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