A flooded London underground station. Project management and disaster recovery in action
Project management

Why Project Management Is Crucial to Disaster Recovery

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Guest Author
27 January 2022

No company is completely immune from facing a disaster. Whether it’s a wildfire, flood, or pandemic, as we’re currently experiencing, disasters negatively impact companies and how they operate.

Various local and global threats exist that we can’t always anticipate. Still, when these disasters occur, it shows how critical it is to plan and expect the worst-case scenario. Businesses can prepare themselves for disasters with a comprehensive disaster recovery plan (DRP). However, it can be challenging to understand how to build a viable DRP.

Let’s explore more about project management’s role in disaster recovery, key elements of a DRP, and what types of tools can be leveraged to make project management more effective.

Project Management’s Role in Disaster Recovery

Project management is essentially planning a project and organising the resources needed to bring the project to completion. Project management includes a few different steps, such as identifying and managing the lifecycle to be used, forming a project plan, building a project team, and guiding the team to all the phases of the project life cycle.

The Value of Project Management

When you take a strategic approach to project management, it can help you, your team, and your company focus on goals to achieve and the purpose or vision of the project. You use all the resources at your disposal to avoid common risks or pitfalls.

The Project Management Institute (PMI) identifies nine areas within project management that must be considered:

  1. Integration management
  2. Scope management
  3. Quality management
  4. Cost management
  5. Time management
  6. Human resources management
  7. Communication management
  8. Risk management
  9. Procurement management

Project management can be easily broken down into smaller, more manageable steps when these factors are considered. Project team members can more easily understand the responsibilities and schedule they need to follow to achieve their goals.

For example, project management in disaster recovery may include how team members should communicate during a disaster, how quickly the team needs to respond during a disaster, and how at-risk a company is for facing a disaster. Companies in all industries should focus on their project management skills to form a viable DRP.

Key Elements of a Disaster Recovery Plan

Daily threats can ruin a business’s ability to recover from a disaster. Major fires and flooding in New Zealand have caused companies to focus on disaster recovery. NZ officials had to use their flood management plan to help recover from the extreme weather events, which shows how crucial it was that they used project management tools to create that plan.

Below, we’ll cover some of the key elements of a DRP that must be included and how different project management software tools can significantly impact the plan’s success.

1. Making Strategic Management Decisions

First and foremost, managers need to make the decision to create and implement a DRP. If the organization were to face unforeseen circumstances, management needs to understand the implications of these circumstances. When management decides that risks need to be mitigated, building a disaster recovery plan becomes more important.

2. Identify and Assess Risks

There are plenty of ways companies can be negatively impacted by a disaster, whether it’s manmade, like a cybersecurity attack, or natural, like extreme flooding. Managers within a company must identify these various risks and assess how they can impact the overall business. Some risks can be generally estimated and grouped, whereas others are more challenging to categorize.

3. Building the Plan Itself

Once major risks are identified, the DRP can be built. Planning should include best project management practices to ensure the plan is viable. These are some considerations to make when creating a DRP:

  • Identify alternate operating locations
  • Note what resources will be needed
  • Make a detailed list of what employees will be responsible for specific tasks
  • When, how, and for what reasons the DRP would be used

Creating a DRP can be challenging, but it’s always better to play it safe and prepare for worst-case scenarios. The last thing any company wants is to lack guidance on the next steps once a disaster occurs.

Suppose a flood occurs, and the goal is to rehouse community members with accessory dwelling units (ADUs). ADUs are commonly used for disaster recovery because they use fewer materials than traditional housing. Understanding the ins and outs of ADUs would be crucial if they’re to be included in a DRP for companies that serve their communities during disasters.

4. Implement the Plan and Train Employees

All employees in your organization need to know the details regarding the DRP. No employee should lack the basic knowledge that a DRP exists. They should feel comfortable and clear with their responsibilities when a disaster happens.

If needed, you may need to hold a staff meeting or workshop to train employees on the DRP. Everyone should receive a detailed copy of the DRP as well.

5. Running Drills to Test Viability

You must run drills to ensure all employees are suitably trained and can jump into action when necessary. Running drills and creating mock disaster training procedures will help you work out any kinks in your DRP, and you’ll know how viable your DRP is.

Creating a DRP With Project Management Tools

DRPs are a crucial part of your business continuity plan (BCP). The goal of a DRP is to minimize the consequences of disasters, whatever they may be. A DRP is different from an incident response plan, but both are vital to your BCP. Use the best project management practices when building a viable DRP.

Author Bio

Rose Morrison is a construction industry writer and the managing editor of Renovated. Follow her on Twitter to see more of her work.

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