10 ways to Improve your Business Continuity Plans – tip #5 Use position titles

It is time to sit down, put pen to paper and write your business continuity plans. They should be straightforward: easy to read, easy to reference and easy to use.  These ten tips will help you to compose a practical plan that you will be proud to publish.

Tip #5 Use position titles rather than personal names of individuals

Reduce plan maintenance by not including perishable information. Plans should never contain actual names or phone numbers. Include them and your plan becomes obsolete as soon as someone moves or leaves the organization. Use job titles in the plan. Highly variable data should be contained in the appendices.

(For more information on DRI’s professional practices please read Professional Practice One – Program Initiation and Management DRII Professional Practices  June 1, 2012 Version 1)

‘When planning for war, I have always found plans to be useless, but planning to be invaluable.’ General Eisenhower

10 ways to Improve your Business Continuity Plans – tip #4 Know your audience

It is time to sit down, put pen to paper and write your business continuity plans. They should be straightforward: easy to read, easy to reference and easy to use.  These ten tips will help you to compose a practical plan that you will be proud to publish.

Tip #4 Write for your audience

Understand the audience for each set.  Design a response plan for people who may be panicked, rushed or distracted. Deliver a strong clear message. The recovery plans can contain more complexity as the audience has more time to digest the information. The set of general information will be read by management, by future business continuity planners and sometimes by members of the various teams during their training period, but rarely during a crisis. Here you can explain and justify the instructions contained in the other two sets.

Language in the response and recovery plans must be clear. Try to follow this writing advice:

  1. Avoid gender nouns and pronouns
  2. Use descriptive verbs
  3. Avoid jargon
  4. Avoid passive voice sentences
  5. Use the present tense
  6. Use the imperative mood
  7. Keep paragraphs simple and begin each with a clear topic sentence
  8. Use both sides of the page

Sentences should contain a single idea or instruction. All terms must be applied consistently throughout the document.

Editing of the plan should be done by a technical writer or someone in your organization that has very strong writing skills.

(For more information on DRI’s professional practices please read Professional Practice One – Program Initiation and Management DRII Professional Practices  June 1, 2012 Version 1)

‘When planning for war, I have always found plans to be useless, but planning to be invaluable.’ General Eisenhower

10 ways to Improve your Business Continuity Plans – tip #3 Logical Sequencing

It is time to sit down, put pen to paper and write your business continuity plans. They should be straightforward: easy to read, easy to reference and easy to use.  These ten tips will help you to compose a practical plan that you will be proud to publish.

Tip #3 Sequence information logically

Work through each section of your plan to ensure it is in sequence and that there is a flow to the data. Too many plans have information in no logical sequence. Keep all the pertinent background information together at the back. Begin with activation and response followed by long-term recovery. Present the information in a logical progression.

(For more information on DRI’s professional practices please read Professional Practice One – Program Initiation and Management DRII Professional Practices  June 1, 2012 Version 1)

‘When planning for war, I have always found plans to be useless, but planning to be invaluable.’ General Eisenhower

10 ways to Improve your Business Continuity Plans – tip #2 Be Concise

It is time to sit down, put pen to paper and write your business continuity plans. They should be straightforward: easy to read, easy to reference and easy to use.  These ten tips will help you to compose a practical plan that you will be proud to publish.

Tip #2 Keep your plans concise and divided into meaningful sets

Keep your plans brief but assume the plan will be implemented by personnel unfamiliar with the function. It is easy to get carried away when writing business continuity documentation.  Core information can get lost. Staff should not be confused as to when to apply Disaster Code A, B or C. These codes should be clearly defined in the document or not be there at all. The essence of a business continuity plan is to explain which tasks should be undertaken, when and by whom. Don’t write a novel when a punch list will do.

Divide the plan into meaningful sets. Avoid including background analysis and history with actual procedures. Contained in the first set should be general information such as the business continuity planning policy, risk evaluation and business impact analysis.  The second set should contain your response plans and include all instructions on the function of the emergency operations centre. The third set should lay out your recovery activities, how you will deliver service to your clients and how you will meet your recovery time objectives.

Use lots of appendices to break down the information. This will help with distribution during an event as well as maintenance of the plans.

(For more information on DRI’s professional practices please read Professional Practice One – Program Initiation and Management DRII Professional Practices  June 1, 2012 Version 1)

‘When planning for war, I have always found plans to be useless, but planning to be invaluable.’ General Eisenhower

10 ways to Improve your Business Continuity Plans – tip #1 An outline

It is time to sit down, put pen to paper and write your business continuity plans. They should be straightforward: easy to read, easy to reference and easy to use.  These ten tips will help you to compose a practical plan that you will be proud to publish.

Tip #1 Prepare an outline

Preparing a framework will help you to organize the procedures and to identify major steps and potential redundancies.

(For more information on DRI’s professional practices please read Professional Practice One – Program Initiation and Management DRII Professional Practices  June 1, 2012 Version 1)

‘When planning for war, I have always found plans to be useless, but planning to be invaluable.’ General Eisenhower

How to take advantage of Low Cost Risk Mitigation

Many people have a problem evaluating the cost of the impact of a risk because they are mired in the probability of it occurring. Small or low cost preparations can be ignored if the possible impact of the event is downplayed or dismissed.

You might want to use the following article to help people overcome this issue.

Hurricane Sandy

According to a November 17th, 2012 Toronto Sun article, “New Jersey Transit’s struggle to recover from Superstorm Sandy is being compounded by a pre-storm decision to park much of its equipment in two rail yards that forecasters predicted would flood, a move that resulted in damage to one-third of its locomotives and a quarter of its passenger cars.”

This is another good example of the “It won’t happen to us” syndrome. Despite being advised of the potential for flooding, the railway authority parked their commuter trains in an area susceptible to flooding. The consequences included millions of dollars in damage and many trains that cannot be put back into service pending extensive repairs and resulting in commuter delays and overcrowding. Additionally many people will opt to drive into NYC thereby increasing road traffic and fuel consumption.

“There was no reason for anybody to believe that the flooding was going to be anything close to what we experienced,” James Weinstein, NJ Transit’s executive director said.

Even now, those involved in the decision making at New Jersey Transit are amazed at the impact of Sandy. They are still caught up in the probability trap. One way in which to escape the trap and to recognize the value of mitigation measures is to separate the evaluation of probability from the evaluation of impact of the risk when conducting your assessment. Ensure that those who have assessed the impact also look for mitigation measures. If this is done during the same workshop as the Business Impact Analysis, the team can easily move from evaluating impact to understanding the effects of a disruption of service.

 

Improve your Business Continuity Strategies tip 10 – Implementation

These ten tips will hone your skills at devising business continuity strategies for your organization.

Tip# 10 Determine who will manage the implementation

A separate project manager may be needed for each of the large initiatives.  The business continuity professional may or may not be involved in the implementation. Where the business units are leading, regular progress reports need to be made to the business continuity team. The business continuity professional is than free to move on to the next stage in the BCM process.

A review to ensure that the appropriate continuity options have been selected for each activity should be carried out at least every 12 months. However, re-examine the BCM Strategy when a BIA revision identifies significant changes in business priorities or processes including:

  • key technology, telecommunications, accommodation, staffing, service suppliers
  • new products or services
  • regulatory or legislative requirements
  • or after an acquisition or merger.

Choose the business continuity strategy that is right for your organization at this time. As BCM continues, exercising may show that new strategies are needed to bring your organization resiliency in line with the BIA expectations. Remember that you will never develop the perfect strategy on the first try.  Following these tips should help you to improve your techniques for devising business continuity strategies for your organization.

(For more information on DRI’s professional practices please read Professional Practice One – Program Initiation and Management DRII Professional Practices  June 1, 2012 Version 1)

‘When planning for war, I have always found plans to be useless, but planning to be invaluable.’ General Eisenhower

Improve your Business Continuity Strategies tip 9 – Contract Wording

These ten tips will hone your skills at devising business continuity strategies for your organization.

Tip# 9 Ensure contracts are tightly worded

Ensure contracts have clearly defined technical specifications and service requirements and are supplemented by a service level agreement. Understand your vendor’s business continuity plans and risk of being impacted by the same event.

Return tomorrow for our final tip on Business Continuity Strategies.

(For more information on DRI’s professional practices please read Professional Practice One – Program Initiation and Management DRII Professional Practices  June 1, 2012 Version 1)

‘When planning for war, I have always found plans to be useless, but planning to be invaluable.’ General Eisenhower

Improve your Business Continuity Strategies tip 8 – Funding Approval

‘When planning for war, I have always found plans to be useless, but planning to be invaluable.’ General Eisenhower

Your program is now moving along smoothly. The risk evaluation and the business impact analysis (BIA) have produced valuable information and senior management has signed off on your recovery time and return point objectives.  Now you must establish how your organization will meet these objectives. These ten tips will hone your skills at devising business continuity strategies for your organization.

Tip# 8 Seek approvals for funding

Senior management should not see any surprises at this stage. If your research was sound, quotes should come in within your estimates.

Return tomorrow for our next tip on Business Continuity Strategies.

(For more information on DRI’s professional practices please read Professional Practice One – Program Initiation and Management DRII Professional Practices  June 1, 2012 Version 1)

Improve your Business Continuity Strategies tip 7 – Know your Vendors

These ten tips will hone your skills at devising business continuity strategies for your organization.

Tip# 7 Be exhaustive in checking out vendors of business continuity services

Understand any risks associated with your vendors.  Begin your research by reviewing the press releases usually readily available on their websites. Explore the financial stability, management team, focus, and technology claims of prospective vendors.

Check references and try to determine whether they have experience providing these services during an actual emergency.

Avoid the gimmicks! Select a service provider you can trust by eliminating those who use questionable sales tactics.

Return tomorrow for our next tip on Business Continuity Strategies.

(For more information on DRI’s professional practices please read Professional Practice One – Program Initiation and Management DRII Professional Practices  June 1, 2012 Version 1)

‘When planning for war, I have always found plans to be useless, but planning to be invaluable.’ General Eisenhower

  • Be Prepared

  • Professionals

  • Categories