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Despite the existence of a carefully crafted incident management and recovery plan, many an incident management team has been known to forget all about it at the time of a crisis (real or exercise) and "ad lib" their way through events with little or no reference to the document.
While the plan document itself is not the be-all-and-end-all of the business continuity planning process, and it shouldn’t necessarily be slavishly followed, it is nonetheless an important document that supports the incident management decision making process and helps to ensure that nothing gets forgotten.
To ensure that the plan is not completely overlooked in the heat of the moment, while still allowing the incident management team room to be flexible, responsive and creative, one approach is to assign a member of the team to take a step back from proceedings and to track through the plan as events unfold. In this way they can prompt the team when they feel that following a particular part of the plan would be helpful, or when the plan contains information that would be useful in resolving a particular issue. They can also help keep things on track and make sure nothing important is missed.
So think about who in your incident management team should carry out this activity, brief them and update the roles and responsibilities in the plan accordingly. Oh, and you might like to try it out during your next incident management exercise.
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