Business Continuity Planning: Have We Fallen Victims to our own Methodology?

I understand the importance of all the phases of the typical Business Continuity Planning Methodology.  I know the value of and why we conduct Business Impact Analyses (BIA) and Risk Analyses.  I understand the benefits and process for defining Recovery Time Objectives and Recovery Point Objectives.  I appreciate the need for defining Recovery Requirements and know the value of identifying different Recovery Solutions and conducting Cost/Benefit Analysis to evaluate and select the best alternatives.

I get it, really, I do.  I have been following this recipe for years (don’t ask how many) and have made a living at convincing clients they need all of this stuff.  And, I believe that they do … eventually.  I also believe, however, that we sometimes fall victims to our own methodology and sometimes lose sight of what it is our clients need, at this point in time.

I have witnessed myself, senior management teams getting frustrated because teams of consultants had been working for months on “The Analysis Phase” of business continuity planning and all they were wanting to learn was who was going to call them at two in the morning when a disaster occurs.

Sometimes I think we get so caught up in the business continuity planning aspect of things that we forget to first implement a baseline emergency response plan that addresses the crisis management components of the program.  After all, we need crisis management with or without a comprehensive business continuity capability.

Don’t get me wrong – we need to implement the BCP Methodology and all of its bells and whistles.  But I think we sometimes get so caught up in planning the menu, determining the best foods to eat, evaluating the nutrition content, balancing the diet and so on and so forth, while our patient starves to death waiting for some food.

Baby steps.

I think we serve our clients (internal or external) best by first documenting the imperfect programs in place today, even if the strategy is to figure it out at time of disaster.  If we can at least put together a baseline plan that includes a communication process, notification and escalation procedure and crisis management framework that gets the right people together to “figure things out” – we can at least ensure the patient is eating something while we design and implement the perfect meal plan.

Does any of this make sense?  I simply wish to suggest, that we do not blindly follow an academic approach to the planning process without first understanding what the patient needs.  Stop the bleeding before designing the perfect health care program.  To do that, we need to find the bleeding.  Rather than trying to explain the methodology – first ask, “What are you looking for your Business Continuity Program to do for you?”  You might be surprised by the answer.

Thank you for your input.