Business Continuity Tip of the Month

Many a mickle makes a muckle

Scenario-based exercising is one of the most effective ways to develop a crisis/incident management or business continuity capability.

However, such exercises can be difficult to organise and time-consuming to prepare and deliver. Hardly surprising, as a ‘typical’ exercise is likely to run for at least a couple of hours, if not half a day or more, and involve as many of the crisis/incident management and/or recovery team members as can be shoe-horned into a meeting room or video call.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Twenty or thirty-minute mini-exercises (at a push they could even be as short as ten minutes), involving a few key players and focused on just one or two key issues, can be just as beneficial. And it’s much easier to sneak a quick mini-exercise into the agenda of a ‘normal’ team meeting than to schedule a separate two, three or four-hour session.

It’s possible to achieve as much with several mini-exercises as with an all-singing, all-dancing exercise involving a cast of thousands. Because, collectively, small wins add up to large wins.

You may be familiar with the Scottish phrase “many a mickle makes a muckle”*, which roughly translates as “many little things make a big thing”. In this case, the mickle is a mini-exercise and the muckle is the organisation’s crisis/incident management or business continuity capability.



*It would seem that the original phrase was probably “mony a puckle maks a muckle”, which became corrupted to “mony a mickle maks a muckle” and thereafter to the more familiar “many a mickle makes a muckle”, which is a little odd as the dictionary definition of mickle is the same as that for muckle!