Go and get a copy of your Business Continuity Plan……….Now hold your hand up if it’s dated more than six months ago or if it’s not got a date on it at all.

All too often my assignments start with a set of Business Continuity plans that have not been updated for more than a year, two years or even longer. Would you expect your car to work if you left it parked on your drive over such timescales? Of course not, so do you honestly expect your plans to work if they have been neglected for so long?

Now that you have your plan to hand try a simple test. Look down the list of team members – if your plan is more than six months old I bet one or more of the names needs to be changed. This is normal and reflects the fact that organisations are constantly changing – people change roles, people join and people leave organisations.

The situation is often compounded because if the plans have not been maintained it usually follows that the training, exercising and testing activities have also fallen into disrepair. You need this stuff to work when you call upon it and it doesn’t take a genius to realise that you’re heading for failure if it’s all out of date.

The mistake a lot of organisations make is having recognised they need to do something, although they engage someone to help them (which I am always grateful for!) they allow everything to fall into disrepair once the consultant has left the building. It doesn’t need to be like this.

At the end of each of my assignments I seek to establish a decent Governance framework and process with the client. Sounds boring and dull but if a little bit of effort and resource is applied every now and then your plans and capabilities will remain fit for purpose. The alternative is to set a reminder in Outlook for two years’ time to re-read this article and give me a call to come and get everything back in shape. In the meantime you are gambling on relying on plans and capabilities that are decaying and falling into disrepair.

A robust, well maintained approach also offers you much better value for money. Why pay people like me to keep going over the same ground every two years or so? By all means engage me to get you to a state of readiness but once we have done that, let’s keep it there, keep everything maintained and the next time you hire me will be to help with further developments, specific tasks or projects.

My clients who have adopted the principles outlined above are enjoying much improved buy in to their Business Continuity activities. Instead of their people thinking ‘Here we go again, Business Continuity time again’ they see it as an ongoing programme of activity where year on year improvements are being made. Rather than constantly going over the basics these clients are exploring new ways of doing things and preparing for risks or changes that may affect them in the future.

I’m happy to help you get back in shape and once I’ve done it I’ll show you how to stay that way.

October 19, 2012 at 10:24 am
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Category: Governance & Standards, Planning
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