Business Continuity Tip of the Month

A sense of direction

Despite the fact that any project managers reading this will throw up their hands in horror, we all know that a large proportion of significant projects don’t actually run to timescales or within their original budgets. And this is certainly true in the case of many a business continuity project. So why is this? Well, one reason could be that often the business continuity project isn’t treated as a “proper” project, so it’s not given the focus it deserves.

A proper project needs several things. It needs some terms of reference. It needs to be managed and planned. It needs resourcing. It needs senior-level sponsorship, support and direction. And it needs progress to be reported to those affected by it.

Much of this can be achieved by setting up a business continuity steering group. A steering group will give the business continuity efforts a higher profile, enable those implementing the strategy, solutions and plans to understand senior management’s requirements, help senior management to understand the issues involved and ensure that all interested parties are kept up to speed with progress.

So who should be on the steering group? Well, it needs to be people with some clout. And all key parts of the business should be represented. There are no hard and fast rules and membership will differ from organisation to organisation, but you might want to consider the following :

  • Business continuity project sponsor
  • Business Continuity Manager/Project Manager
  • Operations Director/Chief Operating Officer
  • IT Director/Chief Information Officer
  • Director(s)/senior manager(s) from the most critical business functions
  • Internal Audit
  • Risk Manager
  • Human Resources Director/Manager
  • Finance Director/Manager
  • Facilities Manager

So if you haven’t already got a business continuity steering group, then why not consider setting one up? It could just give your business continuity project the focus and sense of direction it’s been crying out for.