Hopefully you didn’t miss Part 1 of 10 BCP Mistakes You Really Want to Avoid where we laid out the first five mistakes for you. If you did, check the post available here.
6. Not maintaining the plan.
Outdated contact information, a list of unaddressed action items and procedures that no longer reflect your business will not be helpful during a business interruption. If your plan is not too big and your maintenance responsibilities are clearly outlined, it really isn’t that bad. Try BCP software to help you target your maintenance efforts toward content that is truly getting a little stale. Check out our free BCP tool here: https://www.kingsbridgebcp.com/shield/#shield-free.
7. Not socializing your plan or program.
You might have a great plan but it won’t do you much good if nobody knows it exists. Response teams need to be familiar with the plan content and how to navigate it and everyone else needs to know the plan exists and what their role is. This goes for communications too. If you’re planning to use a different method of communication during a business interruption such as a notification system, everyone needs to know what phone number, email or SMS number that these communications will be coming from so they don’t treat them as spam.
8. Not exercising your plan.
Once the plan is written, don’t fall make the BCP mistake of believing you’re done. You are not. Not even close. People need to know how to use their plan, they need to get comfortable with it and making the decisions that it supports. Exercising is arguably more important than the plan itself so not only do you need to exercise but you need to REALLY exercise. No “We would just figure that out at the time” comments to postpone doing the work. An exercise, is the time to do that figuring so keep things as realistic and action-oriented as possible.
9. Not executing on your plan.
A plan will only help you if you actually use it! Every business interruption, no matter how small may have need for some or all of your business continuity plan. Don’t wait until a minor interruption becomes a major issue. Start evaluating whether or not to activate some or all of your plan right away. Go ahead and activate some of your teams, especially if there is minimal downside to doing so.
10. Not learning from mistakes – yours or someone else’s.
If nothing else, the one good thing that should come from this pandemic is an opportunity to learn from earlier BCP mistakes. Continually evaluate how you’re doing and what could be done better next time. It’s a primary reason to keep a log of events whenever there is a business interruption of any size, so that you have something to look back upon to see what worked and what didn’t. You may find mistakes or gaps in your plan by using it, but also by exercising your plan and responding to small interruptions. You want to find these gaps/errors/mistakes, and a good tabletop exercise should always uncover something. If it didn’t you probably didn’t make it hard enough.
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