Some people just can’t help themselves. As soon as they are presented with a situation, incident or challenge they set to work inventing a new solution. Quite literally I have witnessed guys jump up in meeting or exercise, grab a marker pen and start drawing diagrams on the whiteboard to design a remedy.

I admire their enthusiasm. I admire their creativity. I admire their inventiveness. Thank goodness our organisations have people that are ready to take on the world in this way.

Experience teaches us, however that such an activist approach may risk overlooking the fact that protocols, processes or procedures may already be in existence within the organisation. Making up something ‘on the fly’ may not therefore align with the organisation’s expectations or requirements. Additionally there could be a risk of error or failure because the solution will not have been validated, tested or refined. Rarely is our first attempt at something new the best we ever achieve.

Our organisations rely on processes. Everything from opening the building in the morning, to supplying the coffee, to doing the work and firing people has a process behind it. We certainly don’t need to reinvent solutions every day just for the sake of it.

The title of this article is Repeatable Processes and my intention here is to reinforce the message that if we are doing something today, we may need to do it again sometime so we should capture the learnings as a basis for the future.

The situation I described in the first paragraph is one that occurs in Business Continuity quite frequently, but it really shouldn’t. Usually the plans have been formed, teams have been trained, tests have been conducted and lessons have been learned. The next time we are faced with a situation we should surely start with what we did before and adapt or improve if required rather than ‘reinvent the wheel’.

A well thought out process which has been developed and refined with the correct inputs and thought will always be much more complete and effective than one made up in the heat of the moment.

A simple example for you. Earlier this year I organised a Recovery Site test with one of my clients. They had successfully completed such tests in the past but there was no documented process for planning, preparation and execution of the test. I put together a list of all the actions I knew would be required, allocated the responsibilities, set due dates and kicked off the activities required. Along the way the team added a couple of actions and modified the order slightly. The plan worked, the test was executed successfully and with no stress. Happy days!

Next time the client undertakes such a test – which they will – they can simply create a clean copy of the plan and start again. Think of the time they will save. They will be confident going into the activity knowing the plan has worked well before. Maybe they will make further improvements. Repeatable process. Result.

A final point is that as a consultant I want to leave my clients with something they can use after I have finished my time with them. Next time I work with the client I want to help them go further, to continue to develop and move their programme or capabilities forward.

If you feel your Business Continuity activities are not yet fully established as repeatable processes let me know so that I can help you.

March 3, 2017 at 12:01 pm
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Category: Planning
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