Here are five potential problem areas to consider in creating or revising a BCP:
1. Traditional planning methodologies tend to be tactical rather than
strategic in nature.
Many traditional plans start life by addressing tactical asset-related issues rather than by focusing on a strategic recovery process. The strategy should come first, followed by a planning process that seeks to effectively implement the strategy. High-performance BCPs are built around tailored, high-level objectives aimed at keeping customers whole and the organization's long-term financials intact.
2. Fill-in-the-blank methodologies often result in unsuccessful plans.
Many existing plans are overloaded with unnecessary detail. Few management teams are comfortable using a document the size of the New York City yellow pages, whether in a hard-copy or electronic format. Methodologies used for these plans evolved from “fill-in–the-blank” approaches developed for computer system recovery and, as a result, have a difficult time adjusting to manufacturing or R&D or supply chain environments. Filling-in-the-blanks has a tendency to discourage creative thought.
3. Many existing plans do not have a sharp, clear focus on restoring lost
functionality to meet customer timelines for delivery of product and
While rebuilding a facility or restoring lost operational assets are both important, the heart and soul of a successful plan is knowing that the organization has solid, verifiable, alternate resources for quickly replacing revenue-generating functionality, whether for manufacturing, logistics, supply chain, R&D, service centers, or offices.
4. Many planning initiatives are started without senior-level support and
A BCP created without senior leadership participation cannot adequately address a company's long-term goals. Business continuity addresses lifeblood issues of an organization and, accordingly, has caught the attention of many board rooms. Executive management has a vested interest in the successful performance of a BCP and should be aware of, involved in, and responsible for, the development and maintenance of these plans.
5. More than a few BCPs have been created and maintained without the
benefit of rigorous table-top simulations.
A well run table-top simulation serves two primary purposes: validating the content of a new or updated plan, and acting as an ad-hoc team-building exercise for participants. Members of the business continuity management team/crisis management team should all come together as a unit, with each member interacting and supporting other members so "one plus one" can actually equally three. Reverting back to a pervasive silo mentality can be a death knell for plan effectiveness and robustness.
Coletta & Wight keeps these issues in mind when working with both prospective and current clients.