Business continuity plan using a project management approach
After the horrific weather events that plagued New Zealand during our recent summer (I use that term lightly), we have seen a lot of disaster recovery in the immediate aftermath. Sadly, some businesses will disappear entirely due to these tragic events. However, some businesses will continue to operate through and beyond this recovery period. There are many reasons for this, but the underlying principle is business resilience.
How do you build resilience in a business? Through business continuity management (BCM).
What is business continuity management?
BCM allows for the “development, implementation, and maintenance of policies, frameworks, and programs to assist an entity in managing a business disruption, as well as building resilience from the impacts of a disruptive event.”
It is not catastrophic thinking for you to prepare for future natural disasters. There is anticipation that significant weather events will continue to occur, so much so that even the Civil Defence has created a business continuity planning page on their platform with handy tips on business continuity management.
Fundamentally, BCM is identifying what resources are required to keep the most important functions of a business running and what strategies you will need to achieve this in perpetuity.
It’s vital to have a concrete understanding of what is most important to your business in the face of significant disruption.
How can a project management framework help your business continuity plan?
Adopting a project management framework within your plan will show you how much more effective your management can be in a crisis. Project management hinges on several cornerstones which can easily be transposed, including:
- Responsive planning
- Risk analysis and their potential impacts
- Outlining of staff roles and responsibilities
- Managing key stakeholder requirements
- Clear communication
- Training and testing
All these elements of effective project management can be utilised within a business continuity plan. Adopting these qualities will cultivate a more resilient business framework and make you feel more secure should anything unexpected come along.
Step-by-step business continuity plan (with a project management approach)
1. Outlining the approach and requirements
The first step in planning for business continuity is defining the key requirements, resources, roles and responsibilities required. Creating an emergency implementation plan can be majorly helped by utilising a project management approach, as you will be able to clearly outline from the outset what is needed in a time of business disruption – time, budget, staffing, important documentation, essential contact information and safety policy and procedure.
2. Risk and threat analysis and their potential impact
Secondly, you must analyse potential risks and threats to business continuity. Having project management experience can be helpful in creating a risk matrix. This will assess the severity of the risks and ensure all are ‘troubleshot’. This is to identify how they can be best managed in the case of a disaster. Threats to business can be internal and external, and risk mitigation is an integral part of the process with its roots in project management.
3. Reviewing the strategy
You must communicate effectively with all management and key stakeholders and then refine your decisions and select the final strategy. Once it is approved and is in accordance with government regulations, it is essential to outline the plan to all employees. This will give them a sound understanding of the appropriate procedures to follow in the case of a crisis. Once again, project management can be beneficial in this step. It relies on stakeholder management and clear communication through PCP (project communication planning), fundamental cornerstones of effective project management.
4. Documentation of plan and consistent ‘improvement testing’
The final step is possibly the most important. Clear documentation of the strategies and critical functions of the business continuity plan must be completed. Using project management frameworks, you can use check-listing, work breakdown and critical path analysis to disseminate information effectively. This allows you to ensure everyone is always on the same page.
Training and testing
This is also vitally important but can be neglected. Testing should be done frequently to ensure the plan works in reality; this will identify problems that require further refinement. Regular testing also promotes continuous improvement, as well as updating the plan to align with current business trends and conditions. Improvement testing requires creating exercise scenarios and planned disruptions during work hours. Plus, the skillset to identify the effectiveness of the emergency business continuity plan.
Supporting the creation of business resilience
As you can see, outlining a successful business continuity plan is bolstered by adopting specific project management frameworks.
As the CEO of our company, I understand the importance of having a robust business continuity plan in place. That’s why I’m inviting you to a free demo of our flexible project management software that can help you create and implement a strong continuity plan.
During the demo, I’ll show you how our software can assist you in identifying potential threats to your business and developing contingency plans to ensure smooth operations during disruptions. Our software provides a flexible, programme and project-management-minded solution that works with your business to configure tools and create processes to your specific needs. Our platform also allows you to collaborate effectively with your team, manage resources, and track progress in real-time.
Don’t let unforeseen events catch you off guard. Sign up for our free demo now and let me show you how our flexible project management software can help you ensure business continuity and prepare for the unexpected.