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: 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

BCM / DR Programs: Why Do We Think A Program Will Maintain Itself?

Hello,

Happy New Year to one and all!  2020 is shaping up to be quite the year for me and I hope it is for you too.

I first have to apologize for not having been more diligent in writing and promoting my show on the VoiceAmerica Radio Network (‘Preparing for the Unexpected’), as I’ve just been so busy.  But I decided I should get back to writing and posting here, even if it’s something short. So without further adieu, my first blog of 2020.

Alex

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Lately, I’ve noticed that some of the talk about BCM / DR programs and their maintenance don’t seem to align. There is so much talk about ensuring programs are developed and that plans are in place and then validated through exercising/testing but then that only gets followed up with the comment; ‘These should be maintained’.  And that’s it.  I’ve noticed it in articles, blogs and when speaking to people.  It’s as though there is something wrong with talking about how to maintain a program or there’s a lack of experience with developing the maintenance processes.

I’m not sure why the talk on this subject something trails off into other topics or why it tends to often be quickly references and then the topic moves in another direction. Are we not familiar with how this is supposed to be accomplished? Let’s face it, there is so much discussion about building programs and exercising plans and processes that maintaining it after the fact seems to fade away.

There might a couple of reasons for why the topic tends to fade away and only come back into the conversation after a disaster/crisis/operational interruption occurs.

  1. Quite often, contractors and consultants are hired to build programs – especially the RA, BIA, BCP development, tests etc., and when those are complete, they leave because the engagement is completed.
  2. When the high-priced consultants and contractors are gone, Executives begin to loose interest because the regular requests for support and status updates slow down or stop all together.
  3. When the contractors/consultants leave, the program is handed off to someone who doesn’t have the full breadth and knowledge of the program and are only assigned to it for 50% of their time.  So it doesn’t get the focus it needs. So they don’t end up providing the updates required for Executives (#2 above) , which causes Exec’s to loose interest and it drops off their radar.

There’s lots of focus on the creation and validation of BCM/DR/Resilience programs but I think some more attention, research and methods to keep programs updated and maintained, needs to be done.

 

© 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

 

Preparing for the Unexpected (2019-09-26) – Crisis Management w/ Regina Phelps

Join us on 2019-09-26 as we air an encore presentation of one of our most popular shows “Crisis Management: How to Develop a Powerful Program” with Regina Phelps. 

https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/115855/encore-crisis-management-how-to-develop-a-powerful-program

Enjoy!

The StoneRoad Team

 

 

 

Preparing for the Unexpected (2019-08-29): Managing BCM Projects in Trouble

Join us on 2019-08-29 as we talk with Project Management and BCM/DR expert, Ralph Kliem about how we can turn our failing resiliency/BCM programs around.  

https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/115321/managing-projects-in-trouble

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 (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

 

Preparing for the Unexpected (Sept 6/18): How BCM and DR Programs Address Our Fears (Part 2)

Our Sep 6/18 episode is Par 2 of How BCM and DR Programs address our fears.

https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/108897/how-bcm-and-dr-programs-address-our-fears-part-2

Enjoy!

The StoneRoad Team

Preparing for the Unexpected – 2018-04-12: The Challenges of BCM/DR Programs – Part 1

No matter the industry, the size of your organization, or the location(s) of your business, Business Continuity Management (BCM) and Disaster Recovery (DR) programs always seem to experience a common set of challenges. Drawing from 20+ years of experience, Alex Fullick will discuss these many challenges that seem to transcend industry and location – and which seem to appear at one time or another – in every BCM/DR program. Listen in to hear why some of these challenges occur and how to deal with them when you begin to encounter the same issues in your program.

https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/105645/the-challenges-of-bcmdr-programs-part-i

Enjoy!

The StoneRoad Team

 

 

Preparing for the Unexpected – 2018-02-18: The Mid-Atlantic Disaster Recovery Association (MADRA)

Join us on Feb 8/18, as we talk to Curtis Bartell and Dean Gallup, MBCP CHEP from the Mid Atlantic Disaster Recovery Association (MADRA). We talk about the workings of MADRA and business resiliency.

https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/104393/mid-atlantic-disaster-recovery-association-madra

Enjoy!

The StoneRoad Team