Can you honestly say that every incident that has affected your organisation in the last 12 months has gone through a Post Incident Review (PIR)?  We all know we should complete a PIR each time and I bet most Crisis Management and Business Continuity plans actually include this stage as an action.

I don’t want to embarrass anyone or collect statistics on this but I bet a significant percentage of you can cite examples of when a PIR was not done.

How many of you can also cite examples of incidents being repeated? You’re nodding aren’t you!

Why we do this to ourselves?

Firstly, after any period of disruption an organisation is keen to get back to normal operations, get back up to full speed and if backlogs or delays have resulted, retrieve the position as soon as possible. In other words the focus is now on ‘back to work’ rather than on what happened.

So, unless someone sets a time and gathers the right people together it’s very easy for the PIR to be overlooked and forgotten. ‘Don’t worry, it’s all sorted now, everyone’s happy.’

OK, they may be happy now but if the same problem occurs again they are definitely not going to be happy and if it’s your team under the spotlight you’re in an uncomfortable position from the start. ‘I thought we’d fixed this?’

People’s patience and tolerance diminishes rapidly the second time around. Any goodwill you enjoyed the first time has been used up. ‘You’ve fixed it once so do it again – and quickly!’ or ‘we can’t afford another outage.’

What about your own people? If your team have to fix the problem their enthusiasm and energy is also likely to be reduced the second time around. ‘Not this again!’ No one enjoys working in situations where our customers or stakeholders are unsatisfied and complaining.

So what needs to be covered in the PIR? As a bare minimum:-

  1. Establish the root cause.
  2. Review the steps taken to resolve.
  3. Review the impact on the organisation.
  4. Review the communication between all parties involved.
  5. Identify how a recurrence can be prevented.
  6. Agree and publish next steps and timetable.

These basic steps will go a long way to reducing the risk of the same incident occurring again. Undertaking a PIR also gives a good message to your stakeholders that you are serious about preventing incidents and about minimising the impact of incidents on their activities. Sounds like a ‘win,win’ to me.

I don’t need you to modify your plans, I’m almost certain the action is already listed but I do want to encourage you to take the time to do your PIRs. If you need my help you just need to ask.

October 12, 2012 at 11:29 am
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Category: Crisis Management, Planning
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