The dreaded “P” word

Planning!  Have you ever noticed how much planning we do throughout our lives?

This time of ever, everyone seems to be planning for holiday get togethers, either because they are hosting one or because they are an invited guest.   Guest lists, food and drinks all require planning, as do travel arrangements.   We are also “planning” our holiday gift giving – how much to give and to whom.

Then there’s family budgeting, educational planning, Long-term care planning, vacation (holiday) planning, retirement planning, estate planning, career planning, planning an upcoming wedding, and the list goes on, and on, and on.

At work, many of us have entered into end-of-year planning where we are documenting our accomplishments, or as supervisors, we are planning our year-end reviews with our subordinates.  This time of year I’m always reminded of that great scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation where Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) puts a deposit down on his backyard pool because he’s “planning” on his annual bonus.  And of course, many have started strategic planning for 2013 Goals and Objectives.

All of this planning got me to think about the planning that’s the core of business continuity.  I referred to the Disaster Recovery Journal to see what references the Journal has with respect to planning.  There, I found the generally accepted definition of Business Continuity planning as “the process which occurs, based on risk evaluation and business impact analysis, to identify procedures, priorities and resources for:

  • emergency response operations
  • business continuity strategies for the organization’s functions and supporting infrastructure
  • crisis communications; and
  • coordination with external agencies

The planning process should encompass response through restoration, and result in the creation of one or more of the following types of plan documents:  business continuity plans, disaster recovery plans, crisis management plans or pandemic plans.

Contingency Planning is the process of developing advanced arrangements and procedures that enable an organization to respond to an undesired event that negatively impacts the organization.

The technical component of business continuity planning is referred to as Disaster Recovery Planning.

Enterprise-wide Planning is the overarching master plan covering all aspects of business continuity within the entire organization, which shouldn’t be confused with Work Area Recovery Planning which is the business continuity planning process of identifying the needs and preparing procedures and personnel for use at the work area facility.

Of course, all good business continuity planners know that before we can say a plan is valid, it has to be exercised.  And of course we need to develop and Exercise Plan, which is defined as a plan designed to periodically evaluate tasks, teams, and procedures that are documented in business continuity, plans to ensure the plan’s viability. This can include all or part of the BC plan, but should include mission critical components.

Some service organizations also conduct what’s known as Service Continuity Planning – which is a process used to mitigate, develop, and document procedures that enable an organization to recover critical services after a business interruption.

Out of all this planning activity come plans – all kind of plans (not all inclusive) ….

  • Business Continuity
  • Contingency
  • Disaster Recovery
  • Exercise
  • Service Continuity
  • Work Area Recovery

And you thought having multiple Standards and Certifications was confusing.

Let me leave you with this famous quote from Gen. Dwight Eisenhower – “In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless but planning is indispensable.”

Getting Prepared In a Year

Listen, let’s get back on the road to getting prepared.  Here’s a few more things you can do now to add to your preparedness kit:

From your local Grocery store, pick up the following items:

  • One box of Graham crackers
  • assorted plastic containers with lids
  • assorted safety pins
  • dry cereal

Things to Do:

Arrange for a friend or neighbor to help your children in an emergency if you are at work


So, what do you think?

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