Oz’s Business Continuity Tip of the Month : “Ready for anything?”

A previous tip (‘A bag of spanners’) explored the pros and cons of developing scenario-based plans and suggested that they probably aren’t the best approach for most organisations.

That’s not to say, however, that scenarios aren’t useful elsewhere in the business continuity management process. Indeed, they can be extremely beneficial in exercising and testing our plans.

A really effective way to prove our strategies and solutions, flush out the gremlins, highlight issues that we may not previously have considered, raise awareness and develop the capability of the key players is to walk through our plans and the associated activities in the context of some scenarios. All of which constitutes a pretty good reason for giving it a whirl.

And it’s a good idea to test our plans against a number of different scenarios, as it’s likely that different scenarios will tease out different issues. For instance, our plan might cope admirably with a fire at the head office during working hours, but will it be as effective in the event of a similar incident out of hours?; or a denial of access due to a neighbour’s problem?; or a supply chain failure?; or a loss of key staff?; or an issue that attracts negative media attention?; or a combination of several of those things.

Exercising and testing our plans against a number of different scenarios will ensure they’re robust, effective and flexible. Which they need to be. Because, when all’s said and done, it’s impossible to be sure in advance of exactly which scenario we might have to deal with.

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