioners forgotten that updating and maintaining plans and programs is a key aspect of the entire industry? It’s not a one-time thing, which seems to be the practices right now Anyone that comes out and says they are updating their plan now that the Covid-19 pandemic is here was not updating their plan prior to the outbreak.  I don’t get it!  Why weren’t we doing it? Did we become complacent and just not think that maintenance was necessary; that a one-time plan development was good enough?! Or that once we had a plan and did some sort of test/exercise, which probably entailed more planning than the actual development of the plan itself – was good enough.  Sorry, that’s just not going to cut it.

Why?

Why did we become so complacent and not maintain our plans? Some have kept them up to date, as you see blogs and posts on social media sites stating they they’re following their plans and protocols but they seem to be either less than or equal to, the number of those that didn’t maintain their plans. If they weren’t maintaining their pandemic plans (aka People Availability Plans), I’m curious to know just what plans or parts of the BCM program were being updated.  Call trees? Crisis Management Team (CMT) contact information? The IT Technology Recovery Plan (ITTRP) / IT Disaster Recovery Plan (ITDRP). What has been maintained?

There’s a gap with support too, because obviously executives don’t know what they’re doing for the most part and many are stating they were hit with the Covid-19 pandemic disaster by surprise.  BULLCRAP!!  We saw things coming weeks ago, as the virus began to spread from China to Japan and South Korea and then to other areas. We got the head’s up it was coming but sat by believing it ‘wouldn’t touch us’.  Well, they were wrong.
Now the rush seems to be on to ‘mitigate’ and impact but the impact is already here, so they are actually responding to Covid-19.  A few week’s ago organizations may have been able to get away with saying they were performing mitigation activities but they can’t now; they’re responding.

Perhaps it’s a way of telling themselves that they aren’t in any way responsible for what’s happening, so they can blame someone else down the road for not being prepared. Saying they are implementing mitigation plans isn’t really true at all; they just don’t want to admit they fell behind. Hence the rush to get a response in place; any response to help with where they are and how they’ve been impacted.

Alex

COVID-19: We’re on the Cusp of BIG Changes!

Well, if you haven’t seen or heard anything related to the Covid-19 disease, you’ve either been living in a cave or on the moon. It’s everywhere. It’s touching every aspect of our lives. It’s changing every aspect of our life and it’s going to change the world going forward. I know that might sound a bit ominous but 1 event can change the world. Continue reading

BCM: Track Your Incidents for Program Maintenance!

When we think of crises or disasters, we seem to immediately go to the big ticket situations; fires, hurricane’s, floods and pandemics. We tend not to think of the smaller mundane crises Continue reading

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

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

BCAW 2019 (2019-05-16): We Talk with BCI Canada

Our 2019-05-16 episode is in support of Business Continuity Awareness Week (BCAW), May 13-17, 2019, as we replay our chat with Chris Horne of BCI Canada.

https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/114732/encore-the-business-continuity-institute-canada

Enjoy!

The StoneRoad Team