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Business Continuity for your organization is a collection of plans designed to keep your organization working as you or your team addresses a problem that caused a work interruption.
The BCPWest definition: planning for the continuation of work in any of your processes, no matter if the work interruption is small (pothole) or large (sinkhole). BCPWest approaches every plan by defining the process (including tools and supplies) and the team members and partner organizations that are critical to the process affected.
A recovery plan would be those steps an organization would take after a business interruption to return the organization to a “new normal” status.
The BCPWest definition: A Disaster Recovery plan would address those processes that have been prioritized as critical to the operation of the organization.
The plan would include which parts of the process are critical, tools and team members needed, and an estimated timeline or criteria to bring the other processes back into operation.
Any organization that wants to prevent or manage a work interruption needs to think about a Business Continuity as well as a Crisis/Disaster Recovery Plan. Solopreneurs, small businesses, nonprofits, and large organizations are all potential organizations for planning. The scope and depth of planning should be adjusted to the size and culture of the organization.
Even a solopreneur needs planning.
All plans need to be shared with the team(s), training on the plans/processes, exercised and tested.
At BCPWest, we are advocates of lunchtime walk-through exercises (also sometimes called “tabletop exercises”). For example, take one department or team, feed them lunch and then ask them to walk through the various steps they would take in a crisis or disruptive scenario. List all the questions they have, problems they see with any existing plans, and what they would do next. This will give you a working plan that the team will feel ownership in and confident in executing.
It is important that your general communication plan includes these categories of personnel.
All employees or contractors need to know about the following basic items that impact their personal safety in their work environments: proper chair, desk, lighting, and power source, regular tool maintenance, an articulated fire or tornado drill, etc. (Note that any changes to these would affect the “continuity” of the organization)
If you start with each process or department, the answer is the team – they are the ones that will need to execute the plan. You should also consider having your advisor team (attorney, banker, CPA, and insurance representative) review the plans or sit in on a lunchtime tabletop exercise session, to get a fresh set of eyes to spot gaps.
An overall communications plan should be comprised of multiple plans. Each of these plans needs to be refreshed when the audience, the team executing the plan, the media charged with delivering communication, or the topics outlined in the plans have changed, or once per year for currency.